You silly turkey. You are mean and ornery, but you sure do make me laugh

The Tribune (SLO) - - Local - BY KATHE TANNER ktan­[email protected]­bune­news.com

Yes, I’ve writ­ten be­fore about our wild turkey flock, es­pe­cially the hi­lar­i­ous sight of a small cat stalk­ing the birds in our meadow, and the men­tal im­age of what the silly feline might try to do if it ac­tu­ally caught one of the large, can­tan­ker­ous birds.

But a re­cent pay-back-is-gnarly se­quel to that had me laugh­ing so hard I could barely stand up. (More about that later.) Uproar­i­ous laugh­ter like that — un­til your cheeks hurt and your sides ache — can be one of the most restora­tive, heal­ing things you can do. Even the much re­spected, se­ri­ously somber Mayo Clinic agrees.

Mayo says “Stress re­lief from laugh­ter? It’s no joke.”

The site ex­plains that in the short term, laugh­ter ac­ti­vates and re­lieves stress re­sponse, soothes ten­sion and stim­u­lates many of the body’s or­gans. In the long term, a good case of the chuck­les may im­prove your im­mune sys­tem, re­lieve pain and in­crease per­sonal sat­is­fac­tion.

Oh yes, and it im­proves your mood. Duh.

There’s one prob­lem: Get­ting more gig­gles and guf­faws into your life may be tough to do in these stress­ful times, with ram­pag­ing per­sonal and po­lit­i­cal angst, health prob­lems, work con­cerns, long com­mutes and nev­erend­ing to-do lists. But you CAN do it, and you’ll more than dou­ble your plea­sure if you gig­gle with a friend. How?

Watch a funny movie, then go for cof­fee (or a beer) and re­hash the good, aw­ful and gen­uinely hi­lar­i­ous mo­ments. Browse through the comic-card sec­tion to­gether at the store. Go to a com­edy club. Flip through old “Far Side” or “Calvin and Hobbes” books. Re­visit your child­hood and play “Twis­ter.”

Let your grand­kids tickle you. Go bowl­ing. Go roller skat­ing. Try to play flash­light Fris­bee. Play pick­le­ball. Heck, even say­ing pick­le­ball makes me gig­gle.

Funny stuff on­line? Oh, yeah, lots of it. I like the Dry Bar Com­edy web­site be­cause most of the co­me­di­ans are, in­deed, funny and their ma­te­rial doesn’t in­clude the “F” word in ev­ery other sen­tence. (Richard Pryor and Ge­orge Carlin could pull off that foul-mouthed-ness and still be hi­lar­i­ous, but few oth­ers can.)

On­line com­edy’s a great way to end the day. Hus­band Richard and I of­ten share-watch some com­edy sketches I’ve saved (when Face­book co­op­er­ates) or that I find on­line on my own (when Face­book’s be­ing wonky).

Add a good dance rou­tine or two, some funny memes shared by friends and fam­ily... and we two can sleep with smiles on our faces and in our dreams. By day­break, our hill­top Cam­bria meadow once again be­comes a hot­bed of crea­ture com­edy, like the kit­ten-ver­sus-turkey episode or a bob­cat flip­ping us off.

Now, I try not to in­ter­act with the crea­tures that use our meadow for be­dand-break­fast priv­i­leges. We cer­tainly don’t feed them, although we do have a small trough of wa­ter that dou­bles as a fauna and avi­fauna drink­ing pond and bird bath.

But some mem­bers of the wildlife com­mu­nity ob­vi­ously didn’t get the keep-your-dis­tance memo. For in­stance, the tur­keys. They’re just plain com­i­cal, and they make me gig­gle.

Tur­keys wad­dle funny and fly fun­nier. They gob­ble goofy and then grum­ble at us. They shake their heads and stomp their feet, chase each other and us. I don’t think they like us.

The tur­keys wan­der wher­ever they want to, es­pe­cially along the edges of our tree-lined prop­erty and in our gar­den and drive­way ar­eas. Un­for­tu­nately, the drive­way is where ve­hi­cles park, and the tur­keys don’t much like those, ei­ther.

They’ll circle a car, heads cocked to show that they’re not quite sure what it is, but it’s in their way and they’re mad, so they peck at it, which is not al­lowed, do you hear me, Big Bird? No, huh?

The tur­keys re­act fiercely to any smoothly shiny hub­cap, cussing and peck­ing away at their own re­flec­tions in the pol­ished chrome sur­face. Have you ever tried to chase away a turkey? It doesn’t work. And the pre­dictable re­sult — turkey turn­ing the ta­bles and chasing me — is dis­tress­ing at best. Even if it is funny.

Then there was the in­ci­dent that had me dou­bled over with laugh­ter. A very large, ob­vi­ously out­raged male turkey was in full dis­play-and-at­tack mode — tail feath­ers spread and shak­ing with fury, wings akimbo. The in­dig­nant bird was gob­bling away fu­ri­ously in the mid­dle of the road as he faced off with... wait for it... a Mis­sion Coun­try Dis­posal trash truck.

Sorry, Big Bird. You lose.

KATHE TANNER ktan­[email protected]­bune­news.com

Wild tur­keys in Cam­bria.

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