Without a car horn, you don’t have much to add to conversation in Boston

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DAVID VOGEL
Who would have thought (not me) that a trip to Boston would teach a lesson in Darwinism?

In my mind, if I was to learn anything while in Boston, it would have had some sort of historical patriotic value. Perhaps it would have been about the Bostonians getting so angry that they threw tea into the harbor because the British kept taking more than a nanosecond to accelerate after the light turned green.

This is because the people of Boston have a very sincere Driver’s Code of Conduct which states that, and I quote, “Any jerk who (choose one: stops at a green light, stops at a red light, walks across the street, gets in the way, gets out of the way, honks his or her horn, doesn’t honk his or her horn, does really nothing at all) deserves to get run off the road.

Bostonians are very genuine in this code. In fact, the key communication method in Boston to show that you’re (choose one: angry, happy, sad, sort of hungry, just had a fight with your girlfriend, in need of a restroom, fairly indifferent to the whole issue, not even aware that there was an issue) is to honk your horn loudly and then give the other person the type of hand gesture that looks like a little fuzzy box on television.

It’s an unfortunate fact that if your vehicle’s horn happens to be broken while in Boston, you will have absolutely nothing to say. It’s upsetting, but true.

The reason for my stay in Boston was that the Hillsboro Leo Club attended the International Lions Convention. The Leo Club is very similar to the Lions Club, except that its members still have all of their original key joints.

One thing we did at the convention was trade pins. From what I could tell, pin trading is somewhat of an athletic activity for Lion members across the world. (“You have pins to trade? Here my pins. What pins you have?”)

I’d be standing there, completely innocent, and suddenly I’d be attacked by a group of guys from China, waving their pins frantically in the air. Thankfully, all of us Leos had been provided with a substantial stock of pins for trading prior to the trip, so I was able to randomly fling some pins across the room and run for my life.

The entire event was not unlike something you would see in a nature documentary at school; a fierce jungle beast attacking an unsuspecting teenager from Kansas.

Which reminds me of what I had originally planned to discuss, which was learning about Darwinism in Boston.

As you probably know, Charles Darwin is credited with many fundamental ideas about evolution and the survival of life, such as that if you step in fossilized dodo poop, you have essentially stubbed your toe.

One thing Darwin was made famous for was his 1831 voyage to the Galapagos Islands, where he successfully cataloged 13 different species of finches, according to age, rank and serial number.

Another was his theory of Survival of the Flittest, which is exactly what we got to see in Boston. This theory states that in order for birdlike species to survive in a metropolitan environment, they must be able to dive-bomb tourists.

Surprisingly, Boston is inhabited by numerous kinds of animals. I had expected to see the occasional deer (on the side of the road), but I was amazed at the diverse species that we encountered.

And by “diverse species,” I am of course talking primarily of seagulls. Seagulls are a species very similar to birds, only they eat a lot more.

We originally saw the seagulls our first night in Boston, when we went to the beach. While we just walked along the shore’s edge-picking up shells, splashing each other, pushing the sponsor’s son under the waves-the seagulls seemed like a friendly bunch of guys, the kind that you wouldn’t mind inviting to dinner if you knew they’d have decent table manners.

However, that opinion quickly changed once we sat down to eat.

Once they spotted the food, the seagulls transformed-Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde-style-from docile creatures into Massive Feathered Predators of Rage.

Pity the unfortunate soul who was dumb enough to order french fries! He would be sitting on the bench peacefully, and suddenly he’d look up to see a ravaged, starving seagull rocketing out of the sky; it’s target: the french fries. And NOTHING was going to get in its way.

By observing these creatures in their natural environment (Boston), I have drawn the conclusion that Darwin was right, and that in order for a species to survive, it must be able to out-maneuver all competition when it comes to greasy foods.

By the end of the trip, we’d fed pounds of American Fast Food to several types of animals, including seagulls, pigeons, sparrows, ducks and even squirrels.

So if you’re in the Boston area and notice an army of overweight, public-park-related animals chasing after you, throw them some food and run for your life. And if that doesn’t work, call for help by using Boston’s official distress signal.

Honk loudly.

* * *

UFO: Studies have shown that bartenders who don’t smoke actually inhale the equivalent of 36 cigarettes during an eight-hour shift.

Don’t ask why.

Editor’s note: For photos and more information about the Hillsboro Leo Club’s trip to the International Lions Convention in Boston, visit the Kansas Leos Web site at www.kansasleos.net.

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