Does a dead crow mean bad luck? I have a vague recollection that some negative consequence will befall someone who comes upon a deceased crow. Maybe I’m thinking of the “black cat crossing your path” thing, which undesirable circumstance is only undesirable on Halloween. Or maybe it’s undesirable the whole year ’round. I simply can’t recall. But I can report that coming across a crow lying flat on its back, prostrate (except face up), whilst walking with one’s family to the morning bus stop is unpleasant. I will admit to a bit of a jump-scare, in fact. Perhaps “shuffle-scare” is the better phrase, given that I ran some stairs yesterday on the heels of a couple days of skiing with heavy borrowed skiis, and I am out of morning bus stop shape. In any event, that crow is dead.
I say “that” crow because he or she and his buddy have been tormenting our own black animal for a year or so. Screeching blood-curdling caws upon catching sight of her during one of her many neighborhood strolls. Dive-bombing her and her adult companion. Wailea barely seemed to mind. I think she may have misinterpreted their loud reactions as a show of friendship. She would perk her nose up in the air after a kamikaze swoop. I would pick myself up off the ground from the push up position, and scavenge around my front pockets for a spare Doan’s back pill, cursing. My body is not conditioned to twisting and contorting, Matrix-style, in the face of aggressive crow behavior.
I had developed a real dislike, bordering on hatred, for these two birds. I tried to find some sort of empathy for them. Tried to rationalize what could possibly trigger this perpetual, crazed behavior. Maybe they were protecting some new hatchlings nearby? That could be true if they churned out baby birds year-round. Because their reign of terror lasted year-round. No seasonality. Maybe we were somehow encroaching on their territory? Forget it, birds. We’ve lived on this block for 15 years. And when we moved, we only moved across the street. Same block. I don’t think those birds were 15 years old. I don’t think crows even live that long. If they do, one of their clocks stopped counting as of this morning (or maybe last night). Because he or she is officially dee ee aye dee.
And so you know, we are a family that basically treasures all living things. We have never let our boys swing plastic wiffle ball bats at bees buzzing in the grass. We gave a humming bird a proper burial under our front bushes when we found him there writhing on the ground in his death throes. The boys even painted a couple rocks with his likeness, marking his final resting place as headstones. Now, I readily admit to no such mercy shown mosquitoes. And that juvenile rat snuffed out years ago with a peanut butter-laden, bible-sized trap? That death blow was delivered by a hired professional, and we maintain plausible deniability in that particular case. Dead rat? What dead rat? The grotesque concoction my grade school buddies and I cooked up 40 years ago to pour on the heads of innocent ants queued up on our sidewalk? I would thrash my kids if I caught them with that mix of Aim toothpaste and generic hydrogen peroxide. I might even make them drink it. In fact, I think you can probably buy this exact ant-killing mixture now as a means of achieving a blindingly bright smile. So that means even at my most sadistic point, I was actually trying to help those ants. Make them more attractive, more appealing to their human neighbors. Not drown them in a blue and bubbly paste. No sir. Not this guy.
Well, I felt nothing close to sadness or empathy about the flat-on-his-back crow this morning. That felt more like karma. And there will be a cost-savings here, too, since I can cut way back on my Doan’s back pills purchases. Yessir, I will kick the Doan’s habit completely. Yahoo! Though I will need to add in some extra push ups here and there in the course of the day, to make up for the lost, teeth-saving push ups I won’t be doing on my local sidewalks any longer. That’s fine. I can live with that. Collateral damage. Cost of doing business.
What a fantastic way to start the new year. Not so fantastic for the homeowner who stumbles on the crow carcass on his or her way out to work. That poor bystander — presumably not locked in the same battle to the death as my dog and I have been with those crows — will likely have the bejesus scared out of him or her this morning. If I weren’t so traumatized by the crow myself, I would be helpful. Give some advance warning. Maybe leave a note. I certainly don’t have it in me to go retrieve the body and dispose of it properly. But I could maybe ring the doorbell with a broomstick end — the longest broomstick I can find — and then stand there, mute, pointing to the carcass with my cheeks puffed out when the nice man or lady came to their door. I could do that, maybe.
No I couldn’t. I’m just about broken from the crows’ reign of terror. My nerves are shot. My ability to think rationally is severely compromised when it comes to these birds. In fact, I would peg the odds of that bird actually being dead at no greater than 23%. Far more likely is the notion that he or she is merely taking a nap. Might even be embarrassed, chagrined, when it wakes up and realizes he had likely been spotted by his arch nemeses in the vicinity of the morning school bus stop. So probably best if I steel myself and tip toe back out around the corner, just to see what’s what.
But this will have to be a solo mission, no dog in-tow. I’ve just flushed the last of my Doan’s.
Thanks for reading. And Happy New Year.