Volume 94, Issue 84

Thursday, March 1, 2001


The relentless world of Misstress Barbara

Feast on European delights at Marienbad

My ego has finally landed

My ego has finally landed

By Matt Pearson
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Birds are random. As humans, it's natural for us to assume that the purpose of their existence is simply to circle the sky in flight, squawking tirelessly as they seek out sustenance in the form of bread crumbs, rotting vegetables and the discarded remains of Happy Meals.

But after a recent encounter with the bird kind, I've discovered the nature of their higher purpose: To keep humans humble. You must bear with me though, for the ensuing tale has some gory details.

While walking home one afternoon last week, I had the unfortunate pleasure of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A bird overhead, species still unknown, decided to empty its loose bowel directly in my path, or more specifically, on my left shoulder.

Despite the gross-out factor, I found the experience totally humbling. Perhaps it was Nature's way of saying, 'Listen boy – don't get too big for your britches.'

Or perhaps without the presence of a formal check on my ego, the bird community has taken on that particular responsibility in hopes I will keep both feet on the ground.

Yet maintaining perspective can be quite a challenge because of the conflicting messages we receive about the size and scope of our individual egos. On one hand, self-confidence is viewed as a winning personality trait. However, cross the line even a bit and one's self-confidence transforms them into an ego-driven, arrogant social pariah.

Consider the events leading up to the fateful bird-with-loose-bowel incident; I was going over a mental checklist of all the things that seemed to be going well at that particular moment in time, like the weather and reading week and my new Value Village pants.

But in this hazy yeah-for-me state of self-absorption, that little bird must have sensed me teetering on arrogance and decided to teach me a lesson. I guess sometimes we have to get shit on to remind us of how human we are.

I just wish that bird didn't have to take the expression so literally.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000