Let there be no mistake about it: few things threaten all that is good in the world as much as birds. Don’t let the high-pitched chirping, the (mostly) diminutive features and the innocent looks on these creatures’ faces fool you. They must be stopped. Eliminated, even.
A feathered fiend similar to that on the left was what stood (flew?) in the way of me having a relaxing weekend. Well, that and dental issues. Well, that and dental issues, and not completing an inventory of the food in the refrigerator before my wife came home from a girls’ weekend. OK, that, dental issues, not completing an inventory of the food in the refrigerator before my wife came home from a girls’ weekend, and Alfonso Soriano.
All right, if I include Alfonso Soriano (and his dropped fly ball WITH TWO OUTS IN THE NINTH INNING AND THE TYING RUN ON BASE!), I really should include the Pittsburgh Pirates on this list. And of course, that’s only appropriate, as some of us know what the Pirates’ mascot is:
Yes, even the Pirates’ parrot has a sordid past. And he’s not the only mascot to run into some legal trouble. The supposedly benign San Diego chicken has had his share of run-ins with spectators, players, cheerleaders and a figure beloved by children.
I wouldn’t even trust the popular television bird, Big Bird. What is Big Bird? An ostrich? An oversized fowl? Regardless, I hope I’m not the only person who secretly hoped that the greatest puppet character of all (the Swedish Chef) succeeded in luring Big Bird into the oven for Christmas Dinner in A Muppet Family Christmas.
Why the rage at birds? As I said, a couple birds really put a dent in my weekend. Saturday morning, I was sitting at my kitchen table, enjoying a nice breakfast and thumbing through the day’s papers when I heard a couple thumps against one of the windows. It was a dumb bird trying to fly through the window. But he wouldn’t quit (I said he was a dumb bird). Just I was investigating the mess he made out of our Juliet balcony (envision a number of white splotches on top of black paint) and the scratches he made on the glass window, I noticed he had an associate working on another window a few feet down. It might have been a dumb bird, but it was a well connected bird.
This second bird saw the window screen and decided that he’d be happiest by continuing to peck at it with his beak until I had three large holes in it. Two other screens had similar damage. A few select people recall the unfortunate bird attack of 2001, in which a robin came at me at my mother’s house, threatening my life, and possibly the lives of my sister and my future bride. It was obvious these two birds were continuing the attacks on humanity as predicted by Alfred Hitchcock.
My well-founded concern about the bird problem was dismissed by many, but one particular woman I know wasn’t laughing after a couple run-ins with Canadian geese, including one that tried attacking her while she was inside her vehicle at a bank. Look at the goose below, and tell me you’d be comfortable with it loitering near you.
Of course, no acts by a goose can be as heinous as those practiced by one Rich “Goose” Gossage in 1988. He might be a Hall of Famer now, but he’s just another example of the risks birds bring. If Goose wanted to blow a save in spectacular fashion so that he could be remembered by good men everywhere, he had an opportunity, just four years earlier. As for the 1988 disaster, the Cubs would have finished 86-76 and been 10 games behind the Mets (I think four of the losses above were to the Mets) had a competent closer without a bird-like moniker been on the club. Speaking of pitchers with bird-like names, I know bitter Tigers fans who wondered whatever happened to the pitcher that made Mark Prior look durable.
Yes, Mark Fidrych was maybe the best pitcher in the American League in 1976. A 21-year-old with an unorthodox motion, Fidrych talked to the ball, did weird things to the pitcher’s mound, and won 19 games. He won 6 more by the end of June in 1977, and won just four more games in the big leagues.
Why did he fall apart after a promising start to a career? He was known as “The Bird.”
Maybe the worst bird of all is the Cardinal. After all, a Cardinal named Law did his damndest to bring down the Catholic Church with his incompetent leadership and willingness to protect sex offenders from law enforcement.
Two particularly irksome Cardinals made their names by stealing bases. Thieves!
There’s also an ex-Cardinal (but really, once a bird, always a bird) that’s making a name for himself stealing money (the league minimum) from Sam Zell.
We haven’t even touched on the steroid-abusing Cardinal.
Nor have we discussed the head-hunting, law-school degree-holding, drunk-driving on allegedly only two glasses of red wine Cardinal. If anything else, he knows about significant numbers.
It’s also worth pointing out that the most senile member of the Senate today is a former KKK member named “Byrd.” The difference in spelling doesn’t fool me!
No matter where you look, birds are trouble. I hate them all. Sparrows, hummingbirds, ducks (some of whom performed a distasteful act on my driveway a couple of years ago), ostriches, swans, and roadrunners (I know I’m not the only man alive who actively rooted for Wile E. Coyote to prevail).
I should qualify this. I do like chicken. Mmmm, chicken.
That, and turkey I guess. But otherwise, birds are, um, for the birds.