I sent this message out to some friends via email. I guess it got bounced around the 'net for a while and somehow ended up at the local paper (The Statesboro Herald). However it got there and for whatever reason, they decided to publish it as local humor. Strangely enough, I didn't know it was going to be published; I just opened up the paper one morning and found my name and this message in print. Does this count as a publication for promotion and tenure?

Friday, 18 December 1998, 3:30 PM

I just got back into my office. Monique called at noon today to tell me that an emu was in our backyard -- that's right, an emu. You know, one of those large flightless birds. Anyway, I went home just to make certain that she was indeed seeing an emu and not having an hallucination due to lack of sleep. (Cydia is now 15-1/2 weeks old -- we're still counting in weeks since its been that long since either of us has had 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep.)

I get home to find that, indeed, an emu had invaded our backyard and seemed to be attracting the attention of every dog wandering the neighborhood. At this point we put in calls to every governmental agency that had a listing in the phonebook. The Bulloch County Sheriff's Dept. did not want to handle the animal since that last time they shot an emu (yes, it seems that there is a herd of emus running around the county -- I guess they hopped a freighter and found their way here). Where was I? Oh yes, the last time a deputy shot an emu the bullet from his 9mm (talk about over-kill) passed through the animal, ricocheted off a pine tree, and went through the wall of the frightened homeowner. OK, it was a trailer, but it still caused enough damage that the Sheriff's Dept. had to shell out $3,000.

Since the Sheriff's Dept. didn't want it and the Dept. of Natural Resources considers a emu to be a feral domestic animal like a dog (yeah right, I've heard that emus make GREAT housepets), we called the Raptor Center here on the GSU campus. The main bird-guy was out to lunch (literally), but we were told that the people have gotten emus only to find out that they are ill-tempered, nasty birds that really DON'T make great housepets. (I can't imagine how much paper you'd have to put down for one of those things -- a subscription to the NY Times might be in order.) Anyway, these folks have been setting them free (based on some strange logic that emus are wild birds.) I guess the thinking is that "oh people are always putting up those bird feeders, and they're at just the right height -- the emu won't even have to bend over to eat." Can you imagine an elderly couple drinking morning coffee only to see the chickadees, bluebirds, etc. fleeing in panic when this 5 foot goliath comes to the feeder?

SERIOUSLY NOW. Neither the local vets nor the local feed stores knew of anyone who might provide a home to the bird. The only advice I could get was that the animal needed to be put down. So I tried to find someone who might take the meat -- the stuff retails for $7 a pound in gourmet shops. I found a local meat market that would process the bird (for a fee) but knew of no one who would take the meat. Since no one would put the bird down and I wasn't about to let the poor thing out of the yard to be chased by dogs (dogs had chased it into the yard and some had chewed on its tiny wings), I had to do it. I made another call to the Sheriff's Dept. to see if I would be in violation of county ordinances if I discharged a weapon in a neighborhood. The helpful deputy could only tell me that if the bird were in HIS yard HE would shoot it regardless of ordinances. He did say that another deputy would take the meat if I took it to the Sheriff's office. Now I do hunt, but this was like hunting cows -- there was no sport. It was a one shot kill, and there was no suffering on the part of the bird. (On the other hand, Monique and I...)

Taking the bird to the Sheriff's office was like taking a trophy whitetail to a sporting goods store -- everyone wanted to see the bird. The officer who had expressed interest in the bird was overwhelmed by its size and decided against eating it. HOWEVER, the Ga. Sheriff's Association puts on a wild game supper each year at the state capital. The work camp (a prison) behind the office did accept the bird to be part of next year's event.

Of all the things to happen when I am trying to complete my grades for the semester.