About The Bird

Cindy Schnackel

I was invited to one of those huggy, huggy group meetings. You know, the type where everyone reveals inner lies about themselves, others, and the world around them. Well, we soon started picking out animal personalities for each other, which sucked, because someone else chose what animal you were. So, right off the perch, things weren’t going to be honest, just brutal like a writers’ workshop. There were cougars, bears, eagles, dolphins—lions, owls, deer, and yadda, yadda. Me? I was a bird. Not a specific bird, just a generic, B-I-R-D, bird. That’s the word. Not an avian personality like a bluebird or gold finch, but a plain old bird. What were they trying to tell me?  All I could do was pretend it was a compliment. My feathers weren’t ruffled and I didn’t chirp up. I wouldn’t dare peep in public.

If I was to be a bird, then I must be a flightless bird. After all, I drove ten miles to attend the meeting.  Somewhere, back in my sordid evolution, I had the ability to fly. Now, for reasons of survival, that ability was lost, because I wanted to drive a Prius, Passat, or Volvo and feel good about it. I developed a quick, efficient waddle that could outrun stupidity. Unfortunately, stupidity is stubborn and I have had to keep running, continuously. My beak became sharper. I needed the perk to peck the shit out of anyone who was particularly problematic. My eyes moved to the front of my head from the sides, so I could see who was insulting me and who I insulted back. I went for easy prey, foraging in schools of overpriced degrees, chewing on grants, choking on loans, leading to a career inside an aviary called community college. This led to teaching kids who don’t read, who prefer spark notes instead of critical thinking. Thinking is for the birds. Go America. I watched out for (not always successfully) bigger hunters who would kill my personality. They fed voraciously upon individuality like it was Tweety’s feed, spewing out rotten eggs of ego during union meetings. I would mate with those of my kind, but since none of us could fly we kept to ourselves. Occasionally a kindly scientist patted me on the head and gave me a treat, but they always wanted something in return.

So, the meeting was a success, yes I’m a bird. I’ve now been caged.  But, I’m going home proud. You’ve heard about migration, so I’m going to get seasonal. By the time you hear my birdsong. I’ll be long gone. I just need to find my keys.

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49 thoughts on “About The Bird”

  1. “All I could do was pretend it was a compliment. My feathers weren’t ruffled and I didn’t chirp up. I wouldn’t dare peep in public.”

    That’s why you’re a bird.

    But you can pick a species. You can get your turkey on and kick some ass.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is beautifully expressed. What a challenge you were given. Being a bird, go get back your wings and show them how you can fly like no other bird. By the way the symbolism for birds is very beautiful, looking at it from another direction, you might find yourself soaring and comfortably driving your Passat.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. …… “I needed the perk to peck the shit out of anyone who was particularly problematic”…

    #angrybirds ☺. You really stayed in the bird context! all the way!👍. Loved the story, brilliant!. Every sentence made me want to read the next! So i read it all and re-read some parts to get a good laugh which I hadnt done the first time as I was too curious to know the ending👍

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is excellent. You have more in common with birds than you thought, at least, with your particular evolutionary twists. Don’t all birds love Volvos and want to teach at community college? If I have to be a bird, I’m going to be an ostrich with my head in the sand, at least for the rest of election season. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I clicked on “Life Cameos” and I thought, What is this? It’s nothing like her site. I had to read it. I’ve been to writers groups like you wrote about. Once I left in tears and asked myself if I was a writer at all. I decided to leave that group before they stole my very soul. A sad tale, a funny tale, one that makes me think.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. All I could think about was three things.
    Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds,
    The birds in Resident Evil 3, when they attack the children and Alice saves the day by catching the birds on fire with her mind….
    and…
    What a bird would mean in Gaelic form … http://livingartsoriginals.com/symbols-celtic.html
    …or Native American..Magical, shape shifting, change, creativity, spiritual strength, inelegance, energy, higher perspective.
    Some pagans believe that the bird is connected to the underworld.

    Either way, it really isn’t that bad to be a bird. You get to shit on people, all day, every day 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This made me feel both happy and a bit sad. It’s heartbreaking to see birds caged but then the idea of birds looking for their car keys made me laugh. I must admit I envy you your “quick, efficient waddle that could outrun stupidity.” I often feel the need to develop mine more.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reminds me of this gig we offer at my church called Making Peace. What struck me was your use of “inner lies.” Gorgeously articulated cynicism! And now I’m wondering if, when I attend these “huggy, huggy” retreats I ever get truth, from others or from myself. Certainly like you, I’m always purposeful about my presentation. Idk… lately I feel like Pontus Pilate. What IS truth?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Paragraph 2, line 1 to 11. I can relate to. Have you ever felt like perhaps you’re an eagle but has to live in a Tweety cage?

    Like

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