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Putting Vietnam author Tim O'Brien's spurious signature aside, I licked my TurkeyMan wounds, and tried to find a reason for his nom de plume accusation; in effect labeling me the nefarious TurkeyMan Terrorist, on the title page of If I Die in a Combat Zone.
What did he know about turkeys, I wondered? And when did he know it?
True, he was a Washington Post reporter in 1973 in the midst of the Watergate Scandal, and surely familiar with the National Zoo's shocking Turkey-napping in the Name of the American Indian, reported by the Post, that rocked the nation.
Why would he not admit it? Is he concealing something?
Upon reading his novel, If I Die in a Combat Zone, I soon learned some troubling facts. O'Brien's home state of Minnesota is the largest turkey producing state in the nation, and his home town of Worthington calls itself the Turkey Capital of the World, and holds a turkey parade, with a cult-like celebration, on the 2nd week of September.
O'Brien's turkey past is troubling. He could be in the crowd. He could be the boy with the stick. He could be a true turkey aficionado, with a hidden gobbler agenda, that possibly drives a poultry prejudice of unsavory proportions, a person who might take immense effrontery at anyone desecrating the town's divine-turkey demigod image. A terrorist who would dare kidnap the celebrated Sphinx-like bird, in O'Brien's mind, might possibly deserve to suffer a barrage of fire and brimstone, if not penetration by impending turkey crossfire quills, directed by the scribe O'Brien himself.
Yet, on page 14 of Combat Zone, O'Brien does not write fondly of his boyhood Turkey Days:
Turkey Day climaxed when the farmers herded a billion strutting, stinking, beady-eyed birds down the center of town, past the old Gobbler Cafe', past Woolworth's and the Ben Franklin store and the Standard Oil service station. Feathers and droppings and popcorn mixed together in tribute to the town and the prairie. We were young. We stood on the curb and blasted the animals with ammunition from our peashooters.
Elsewhere in the book, he describes big artillery guns bombing the Vietcong as a Turkeyshoot. He writes of turkey dressing served to troops during Thanksgiving.
Beneath the surface, there is a definite turkey meme, and turkey may be in his blood.
In the war, O'Brien surely killed men, which is legal. Ostensibly, I kidnapped a turkey, which is illegal, probably a sin, undoubtedly a red-wattle flag blocking the parapets of Heaven's Winged Gate--which is the only way I would get in--never through the front door. I have no Trump Tower pass. As turkey time flies, I am a mere peasant. That is my story and I am sticking to it.
Yet, never underestimate a citizenry's passion for our nation's turkey.
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