Friday, December 09, 2005

Pigeonholed


I was walking with a group of my co-workers to lunch a couple of weeks ago when out of the blue (or gray...it was cloudy) a bird of unknown origin scored a direct hit on the head of one of my staffmembers. My guess is that it was a Sea Gull. But it could have been a pigeon or even a crow.

The amazing thing was that this happened in a crosswalk with no trees or light poles around, so the bird had to have dropped its payload while in flight. This bird had to have taken in account wind velocity and it's speed as it flew. It also had to take into account how fast we were walking. Fortunately, I was walking ahead of the group and escaped unscathed.

What's even more amazing was that this is the third time this person has been hit by bird shit. And two of those times, I was walking with her. What are the odds? Everyone around her kept telling her that in some cultures a bird shitting upon you is good luck. Yeah, right.

I've only been shit upon by a bird once (not counting pet parakeets as a kid). I was walking through Pioneer Square in Seattle years ago and someone I knew was approaching in the opposite direction. They motioned for me to stop because they had a question about something. When I stopped to chat, it was unfortunately under a tree. The second I stopped walking a pigeon tagged me on the shoulder. The person who had flagged me down looked at the bird shit on my shoulder, shook his head and walked away.

I learned several things from this experience (other than the obvious, "shit happens"). First, never stop under a tree in Pioneer Square. Second, you never know when a bird is going to shit upon you. And third, never assume that birds are random about relieving themselves. Just the other day I was walking under a light post in Pioneer Square and a large mass of bird guano landed barely a foot from me. I waited until I was well past the lamp post to stop and look back. A crow stared back at me and I swear he flipped me a claw.

If I ever have a child, I'm going to impart this wisdom to them early in life. But for now, I'm throwing these pearls out there for the masses to digest as they see fit.

Just don't say I never warned you.
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