By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
Editor’s note: The following interview was conducted Wednesday with Tom T. Turkey in a barnyard just south of Portales.
Q. Mr. Turkey, what does the middle initial T. stand for?
A. Terrified, until I realized that was a telephoto lens in your hand and not a hatchet as you came through the gate just now.
Q. So what are your plans for Thanksgiving?
A. When you’re a turkey, you don’t make plans for Thanksgiving you moron. You try to hide out until the whole bloody mess you humans call a holiday is over. I would love to watch a little football, but that’s tough while I’m hiding out. We don’t have TiVo yet in this barnyard you know.
Q. Obviously, since you’re not trussed up in a roasting pan by now, your evasive tactics must have worked. What’s your secret?
A. I’ve been working out. No one wants a skinny turkey on their table. The Atkins diet has been a Godsend for me.
Q. Has this bird flu panic changed things much around the barn yard?
A. Actually it’s all an elaborate hoax. The PCLU (Poultry Civil Liberties Union) hired a good press agent earlier this year and it’s really taken the heat off us holiday birds. But I got my flu shot like everyone else and I’m not too worried.
Q. How does it feel, as a turkey, to be so linked with one American holiday?
A. Frankly, it’s not that great. We’re linked to a holiday where a bunch of starving pilgrims basically were just trying to make due with what they could forage in the way of food, and they weren’t doing all that well at it. My ancestors weren’t as sharp as some of us domesticated birds are now, you know, and the upshot is that one lucky arrow by Squanto and we’re forever more the meat of choice at Thanksgiving.
Q. Benjamin Franklin wanted to make you guys the national bird at one point. Whatever happened with that?
A. Well you know old Ben wasn’t the brightest bulb on the block. After that business of flying the kite during the lightning storm, no one took him too serious. The eagle ended up getting all the political glory while we wound up on the culinary pages.
Q. This is embarrassing and I almost hate to bring it up, but what is that thing hanging off your nose — er beak there?
A. I know what you’re thinking and it’s not a loogie you human imbecile. It’s called a snood. All us he-man turkey types have them. We also have beards, though they probably look like “hangy-down feathers” to you.
Q. Why aren’t your feathers fanned out right now like we see in all the pictures of turkeys?
A. Why aren’t you dressed in a white leisure suit with your finger in the air, like the pictures of John Travolta? It’s called strutting and we only do that when we’re excited and trying to get a lady’s attention. I’ve got other things on my mind right now.
Q. What is the one American phrase that most strikes fear in your heart?
A. White meat or dark?
Q. What advice would you give young turkeys?
A. Run for your lives!