I told you I had poultry on the brain…
One day at work, I was evaluating a new patient. I was skimming over his history and somewhere below age and height he was to fill out his occupation. There it was: Turkey Turner. Initially I thought he may work in a restaurant with a high demand for turkey burgers and I would be treating him for an overuse injury of his wrist. However, considering his dress and the fact that we live in West Virginia, I felt I needed to investigate this further. He went on to explain to me that he worked on a turkey farm not far from here. He told me nonchalantly that he walked around all day and picked up turkeys that had fallen over. Unaware that turkeys were such clumsy animals, I continued probing. He went on to tell me that the Toms, or male turkeys, were so genetically and hormonally altered, that they could weigh 60 to 80 pounds sometimes! That would be like Harrison (6) and Sophia (11) running around on muscle-less, scaly, three-pronged legs! No wonder they would give out and fall! I couldn’t believe that they needed help to get up or they would suffocate under the weight of their own breasts!!! What a terrible way to go!
“So how many turkeys do you help up in a shift?”, I asked. I assumed he would report a small number and that he was there to mostly supervise the birds, providing a “just in case” scenario. He went on to tell me that he could turn up to a hundred turkeys in a shift!!! He also reported that he wasn’t the only Turkey Turner per shift, that it could take 4 or 5 of them to keep those birds on their legs all day! “WOW”, I said and shook my head in amazement. I couldn’t help but to compared these big breasted birds to their wild turkey counterparts who can fly and like to sleep in trees. “Geez”, I thought to myself, “just one bad day of Turkey Turner “call offs” and you’d have a 5th Grade Science Fair Project on your hands.” “Evidence for Darwin: Survival of the Fittest”. Blue ribbon for sure.
To pass time I imagined them playing games like, “All Up”, where the object of the game would be to get all the birds standing at the same time. I also imagined harmless, low-bidding gambling going on throughout the day as well. “I’ll buy you a Coke if ‘Crooked Beak’ falls on his face first.” “Deal!” “And I get your break if ‘ol Knock Knees’ falls more than 3 times before lunch.”
I asked him if the turkeys seemed thankful and gracious when he returned them to their feet. He said, “heck no, they come running and peckin’ at ya “! I was thinking then, maybe he had an ankle injury from running or even possibly a finger laceration with tendon repair. Maybe it was his back? I can’t quite remember. He provided too much other more interesting information. I asked him, “do you look at them differently during the month of November”? “Do you feel sorry for them or do you check them out to find the one that looks the most delicious?
You know, now that I start thinking about it, I was treating him for back pain. I specifically remember both of us practicing turkey turning body mechanics in the middle of the busy physical therapy clinic. “Deep squat, bend with your knees, pivot, and RUN!” I’m pretty sure we looked like we were doing Cross Fit. After 3 sets of 10 turkey turns, however, it was evident that my job was a piece of cake, chocolate even, in comparison to my patient’s.
I wondered if the turkey Toms had breast envy? Or maybe they just felt less preyed upon if they were smaller chested. I worried about how some of the older Toms may feel. I’m sure some of them were really smart and wise and knew exactly where and how to peck on the feeder to give extra grain between feedings. However, because of their scrawny or limp breasts they were less valued.
I can’t imagine being a turkey and living in a world where the size and quality of my breasts played such a role in determining my value and worth as a whole. That would be absurd, now wouldn’t it?