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  • Zoha Arif, AIT

How to Approach a Turkey

This step-by-step survival guide should be used strictly when encountering outraged turkeys this November. For centuries in the United States, the human population and the turkey population have been rivals. This Thanksgiving, let it be our goal not to plump ourselves on their juicy, delectable meat, but to assuage relations between turkeys and human folk by learning the best way to approach them.

If you should be a person of bad luck and so happen to stumble upon a turkey, treat the situation as a fire drill: remain calm, do not panic, analyze the situation. Refraining from showing fear is the first step to friendship. Appear calm and relaxed. If a mob of enraged, rioting turkeys is gathering to request civil rights, casually fortify your doors and windows. If you are not in the proximity of shelter, I would suggest revisiting Halloween and becoming Usain Bolt. If you cannot get to safety, your only hope for survival is to make peace with your uninvited guests by adhering to the following steps:

  1. Do not present yourself as a patron of Thanksgiving. Put all things remotely related out of sight. Remember: “Happy Thanksgiving” is “Happy Death Day” for these turkeys.

  2. If the turkey is gazing in your general direction, make eye contact. However, do NOT stare at the turkey until it lifts its pellet eyes to yours. Think of it this way: if you stare at a person for an extensive amount of time, that person will become uncomfortable. If you gaze at the turkey this way, you will make it panic. As a substep, consider also plastering across your face a modest, mellow grin. Do not overdo this grin or you will appear to the turkey to be one the Grinch’s long-lost relatives.

  3. Assuming you have successfully made eye contact with the turkey, and assuming that the turkey has examined you, that turkey will do one of two things: 1) He will decide that you are a loathsome creature and deduce that you are, indeed, the Grinch’s long-lost relative who showed up to celebrate too early this year. In that case, he will proceed to attack. 2) He will decide that you are a queer creature, but not loathsome. The turkey will be slightly suspicious because of your species, and for this reason, he will keep a safe distance.

  4. If the turkey pursues you, recognize that you have reached a low point in your life and begin running.

  5. If the turkey does not pursue you, you can proceed to make peace with his kind. Take modest, quiet steps in the general direction of the turkey. If the turkey does anything sudden, pause and take two steps backward. If the turkey begins to pursue you, refer to step four for assistance.

  6. If you somehow end up five feet in range of the turkey, do not break eye contact.

  7. Attempt to speak the language of turkeys. Unfortunately, there are currently no language courses that specialize in Turkey, so throat a few “gobble-gobbles,” hoping they convey the right message. Use hand gestures if necessary.

  8. If you should be a person of exceptional bad luck and you say something that upsets the turkey, refer to step four. If you should be a person of exceptional good luck, the turkey will exchange a few “gobble-gobbles” perhaps inquiring about the weather, and it will depart. If this happens, congratulations, you are a symbol of diplomacy for our species and should feel free to help yourself to seconds of the delicious meal placed before you this Thanksgiving.

(Warning: approaching a turkey can be life-threatening and fatal. If you ever, in the rare circumstance, stumble upon a turkey, please contact your local animal control and DO NOT adhere to the steps listed above).

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