Why Emus Don't Make Good House Pets

Delta Winds cover 2007Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College


Why Emus Don't Make Good House Pets

Derek Spencer

I can see it now standing there in front of me, the Emu, with its mouth stretched wide. I can hear the distinctive sound that it made, and I can see the upside down 'v' shaped eyebrows as a red scorching flame out of nowhere appears behind its body. Absolute terror locks up my body, and my yells quiver slowly out of my throat as if I were in puberty at twelve years old again. All of a sudden the Emu charges me. What is this? I cannot move! Oh no oh nooo

I wake up in my bed thinking to myself, "Oh, thank you, god." This nightmare continues to haunt my dreams. I quickly wipe the sticky cold sweat off my forehead and think back on the day I learned that emus do not make good house pets.

Two years ago my grandfather invited me and my mother to come over to his place for lunch. My grandfather, always the Santa Claus of our family, decided to surprise us with his pet emu. My mother and I had never seen an emu before. We walked in the backyard, hoping to see a bird perhaps the size of a chicken. Standing there, seeing the emu, I thought, "If it were a chicken, this would be the Arnold Schwarzenegger of all chickens."

I remember looking at it from the legs up as the song "March of the Volkins" began to play in the back of my mind. It had veins pulsating in its thighs, thighs that rivaled those of Serena Williams. I scrolled upwards to its brown down feathers that covered its wide running-back frame. The bird's neck ended in a long six-inch beak, much like a Roman spear ready to impale me. Then it happened--we locked eyes and the wind began to pick up. The atmosphere befitted a western movie, complete with tumbleweeds rolling by. Its black coal eyes pierced right through me. I held my own. There was no way this emu could win this stare-off competition, for I was on top of the food chain! Or so I thought.

My mother, probably unaware of the phrase "curiosity killed the cat," leaped forward towards the emu as if it were an everyday housedog. But this was no dog. It opened its beak and made a god-awful noise. "Skreeeeeeak!" This had the effect of nails on a chalkboard, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. All of a sudden the emu jumped up and delivered a front kick to my mother's ribs much like the trinity kick in Matrix. The kick sent my mother flying five feet in the air landing her on her back. I quickly ran to my mother's rescue. Dropping down to one knee and placing my left hand behind her neck, I asked, "Are you okay? Are you all right?" She grabbed her side and looked at me and said, "Get out of here. Save yourself." Then, she passed out cold from shock. My pulse began to rise and I looked up at the Emu. The Rocky Soundtrack was now playing in my head, as I looked my enemy up and down and Michael Buffer's voice called out: "In this corner, from the Australian outback, weighing in at an even 140 pounds, standing 5 feet 11 inches tall with a record of one K.O.--Thhhhheeee EMU!!"

My Kung Fu style would be flawless against the emu, I thought, as I pulled myself up. I had no way at that time of knowing that emus run up to speeds of 40 mph. It caught me off guard when it struck my face with a kick. Its claws ripped through my flesh, knocking me down on the ground. Gazing up at him, I lay there on my side as its left eyebrow rose up and its mouth opened wide, yelling "Shreeeeeeeak," indicating to me who was the victor. My face, along with my pride, was hurt. I had broken the cardinal rule of "never underestimate your opponent," for I had lost. The emu's fighting record was now two K.O.s. Quickly my grandfather came to the rescue and put his "pet" back in his pen. He then drove me and my mother to the nearest hospital.

The damaged included my mother with three broken ribs and me with six stinging stitches to my face. I did find it ironic that emus are not aggressive animals, but require a "Dangerous Wild Animal's License." It is without a doubt safe to say in my case that emus do not make good house pets, as my scars continue to remind me. In a couple of months it is Thanksgiving, and according to some light reading, emu meat is 97% fat free and has lower cholesterol than most meats oh, I will have my revenge!