Friday, October 1, 2010

Avoid things with no shoulders!

My general rule is to avoid any animal that does not have shoulders.  Think about it.  Name one shoulderless animal that is completely harmless.

See you can’t do it can you.  Snakes, Sharks, Emus, Jelly Fish, Flies - I could go on and on - don’t have shoulders and they could all harass a person unnecessarily.  But, birds are the worst.   I believe my distrust of birds started at a very early age.  I blame my father!

As a youngster, I remember we had a pair of parakeets.  The male was named Pete.  His wife was named Petey. 

No one ever accused my family of having very original pet names - Tiger, Bear, and Coco to name a few.  Although at one point my youngest brother had a dog he named Ezekiel, but everyone else just called him Steve and that was the name Ezekiel began recognizing.  Eventually my brother broke down in tears and my mother demanded we only refer to the dog by its proper ‘given’ name.

My mother told us Pete and Petey were a married ‘love bird’ couple because they would sit in their cage and peck ‘kiss’ each other.  But looking back on it, I doubt she knew for a fact that one was male and one was female.  I hardly identify my mother as an animal expert and I do not remember her ever having verified their sex.  For all she knew those birds could have been lesbians.  Often, my father would let them out of their cages and they would fly around the house.  I was terrified.  They were fast and I couldn’t always see them speeding in my direction.  One day while my mother was cleaning their cage, Pete escaped and flew away.  Several days later Petey died.  My mother said it was from a broken heart.  Looks like she may have been right about that.  But, Pete and Petey were gone and I was OK that the bird situation was resolved. 

Years later when I was a teenager, my father decided to get another parakeet.  He named it Petey. 

The family living space in our house was situated so that Petey could fly unimpeded in a giant loop through the connecting rooms.  When my father would let Petey out of his cage, he would buzz around his flight path and after a few loops would land gently on my fathers shoulder where he peck ‘kissed’ my dad’s 70’s porn ‘stash.  When he wasn’t making bird love to my father, he would just zoom around like some feathered WWII dive bomber.  No one in my family seemed to mind this, except me.  Whenever that bird was out of his cage I was on a constant state of alert.  I believe animals are aware of how you feel about them and I think Petey knew when it came to me; he was only an open door away from meeting the neighbor’s cat.  It was bad enough when I knew Petey was out of his cage and freely terrorizing the house, but it was horrifying to come home and find him bearing down at full speed towards my face un-expectantly.  Petey lived with us for about a year.  It was a year in which I developed spontaneous ducking reflexes and the urge to randomly sling my arms around my head.  To the innocent bystander, I’m sure I appeared to have tourrette’s or some type of rude uncontrollable spasms.  Occasionally I would man up and try to befriend Petey.  After all my two younger brothers seemed to have a very pleasant relationship with Petey and considered him a loving member of the family.  I would try to extend goodwill to Petey by putting my finger in his cage so he could peck ‘kiss’ or perch on it like he would do to my siblings.  Instead the bitch would just draw blood!  On rare occasions when Petey would light on my shoulder, he usually only stayed a moment, but it was long enough to leave a present! 

I don’t remember what happened to Petey.  I’m sure he dashed out an open window or fell over dead in his cage.  Either way, he was gone and that was all that mattered to me. 

Years later, while living in New York I would sometimes be reminded of Petey.  Think about what would happen if all the pigeons decided to revolt and make a move against humanity like in the movie ‘The Birds’.  Those NYC pigeons are not afraid of people, so if they wanted they could really wreak havoc.  Remember what those birds did to Tippi Hedren’s French twist!  I’ll never forget.

I started writing this entry because I had a couple of photos from last week’s visit to the coast that I had not included in previous posts.  Upon a second look I realized that seagulls were in most of the photos and I was reminded of my bird issues.  I’m not sure if you can tell but those are seagulls swarming that shrimp boat.  If I were on that boat, I would have to be sedated.  One afternoon I was taking photos of the marsh and encountered these two gulls on the pier.  The photos were taken at very close range.  See how sinister they look.  That’s the same look that Petey had! 


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