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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Dead Bird (a eulogy)

There is a dead bird in the alley by my apartment. How did you meet your end, dead bird? Perhaps you went naturally, maybe in your sleep. Do birds sleep? Maybe you got a little too intimate with a power transformer and fried out your randy innards? Perhaps you were brought down by a child’s slingshot? Your tragic demise was mere entertainment for a bored child. As pointless as that death may have been it’s better than thinking that some homeless guy killed you for food.

You had to take the easy road in life of eating out of dumpsters and begging for French fries at the hamburger joint up the street. Maybe you were the first bird to die of heart disease—nice going, dead bird. You probably didn’t even bother building a nest or doing any other bird-like endeavors in your city-dwelling life. I’ll bet that you just laid your eggs in a trash can. Nothing like rushing the kids out of the house before the garbage truck comes around on Tuesday. “I hear the truck coming, kids. It’s time you learned how to fly.” Great parenting skills, dead bird. You were a credit to the species.

Dead bird, you are still lying there. Dead bird, you are still dead and you’ve been rotting there for weeks. Dead bird, you are really grossing me out. I think I’ll walk a different way tomorrow.

Thank you for teaching me so much about life and death, dead bird. Out of gratitude I almost picked you up and put you in the dumpster, but fuck that. Dead birds freak me out because of all the diseases you guys carry. Like I’m going to risk getting West Nile Fever just to do you a favor. I don’t even know you. If you had died out in the woods like a normal bird you would be peacefully covered in leaves by now instead of sitting there in the alley in a feathery, greasy wad. There is no one to blame but yourself.

I hope that when I leave this world I don’t leave behind a rotting carcass in the alley that will be seen by people taking a short-cut to the coffee shop. I haven’t been too obsessed with dignity in my life—everyone who knows me can back me up on that statement, I once parted my hair in the middle—but I wouldn’t mind a few shreds of that dignity stuff when I die. If I am denied this final scrap of dignity will one of you please toss my carcass in the dumpster? It’s the right thing to do, people, and what goes around comes around. I’d do the same for you.

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