What Were You Thinking?

I had a friend tell me once, “I’m not gonna lie, you’re kinda scary. I can never tell what you’re thinking.”

I was reminded of this when, this afternoon, a couple of friends were discussing I-don’t-know-what and had become comically animated, which caused me to start laughing. The next thing I knew, one of them asked, “What were you thinking?”

To be honest, my friends give me too much credit. They actually believe that I’m thinking all the time. The truth of the matter, however, is that I think less than people realize. After all, there’s a reason one of my favorite quotes is, “Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.”

Among my many quirks, thinking is not often one of them. Or, rather, I’m prone to thinking after I’ve said or done something, which often results in a bit of face-palming on my part. Then everyone wonders why I don’t like to be in large groups of people.

Many people spend too much time wondering what I’m thinking. Whenever I’m not talking or joking around with a friend, I am usually sitting there with a serious, stone-cold stare. I don’t mean to do that. Honest. However, it is an expression I have developed as a means of defense. After all, it would be dangerous to sit around like a space cadet. This stone cold stare often tricks people, making them believe that I’m either angry or thinking of something painfully serious.

However, I can recall a handful of times where this has happened and, in reality, my thoughts were more along the lines of, “He really likes nuts (the food). Maybe that’s why he’s friends with me,” and, “Squirrel!”.

Being a person of extremes, there is always the flip-side to the coin. Sometimes, I think too much, such as the time that I went hiking with a group of friends and I was so engrossed in the story in my head that I failed to realize we had been passed at least ten times.

Some of my family and friends have expressed great concern over this. I’ve been told, for instance, that I will get kidnapped some day because of my thinking (or lack there-of). But not to worry. While I’m driving or when I’m walking alone is about the only time you can guarantee I’m thinking. If there is even the chance I could be in danger, I am quite alert. But if I’m with a friend or family member…well, you get the point.

So if you chance to see me (or people like me) with a serious expression, worry not. It’s not likely that I’m thinking about getting revenge on you or anybody else, for that matter. I’m probably just thinking about stories or squirrels. Or, more than likely, I’m not really thinking at all.

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Immortal Bread and Duck Pond Madness

I sat there…blinking, stunned. I wasn’t sure whether to be impressed or disturbed. After a moment, I finally went with disturbed. In my hand was a full loaf of enriched white bread. My cousin had given it to me right before school ended so that I could feed the ducks at the duck pond. But life had gotten hectic as I cleaned and packed in preparation for moving out of the dorm. I had eventually stashed it in a drawer, intending to take it down to the duck pond once I had gotten settled in.

It had been three months since then. And here was the loaf of bread. It looked like it had just been pulled off the store shelf: perfectly devoid of mold.

For anyone wanting to buy food in preparation for an apocalypse, this is the ideal food. It can’t go bad! I thought sarcastically. There was just something wrong with this picture. Oh, well. I never found ducks to be fazed by rotten food.

With that, I slipped on my shoes and headed out the door, still glancing down at the loaf of bread in my hand, wondering if it was even edible.

It was a nice, hot, summer day, and the sun was shining brightly when at last I got to the duck pond. There weren’t many critters about. A few ducks bobbed on the water in the shade of the bridge that spanned the pond, but nothing else stirred.

I untied the bag of bread and pulled out a slice. Just then, there was a loud plop in the water. I glanced up.

Hmm…Must have been a fish.

I began tearing off pieces of bread and tossing it toward the ducks. They lazily meandered over toward me, grabbing up the bread as I threw it. I tossed the bread nearby for a few minutes. Then, suddenly, there was a small splash in the water at my feet.

I glanced down and my eyes grew wide in surprise. A pair of catfish had come right up to the shore, their exposed backs glittering in the early afternoon sun. Now very intrigued, I dropped a piece of bread near by feet. The catfish lunged for it, nearly “beaching” themselves at the edge of the water. It wasn’t but a moment later that a large, black circle had formed in the water. It was at least four feet wide and solid catfish.

I laughed as the ducks paced around the swarm, the water practically boiling. They were not fond of contending with the fish for food, but soon they began wading into the madhouse, practically walking on fish to get at the bread.

Just then another movement caught the corner of my eye. I glanced over and began to laugh again.

Well, hello!

A turtle head was peering up out of the water. I tossed a piece of bread in its direction, which it promptly grabbed before sinking below the water. I went to continue feeding the ducks and fish, but already more fish had come to join the party. The black, churning water was strung out at least ten feet along the water’s edge.

The turtle popped up again, this time wading into the masses of fish. I tossed a piece of bread at him and he moved as if to go after it. Just then, one of the catfish came up in front of him, grabbing the bread in one gulp and slapping the turtle in the face before sinking back under the water. The turtle’s mouth opened instantly, and I could almost imagine a look of pure indignation in his eyes.

Just then I noticed another turtle pop up out of the water. Then another. I glanced up out across the water and my mouth dropped open. There were turtles coasting toward me from the other side of the pond. I counted about two-dozen, then gave up counting.

As I stood there in wonder, a young mother and her two kids came up. The mom had a bag of crackers tucked up under her arm. I heard them talking about feeding the ducks as they headed to the bridge so I called out, “There are fish and turtles over here, too, if you want to feed them.”

The trio joined me and as they tossed crackers into the water, the boiling frenzy of the catfish began again. The little boy squealed and did a little dance as one fish came up to the edge of the water, stopping just inches away from his feet before turning back.

All the excitement seemed to interest the geese on the other side of the pond, because no sooner had the kids and their mother joined me in feeding the park wildlife, we found ourselves being mobbed by the loud, pushy birds.

I had a pile of catfish swarming at my feet, turtles crowding the masses, ducks surrounding them and geese behind me. It didn’t take me long to finish off the remainder of the bread and, with that, I opted out of the madhouse. As I walked back home, two thoughts were running through my head:

1. “How do you fit that many critters in one pond?!”

and 2. “I sure hope I didn’t make them sick…”