Monday, August 31, 2009

A Weekend for the Birds

I like birds, but I’m starting to think they don’t like me.

I’ve had a few dust ups with our feathery friends over the years, but nothing as ugly as this past weekend. It started during a visit to the Newport Aquarium in Northern Kentucky. Oddly for an aquarium, one of my favorite exhibits was an aviary. We purchased some nectar to feed the birds. Many birds happily partook of our sweet offering.

I felt at peace with the wildlife, like a regular John James Audubon. That is, until one of the birds rewarded my goodwill by relieving himself on my t-shirt. I thought it was “number one.” My son, Trent, who is more knowledgeable about these things due to countless hours watching Animal Planet, cheered me up by telling me it was more than likely “number two.”

That’s right. This bird didn’t bite the hand that fed him. He pooped in it.

It was traumatic, particularly facing a two-hour drive home with a bird-soiled shirt. However, I wasn’t about to let it ruin my weekend. I recovered quickly enough to stop off for some ice cream. By the next morning, all was forgotten as I went about my weekly routine, mowing the lawn, cutting the weeds and washing two cars.

After washing the cars, I went inside and cleaned up a little. By the time I returned – no more than five minutes later – birds had hit them both, negating an entire afternoon of hard labor in a single selfish moment.

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the same birds. After all, the birds in Newport seemed safely incarcerated within some netting. But perhaps one of them called out a hit on me, like a mafia kingpin tapping into a criminal network from his jail cell.

Why would these birds target me so vicousouly? I scoured my memory banks for the answer. If anything, I’ve been pretty good to birds over the years. If I see one in the road, I always drive around it. I don’t eat much chicken. I even taught a paraquet named Amos how to say “Pretty Boy,” undoubtedly making him the envy of his flock. Amos would have lived longer too, if he hadn’t eaten so damned many cigarettes, but that’s another story.

Anyway, between these bittersweet memories of Amos, I finally stumbled upon something.
When I was much younger, I owned a muscle car with t-tops. Once, when visiting a drive-through establishment, a bird with aim like Peyton Manning pooped on my wife’s head. I laughed uncontrollably – not only for the rest of the day, but for months afterward.

So maybe it wasn’t the birds that got me after all … but karma.