Down East 2013 ©
It’s partridge hunting season in Maine, and on opening day, a friend of mine set out with his shotgun to fill David Cassidy with birdshot.
Just kidding. There’s no hunting season for David Cassidy. He’s fair game anytime. Be warned, however, that if you’re planning to go after Danny Bonaduce, there’s a special permit required to carry firearms in Old Port bars and other dens of inequity. As for the rest of that family, the state sets a bag limit of two a day.
But my friend – I’ll call him Ralph (although his real name is George) – wasn’t interested in stalking celebrities whose best-used-by dates had long since expired. Ralph (actually, George) was after the elusive and tasty bird that is unfortunate enough to share a name with a televised musical disaster.
George – oops, I mean Ralph – drove his truck up a dirt road not far from his home in western Maine. He was headed for an area where he’d previously seen plenty of partridge, and as he drove, he whistled softly to himself. The tune sounded suspiciously like “Come On Get Happy.”
George (damn!) is an experienced hunter, so as he traveled, he kept an eye out for game. At each side trail, he slowed and checked to see if any shootable birds were lurking about. Before long, his efforts were rewarded. There, on a grassy knoll, stood Shirley Jones. Wow, has she aged badly, he thought as he drove on.
But at the very next path, he spotted a fat partridge. It was peacefully standing just a short distance up the trail, seemingly without a care in the world. George knew better than to brake suddenly, which would only startle the bird. He slowed down and pulled over a hundred feet down the road, eased out of his truck without making a sound, loaded his gun and moved silently back toward the turnoff where he’d seen the partridge.
Just as he reached that spot, he heard what he described as “the voice of God.”
“Don’t shoot that bird, George,” God said. (God was apparently unaware that for purposes of this posting, George is being identified as Ralph.)
George is not the kind of guy to defy orders from God. He stopped, lowered his gun and looked around. He noticed a slight stirring in the bushes, and when he parted them, he saw …
I bet you think I’m going to insert another absurd Partridge Family character here. But that would be overkill. Besides, I’ve already used all the famous ones. Who remembers Jeremy Gelbwaks or Ricky Seagall?
No, what George (fake name: Ralph) saw lurking in the undergrowth was a game warden, one that he knew pretty well, which explains why he used George’s name when he told him not to shoot the partridge. Which, as the warden explained, was actually a stuffed bird that he and his partner were using as a decoy.
George had been taken in by a little scam, designed to catch hunters who keep loaded guns in their vehicles (illegal) or try to shoot birds from their trucks (very illegal) or dress up like Partridge Family characters to lull their prey into a false sense of security (not technically illegal, but tasteless). George was guilty of none of these crimes (in the woods, he always dresses as a member of the Cowsills), so he was sent on his way without further incident.
But not without regret.
“I should have shot that bird, anyway,” he said. “Even though it was stuffed, it was still a partridge. I don’t see why that wouldn’t be legal.”
Nevertheless, it’s a bad idea to go around blasting away at every bird you see, particularly if it’s an Eepybird, which is not a bird at all, but the stage name used by the Buckfield duo of Stephen Voltz (the geeky one) and Fritz Grobe (the nerdy one) (previously members of the Osmond Brothers). Voltz and Grobe are best known as the Diet Coke and Mentos guys, as a result of the Web video of them dropping the latter into the former with explosive results. They’ve also showed up on the ABC Family channel doing astonishing things with Post-It Notes. Now, they’re in line to get their own television show on an as-yet-unrevealed network in which they’ll introduce new weird tricks employing common household products (such as a stuffed partridge and a shotgun), while also performing early Osmond hits. (No truth to the rumor that Donny and Marie will be making a guest appearance.)
You, however, need not wait for their televised premiere. You, instead, can be a part of it. Eepybird is hosting a free performance on Oct. 16  at an undisclosed location in Buckfield, which shouldn’t be too hard to find, because there aren’t all that many locations in Buckfield, undisclosed or otherwise. This secret performance (don’t tell anyone about it, and while you’re keeping things quiet, could you also kind of forget that the guy in that first story is really named George?) will be taped for inclusion in the TV program (suggested name: “The Andy Williams Jr. Show”) and will also reveal to the world for the first time the latest Eepybird experiment. Which will be …
Well, I’m just guessing here, but if these two guys could transform themselves from decidedly uncool Osmonds into ultra-hip Internet sensations, they could also be behind the image overhaul being undertaken by the Maine Oil Dealers Association .
Oil heat has been taking a beating in the public-relations arena (it’s like mixed-martial arts, only lots more violent) because large segments of the population perceive oil companies as greedy price-gougers, the fuel is seen as environmentally unfriendly, and the countries that produce it are mostly brutal dictatorships. (Funny how those same problems don’t affect the sale of iPods.)
To deal with this perception problem, the oil dealers have decided to rename their association to better reflect their eco-sensitivity. From now on, they want to be known as “Greenpiece.”
Or, if the lawsuit filed against them for trademark infringement proves to be successful, they’ll go with the “Maine Energy Marketers Association,” instead. That still sounds lots friendlier to little woodland critters like partridges (not to mention Cowsills and Osmonds). And it’s way better than their third choice, which was the “Maine Association of Nervous Businesspeople Who’d Call Themselves Anything Including Eepybird If They Thought It Would Keep Their Customers From Installing Solar Panels On Their Roofs.”
Their fourth choice for a name was “Ralph.”
Al Diamon (his real name) can be e-mailed at email@example.com .