Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:February 5th, 2010 19:41 EST
bird

I have a favorite bird. I shouldn`t.

By Andy Wright

I`ve noticed recently, and many times before, that nobody cares that I know about and like to learn about one specific bird.  I am by no means a bird watcher and I have no interest in owning a bird, I do have a TV, video games, p*rn, and prefer alternative realities to this one, but, contrary to these, I do have a favorite bird.  It`s the double crested cormorant; it has a majestic wingspan, it`s a guanay bird, its primary diet is marine life - and there isn`t much more that you will care to know assuming you were the least bit curious about any of that.  

double crested cormorant

This didn`t start with a school project or a save-an-endangered-species fundraiser - in fact these birds are doing pretty well for themselves, I`m pretty sure there are too many of them.  Nor did this bird save my life; I just saw it one day while in Florida on a family vacation, thought to myself damn, that bird looks really cool when it flies " the way that nobody does, and decided to pursue this interest.

I`m sorry mom and dad.  I am sorry.  We don`t have meetings or believe in a different god.  We just enjoy different things than other people.  I like a bird, and I`m not forcing others to like this bird.  You don`t have to agree with me, just stop calling me faggot ".  I`ve tried to ignore this but I didn`t choose this way of life, I was born this way.  I like a bird and I find it interesting and I don`t find any other bird interesting.

If I`m ever filling out a survey or an unusually in-depth job application, I am forced to answer questions regarding favoritism and biases toward a particular species of bird.  I am cursed like those who have committed felonies.  Just another pock mark on my resume counting against me just like my weak work experience, incompetent references, lack of extracurricular activities, and the whole education section. 

In the interview when things are wrapping up and going great, and I`m about to lock down the position of loss prevention manager at Pacific Sunwear, the interviewer then jokingly says well, there is one last question, and we stopped asking it years ago due to its irrelevancy and absurdity, but I like your sense of humor and I have a good feeling about this one.  What is your favorite bird? And without missing a beat, I blurt out cormorant. "  He dismisses me from his office, and despite his claim of we`ll be in touch ", I never hear back from him.

Everybody growing up has a fascination with some sort of animal like reptiles, dogs, cats, or hamsters, and I had normal feelings for normal domesticated animals then too.  But then a handful of years after puberty completed its 17 dollar and 46 cent makeover, I started preferring a bird - I don`t feed it when I see it or even try to imitate its call.  I didn`t associate with this bird out of some childhood trauma.  I had a pretty normal childhood; I`m the one who decided to put a crazy spin on it by adding a splash of weird bird enjoyment to it. 

I don`t buy paintings of it or make it the desktop background on my computer.  All I do is watch it, maybe take a picture with a disposable camera so there`s no digital footprint, burn the negatives, and then mix it in a pile of pictures of me from the 8th grade.  I retain knowledge and information I never plan to share with others as I`m sure many others do as well - nobody really cares about the finer points of your job and nobody cares about the theoretical physics book you read.  But these things have a way of coming up anyway, whether it`s accidental or alcohol. 

So when my friend finally comes clean and confirms my suspicion by telling me that his uncle (who is a really, really cool guy by the way) used to touch him as a child and my only secret to reciprocate with is I have a favorite bird.  It`s a cormorant, " and we stop being friends because I`m the one with the problem, who do I turn to then. 

The answer: the National Audubon Society and old men who watch birds clearly wishing they had spent their youth watching birds instead of going to war.  But is that the life I want to live?  Regardless, that`s no longer up to me; I just hope my remaining introverted friends and family can stick by me knowing that I have a favorite kind of bird.