The St Pete Pigeon Flap: A Valedictory

By John "Birdman" Bryant


As expected, the St Petersburg City Council passed their law against me, and I have had to say farewell to my birds. There is sadness, of course -- one does not leave his friends without it. White, and Blacktop, and Nickneck, and Red, and Badeye and Limpy, and all the rest, both named and unnamed -- they will all and always be missed. But as Longfellow so aptly put it:

"I have you fast in my fortress,

And shall not let you depart,

But shall put you into the dungeon

In the roundtower of my heart.

And there I shall keep you forever,

Yes, forever and a day,

Till the walls shall crumble to ruin

And moulder in dust away."

But if there is sadness, there is also its opposite; for no glass is half- empty without also being half full. For I now have an extra hour a day which I sorely need, an extra thousand dollars a year in my pocket, and a lot less wear and tear on the cars. And I still have birds elsewhere, so I will not lack the companionship of my favorite feathered friends. And there are yet other advantages, if ones which are more subtle. For one thing, great oaks from little acorns grow; and who knows what oak this act may spawn? After all, my webpage was directly launched by the attempt by the Jews of Mensa and their shabby goys to hush me up, and what did it get them but a permanent blot on their reputation and a webpage that speaks to millions because I was not permitted to speak to hundreds? This kind of thing has another name -- unintended consequences. And what unintended consequences will this incident produce? I cannot say; but I can say, as Sartre once observed, that Hell is other people: Behaving like the devil is just what turns a man's life into a living Hell. Or to put it another way, morality is not about punishment in an afterlife; rather it is about punishment in this life for behaving improperly. But I can go further than this and say that, while the acts against me may result in nothing by themselves, the people who perform such acts are evidently those without inhibition in performing similar acts; and the cumulative long-term result of such behavior is almost always self-destruction. This, indeed, is what happened to all the principals in my earlier battle with the St Pete Beach City Commission -- every one of my enemies self-destructed within a year. Psychology may not be as exact as physics -- it cannot be said that for every action there is an equal and similar reaction -- but it CAN be said that the more seeds of hate a person (or a race) sows in the hearts of others, the more likely the sower is to reap a permanently-disabling crop of brambles.

So let the fun begin.


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