It’s a sound that should strike fear within the heart of every Maryville University student. The sound of terror, the sound of pure, black, evil, the sound of Maryville’s resident Canadian geese population.
Those out-of-the-know are probably laughing at me for making such a claim. For why would Maryville, a school that doesn’t actually have any waterfront properties, have a menacing geese problem? And besides, they’re just geese!
Hear me out; my fear is justified. I, too, was once a new student, ignorant to the feathery creatures which appear innocent as they sun themselves on the Quad or outside the DUC. That all changed one dreary day in the spring of 2008…
I left class from the Anheuser-Busch Academic Center (ABAC) with three other friends. As we lost ourselves in conversation, we were interrupted by the warning call of a male goose directly ahead. Stopping momentarily to stare at the angry bird, we eventually split two directions to give him a wide berth. However, he remained agitated and, for some reason, singled me out.
I had two options, fight or flight. I chose to fight; after all, it is just a bird. They should be afraid of us, right?
As I bravely stood my ground and stared him in his beady black eye, I instantly realized I made the wrong decision. The goose took a preparation run and then took flight, sights set on my head. I instinctively took a step back; my heel caught the edge of a mud puddle and I began to go down. At the same time, I blocked my head with my arms and my hands came in contact with a feathery, white underbelly.
Lying on the ground, stunned, I noticed a rake from nearby Physical Plant workers sail through the air to help ward off a second attack. My khakis were coated in mud, but I had survived; only terror remains as an effect of that spring day…
Yes, perhaps it is irrational to maintain that fear over two years later, but had I never had that encounter, I would not have this knowledge to share today. My hope from this experience is to pass on my wisdom to new students so that Maryville may one day be goose attack free.
Without further ado, here are some simple steps to avoiding a goose encounter like mine:
- Run. The simplest, and most effective, option. At the first “hiss,” take off in the opposite direction. Just get back from an intense workout and your legs are Jell-O? Too bad; find the last ounce of energy you possess and run like mad.
- Do not stare them in the eye. Do not be naïve like me; apparently that’s a threat.
- Carry something useful to use as a weapon. An umbrella, perhaps, or a rake, as Physical Plant likes to use.
- Map out your routes on campus based on sites least visited by geese. For example, they’re not as found of (to my knowledge) the Art & Design Building, or the outskirts of campus.
- If all else fails, hire a personal body guide to fight your geese battles.
Hopefully you do not have any traumatic geese encounters during your time at Maryville. Good luck.