And Be a Winner
By Steve Carr
I was up early on a Saturday, a not wholly unpleasant phenomenon of middle age, and tiptoed outside to spy on a pairing of Jupiter with a crescent moon just before daybreak. While dancing on bare toes in wet grass and gazing through the trees to an illuminated sky, I considered that not a single lazy sleep-in morning could rival this moment.
At some point I noticed my robe had fallen open, introducing my hinterlands to one of the first frosts of the season. Perhaps my shivers were not a hundred percent Jupiter-inspired, but shivers they were. Wanting to share, I snapped a picture—of the sky. The result: a blue canvas with two dismally small yellow-white splotches. Social media would not capture the experience for those who stayed in bed.
Still looking up, I spied a bird swooping my way. I flinched at the house finch. Had you been there, my fear of the little bird may have made you wonder about my mental stability—as if the fact that I stood barefoot on the frosty lawn, open-robed, hadn’t already established this diagnosis.
My reaction was a symptom. You see, I have what my wife has glibly called PTBED or post-traumatic bird excrement disorder. Not once, but twice recently, my head has served as a bird commode. The attacks were swift and precise. They were quite literally fly-by sh**tings.
I hustled inside to calm my heart and warm my feet on the still-sleeping backside of my long-suffering bride. (That will teach her to sleep past six on the weekend.) While in that safe place, I realized I needed to address my condition before it blossomed beyond reason and kept me indoors and under covers forever.
I emailed a physics professor friend, Christopher Cline, and asked about the odds of having a bird poop on one’s head. He responded with questions about projectile dispersion, time spent outdoors, target size (my head is not that big!), atmospheric conditions, and the like. I didn’t like. Don’t burden me with logic and variables, work with me on this.
So I did what we all do now for answers that are clear, concise, and true. I scoured the internet. Apparently, no one has calculated the odds. Even so, my search brought a measure of peace as I learned it’s considered good luck to be bird-bombed.
Now this part you won’t believe, but believe me. After writing a draft of this column, I left my office. It’s maybe a hundred feet to my car. Halfway there, bird doo-doo landed at my feet, missing my head by inches.
I drove straight to the convenience store and bought ten scratch lottery tickets.
My ten dollars returned three one-dollar winners. The back of the tickets said my odds of winning were one in four. I beat the odds. That makes me a winner.
Next Saturday I’ll rise early and slip outside (most likely slipperless again) to enjoy Jupiter or the moon or a lumbering skunk headed back to his den. Autumn mornings in Idaho are Eden-like, and are even better now that I know how to enjoy nature and improve my luck at the same time. I’ll do my part by standing under a tree, near a feeder. The finch will have to do the rest.