It's Not the Goose's Fault


Please understand: the goose didn't choose to be an asshole. The goose is an asshole because the goose, innately and essentially, must be an asshole.

Geese are nomadic, migratory birds, and they're quite used to their jet-setting lifestyle. But most of us humans are actually quite sedentary, living out year after year in the same space. And so, when the geese appear, they descend upon our towns like the motorcycle clubs of the skies, honking and shitting and quickly laying claim to the dampest, reediest ponds. Which, to be clear, are not the sort of spaces where humans live.

We didn't give two hoots about the pond before the geese showed up, unless we're enthusiasts of the duck, the buffoon of the waterfowl world.[1] But once the geese roll in, something flips in the human brain: we recall the dried, disintegrating old bread heels we stuck in the freezer last year, and we're struck with a deep — dare we say "carnal"? — lust to toss this former food product at these visiting waterfowl. We need to throw our garbage at these guest birds. We need to see them consider the bad food, to watch their goosey brains process the pros and cons of the offering, and then we must judge their actions. We do this because we're terrible.

In the ancient times, when geese were masters of Mother Gaia, there were no small towns and freezers full of bad bread parts. There was just a big ol' sphere of water and mud and grass and reedy, reedy ponds — an Eden for the goose. And so they traveled, and they did whatever it is they do in ponds (science tip: no one knows this). And it was thus that the goose danced its part in this endless ballet of seasons.

Until we showed up.

There's a video game [2] that just came out called Untitled Goose Game. In this game, the player — a human, typically — takes on the role of a large, white goose. This goose is tasked with harassing the human residents of a small English hamlet: to steal their things, scare them into hiding, instigate neighborly feuds, and undo humanity's greatest works.

Humans love this game. Oh, it's such a hoot! Who doesn't love being a silly, cranky animal? Oh, that goose. So irritable! Just like every goose I've ever met! Ha ha! Goose! That goose.

What we fail to grasp is the rare gift this game offers us: the chance to truly become the goose. To see the world through its dark, unforgiving eyes. But I have seen. I have become the goose.


The goose lives in a reedy glen next to a reedy pond. [3] We can assume that, for a goose, it's probably a decent place to set up shop for a while. So why does the goose venture out to terrorize the human village?

Again: consider the goose's perspective. For millions of years, these marshes, lakes, and creeks were undisputed goose territory. [4] And then, without warning, all these bipeds show up and drop mortar and concrete all over the place, and suddenly this marshland is reduced to a mere pittance of what it once was. A small canal that feeds into — what? A tiny pond, barely large enough for a respectable goose to spread their wings in. And all over the world, your goosey brethren share similar, harrowing stories: marshes paved into mini-malls; ponds replaced with prep schools; creeks covered by Cracker Barrels.

So. As you waddle your way around this small town, raising hell and tormenting that dweeby child with the glasses, ask yourself: who is the real invasive species here?

That's right: it's the ducks. Case closed.

[1] : Ever watch a duck? They float and eat stuff and hang out and sometimes they get absolutely furious at each other and then, moments later, they're not anymore. Ducks could be inspiring, maybe, in a Zen sort of way — if they weren't so clearly lesser than geese.

[2] : Did You Know?: Video games are emblematic of man's hubris.

[3] : As has been established, the reeds are an important detail.

[4] : Except for the ducks, but as we established earlier, nobody gives a flying fuck about ducks.