Read Michael Schaffer go all Franzen in November 1998 (way before anybody even thought about Freedom) in “Loco in MoCo: D.C.’s smug suburban neighbor has hijacked yet another local industry: high-profile scandal.”
Golf! Geese! The U.S. Migratory Bird Protection Act! With a cameo by Kurt L. Schmoke!
No one else may buy it, but I’m sticking to the single-goose theory.
It all goes back to 1979. Back when Montgomery County was young and fresh and full of promise. Back when the Beltway was a teenager and sprawl was a toddler. Back when the Brit Bandits were being taught accentless suburban speech in the county’s preschools and Ruthann Aron’s chili tasted perfectly normal. Around when Sam Sheinbein was nearing conception and Robert Dean was writing term papers instead of love poems. The rest of the country was slogging through the last years of the Carter administration, but there was no malaise on that verdant northwest edge of Washington. At least for the humans.
The goose probably began that day feeling pretty good, too. It was springtime, and the goose was heading home to Canada for the summer, stopping off, like so many Canada geese before and since, at a green swathe of comfort out on River Road that locals knew as the Congressional Country Club. May 3, 1979, though, would be different. Like so many other suburbanites, our goose soon learned that leafy tranquility doesn’t always produce emotional tranquility: On the 17th green, goose met man. And man won.
Now, geese have been on the losing end of interspecies warfare for quite a while. If the goose’s assailant had been one of the old reliables—shotgun-wielding man, say, or maybe environment-despoiling man—all might have been forgiven years ago. But instead, the goose met its maker thanks to an entirely new aggressor: putter-swinging man.