Crows are Smarter than People, but don’t Sizzle

I have proof! It’s true! They are way smarter than I am!

See, I’d seen an ad during the Super Bowl, like, four times, for the McDonald’s Cheesy Bacon Fries, and each time I thought to myself “dang, that’s cool!”

Now, my darling, wonderful wife is out of town, and I find myself with a day off (please don’t tell my wife I did this – she’ll have the I-told-you-so of a lifetime, and I’ve already given her so, so many. It’s safe to post this, because she never reads my stuff. If you don’t tell her, we’re cool).

So, It’s a lovely day at the harbor here in Ventura, and there’s a McDonald’s just a few blocks away. I don’t feel all that hot from an abusive weekend in Las Vegas (being volleyball parents isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be),  and, hey, I mean, it’s McDonald’s, right?

The first challenge is that the Cheesy Bacon Fries come in a box with a knife and spork.  Uh oh, the gullet says. This could be danger. Then I crack open the box.

So, when we were in Montreal, we discovered a Canadian dish called poutine – fries, cheese curds, brown gravy, and meat, all piled onto a plate. It is heaven on a cold day.

Ronald’s version doesn’t have the brown gravy, but it’s the same thing.

The first taste is really great – man, warm salt and fat. Kind of bacony, a little bit potatoey, and a strong dose of cheesy.  Even as I chew it, I’m thinking this is not a very good idea.  Kinda of like eating the cake that’s been out on the counter for a couple of days. It might be okay. Might.

So, about the crow. He flies up and takes station on the lamppost, right above my car. He looks at me with that look that crows have – inscrutable, but intriguing.  He wants a fry. He’s scared away all the pigeons, and the seagulls haven’t spotted the McD bag yet.

I make sure he sees me waggle a bacon-encrusted cheesy fry out the window, and give it a toss onto the grass. He dives on it the second it’s down.

Now, seagulls are smart. Once, my daughter and I played fetch with one.  We  had found a golf ball on the beach, and tossed it into the sand down next to the waves. A gull swept down, scooped it up, and dropped in right in front of us. I threw the ball again, and the bird brought it right back. We played like this for maybe 15 throws, until  he dropped the ball way out in the water and flew away.  Huh. Game over.

But seagulls will eat just about anything. You can make them explode with Alka Seltzer tablets – but please, please don’t. I can’t think of a more awful way to die.

This crow however, perhaps ponders a more awful demise in eating the cheesy bacon fry. He holds it in his beak and stares at me with disdain, his black eye asking “how could you?”  He hops onto the back of a bench, the fry firmly held in his beak, and looks thoughtfully out to sea.

The arrival of a flock of seagulls startles him, and he bolts out over the harbor in a stunning show of aerial mastery. He swings over me, the cheesy bacon fry wagging in his mouth, and then out over the water.

With every sign of intention and purpose, he drops the cheesy bacon fry into the bubbling waves, and off he goes.

What does this story have to do with writing books? Everything, my friend, everything and more.

If you , like me, publish your own work (my books are at Smashwords) there’s a huuuuuuuuge lesson here:

I bought the McDonald’s Cheesy Bacon Fries, knowing full well that it was just a box of salt, fat, and a strange orange semi-liquid cheese.  No, I couldn’t eat them, because, well, ick. But I gave McD’s my money for the experience. It was all sizzle, and surely no steak.

It’s the sizzle. It has to be the sizzle – sizzle so alluring that it makes you buy a product you really know you shouldn’t have, just because, well, because there’s so much sizzle!

On the health side, I’ll fly with the crows.

But on the marketing side, I’ll take a page from McDonald’s!

Please don’t tell my wife.

Hashtags of sizzle:

#McDonald’s #authorsoninstagram #droppington place #marigolds end