Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica
Ack! The tall human grabbed a broom! HONK!
This story originally appeared on Ars Technica, a trusted source for technology news, tech policy analysis, reviews, and more. Ars is owned by WIRED’s parent company, Condé Nast.
No, no, no, no, no, run away, run away! I’m gonna lift my worthless wings (curse these loosey-goosey things) and trot away, trot trot trot. Don’t sweep me, ma’am …
OK. Whew. Gosh, in the madness of running away, I forgot that I have her carrot. It’s in my beak.
Why do I have her carrot? I just saw it and grabbed it. That was easy. That was fun.
Hi, I’m a Goose, and This Is My Story
Maybe I should rewind a bit. I have the brain of a goose, after all. How big are geese brains? I don’t know.
I woke up in a quiet little field a little while ago. Green grass, some boulders, some trees. I shook my head from my nap, peeked out from a shrub, and began exploring. That immediately felt fun. (And it looked lovely, too. I took some photos. Don’t ask me how.) I saw a log, and I heard a voice tell me how to lower my neck to go under it. That was easy. Then I saw a tin can, and I got this sneaking sensation that I should bend down again and pick it up with my beak, which was also fun.
Then I saw a gate, but it was bolted shut. Hmm. I could tell I needed to duck my head to pull one post in the grass, then raise my head to yank another post. Clink, clank. Open!
… Ha. I said “duck.” That’s a bird joke.
Also, I can take my sweet time and ignore the list, but it’s a comforting thing to refer to. It gives me purpose. Sometimes, it’ll tell me to do something simple: pick something up, then drag it somewhere else. These little things always seem to annoy people. Why do I have to be annoying? I don’t know why my list asks me to annoy everyone. My first list suggested that I drag a farmer’s rake into a lake. “Rake in the lake,” ha! Honk! I laughed. I dragged the rake far enough, dropped it into the water, and laughed again.
But other stuff on the list isn’t so clear. It asks me at one point to get the farmer to “wear a sun hat.” I see the farmer, who’s wearing a really small hat, and I see the sun hat, which is out of my reach altogether. Curse these flightless wings.
What else can I do? Think, goose brain, think. After knocking out some simpler tasks on the list, I notice that when I pluck a rose from the farmer’s garden, he keeps bending down to replant the rose. Honk! That’s it! I can reach the hat when he bends down, so I do that, run to some shrubs, and hide by lowering my neck. I am a chameleon. He cannot find me in here.
That is a lie. I am a goose. But the farmer still can’t find me, and thus, he covers his bald head with the sun hat. I hear a “swip” sound of a pencil dragging across my list. Success.
After waddling through the open gate, I heard a rustle of notebook paper, and I realized I had a list. Maybe it was under one of these worthless wings the whole time. Someone wrote on it in nice, cursive handwriting. Was it another goose?
I don’t really have a sense of time, “health,” or limits here. Those giant people who sweep at me with their hands or (ugh, the horror) a broom? They push me away, but I can always waddle back.
We’re Talking About Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood
Screenshot: House House