The Judgment of Pigeons

Earlier this month Freakomomics posted a pic of a car covered in bird droppings and linked to a study that found that pigeons can be taught to differentiate “good” paintings from “bad”.

This brought to mind a time when I was subjected to the judgement of a bird.

My parents had a cottage on Magician Lake in Michigan and so a fair amount of time in the summer was spent up there.   As cottages go, it was nice, but it was a cottage.  Many of the “cottages” on the lake looked more like a primary residence (though few were), but ours was a nice cottage with a short pier and a couple of row boats.

I remember several of us, my siblings and myself and perhaps a guest or two, were in the front yard more or less gathered around the table singing.  I don’t know what we were singing, but singing we were.  We were not in the habit of singing all the time, but with enough regularity that any one time did not seem out of the ordinary.

I loved to sing, though I suspect I was not so good at it (I still love to sing and I’m sure I’m better now than I was then, but how much that says….).  At any rate, the song ended on a long dramatic note and I tipped my head back and really belted it out.  And in the middle of that note, a bird in the tree above judged me to not be such a good singer.

With laser precision the dropping found its way through the small gap between the top of my glasses and my eyebrow and hit me square in the eye.

I knew immediately what had happened.  I flung my glasses off and ran the few feet to the lake and pretty much dunked my face into the water several times.  I don’t remember much else about it.

I assume that everyone got a good laugh at my expense.  Geez, I hope so.  What a waste of material if no one laughed at that!

At least it didn’t plop right into my wide open mouth.

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