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How to Maximize the Drama Inherent in a Wild Turkey Encounter

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1.) Sleep only five hours the night prior, to ensure that your reaction times will be slow as maple sap in January.

2.) Own a bird dog, albeit one whose hunting instincts have always been confined to pine cones and Webkinz. Have him plead for his midday walk.

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3.) It should be turkey nesting season.

4.) Rather than take the dog on his customary off-leash romp in the Oakland hills, decide to keep him on the leash and just walk around the block a few times. He will hate this, but part of the reason for your sleepless night was because you and your husband were tending the dog's obvious stomach distress. You want the dog to have a mellow day. (Foreshadowing alert! Foreshadowing alert!)

5.) Because you are just strolling on your residential street with nothing going on, decide it's okay to make a quick call to your parents using your iPhone earbud speakers. While you and the dog walk down the street and he waters the lawns and plants, listen as your dad starts to talk about your mom's recent routine medical appointment.

6.) Be so focused on your father's words that you neglect to see the nesting wild turkey in the urban underbrush until it has emerged, enraged and squawking and flapping its wings, approximately one foot from your startled dog, who is at the end of the six foot leash that ends in your hand.

7.) Dulled by sleep deprivation and multi-tasking, your mind should use valuable "fight or flight" reaction time to instead puzzle through the following thought: That... is... a... turkey. Have the turkey hen use this five second delay to get even more pissed and start yelping at you in angry tones, while rushing you and the dog with wings outspread.

8.) This is a good time for the dog's prey instinct to roar to life, causing him to charge TOWARD the angry turkey, the first time he has ever charged TOWARD anything in his life.

9.) Scream. Pull the leash in the opposite direction to try to evade the turkey charge. The dog should zig left, you should zag right, and the turkey should continue to yelp and charge at whatever angle is guaranteed to cut off your escape. Begin to wonder if this turkey, which is approximately the same size as your dog, is on steroids. Do this step for at least 60 seconds, trying all different directions but still being trapped by the Psycho Turkey.

10.) Remember your father is still on the line, listening to this encounter from the comfort of his recliner three thousand miles away. Regress to age eight. Yell, "Dad! I'm being chased by a turkey! Dad! A turkey is chasing me!" Keep pulling at dog and zig sagging throughout. The turkey's yelping should really be peaking now.

11.) Your father should be laughing, very hard. He should yell to your mother in the other room, "Laura! Nancy's being chased by a turkey! No, I said a turkey!"

12.) Manage to yank the dog once, so mightily that you almost knock him down, and pull him toward the street that runs perpendicular away from the turkey. Yell to your dad, "I'm gonna run up Carter Street!" like you are giving him your safe house location. Have the adrenaline rush make your teeth chatter so you say C-C-C-Carter.

13.) Take at least six hours to recover. When the kids come home from school, reenact the entire scene for them in the living room; your impersonation of the turkey's darting and yelping will cause the dog to freak out and start jumping around and barking, so you only have to play the turkey and yourself while the dog reenacts his own part.

14.) Research how long turkey nesting season lasts and vow not to walk toward that end of the street, alone or with the dog, until that amount of time plus two weeks have passed.