Bird Droppings and Other Happy Tidings of Spring

An artist’s representation of how the universe treats human happiness.

For many people, probably those positive-thinking morning types, returning robins are a hopeful sign of spring or a symbol of a renewal.

Well, they’re full of crap. The robins I mean.

And when I say full, I mean positively overflowing with it the way morning people overflow with positive thoughts before sunrise. Just look at the passenger-side mirror and door on my van (pictured above).

A psychotic robin claimed the area around our house as his personal territory. At some point, this brave robin, ever vigilant, happened to perch on the mirror and saw the most intolerable outrage—another cock robin intruding on his territory! Immediately, resident robin fought the interloper, lashing out with all the dull-beaked martial fury he could muster. But intruder robin turned out to be an equal match for resident robin. It was as if this fiendish opponent could anticipate every move and counter each blow with perfect timing. The battle raged for so long and with such intensity that a rapid-fire series of bowel movements issued forth and slimed the mirror housing and passenger side door. Eventually, the resident robin either got tired or hungry and went off to kill worms (or maybe to find a mate, which after all is the ultimate purpose of controlling territory, according to natural selection’s logic).

Then at some point he remembered the nefarious trespasser and flew back to the scene of the first encounter. Probably suffering from impaired brain function as a result of concussing himself in mortal combat with his mirror image, he landed on the opposite mirror, was ambushed by his foe, and spent enough time doing battle there to spill a cascade of oozing crap down the driver-side door.

This imbecilic behavior will repeat itself for weeks. It happened last spring too. The only way to prevent our cars from being covered with modern art is to tie bags over the mirrors or post an object as a kind of scarecrow. Of course, I have to remember to do that. One problem with this strategy is that I’m a spacy airhead. Taking countermeasures to protect one’s property from bird-poop vandalism isn’t exactly routine procedure around these parts. Inevitably, a momentary lack of vigilance will happen. The robin seems to need about 2 minutes to decorate a door.

Which usually happens right before I have to go somewhere embarrassing and don’t have time to wash the van. Say, when I have to wait in a line of cars at parent pickup to get kids from school so the principal can express astonishment and call other people over to look at the extraordinary spectacle. Yes, that actually happened.

Such, my friends, is life.

With obsessive zeal, when you least expect it—sheesh, even when you do expect it—the mad cosmic robin of senseless crap flies up and repeatedly strafes your life with random diarrhea. And as with the maddening case of my robin, the problems usually come in a form you can’t take direct action to solve. Using a blunderbuss on a demented little bird in a closely packed subdivision wouldn’t be a good strategy. (Also, I don’t own a blunderbuss, although I bet it would probably be effective at repelling home invaders. A blunderbuss has to pack some heavy stopping power. Accuracy, not so much.)

A lot of chronic problems are like that. There’s always a catch when fate splatters our potential happiness with a continual stream of cosmic guano. And even if you could take direct action with a blunderbuss, you could end up doing far more damage to the thing you wanted to protect.

After a while, parts of our lives become so encrusted with crud from absurdity’s incurable dysentery that you despair of restoring them. You’ve had to scrape it off too many times only to see things get fouled again. The chronic diarrhea of micro-chaos defeats the will.

But, ah, spring in the morning! Think positive thoughts, dear readers! Just like the crazy robin who is relentlessly optimistic that a positive attitude will win him a glorious victory over his rival in the end.

Author: R.S. Mitchell

R.S. Mitchell is a writer who lives in Central Virginia. StampedingToads.com is where he shares his satirical alternate-reality take on things. He is the author of "Career Secrets of Fairy-Tale Endings" and "The View Finder."

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