June 15, 2005

Random Commuter Thoughts, Part II

Want to get yourself stared at on the Metro? Try reading James Thurber's "There's An Owl In My Room," a wicked ribbing of Getrude Stein's poetry about pigeons in the grass, alas. A sample:

People who do not understand pigeons - and pigeons can be understood only when you understand that there is nothing to understand about them - should not go around describing pigeons or the effect of pigeons. Pigeons come closer to a zero of impingement than any other birds. Hens embarrass me the way my old Aunt Hattie used to when I was twelve and she still insisted I wasn't big enought to bathe myself; owls disturb me; if I am with an eagle I always pretend that I am not with an eagle; and so on down to swallows at twilight who scare the hell out of me. But pigeons have absolutely no effect on me. They have absolutely no effect on anybody. They couldn't even startle a child. That is why they are selected from among all birds to be let loose, with colored ribbons attached to them, at band concerts, library dedications, and christenings of new dirigibles. If anybody let loose a lot of owls on such an occassion there would be rioting and catcalls and whistling and fainting spells and throwing of chairs and the Lord only knows what else.

* * * * * *

You could dress up a pigeon in a tiny suit of evening clothes and put a tiny silk hat on his head and a tiny gold-headed cane under his wing and send him walking into my room at night. It would make no impression on me. I would not shout, "Good God almighty, the birds are in charge!" But you could send an owl into my room, dressed only in the feathers it was born with, and no monkey business, and I would pull the covers over my head and scream.

I'm reading The Thurber Carnival right the way through. The man was completely insane in a quiet, midwestern way.

Posted by Robert at June 15, 2005 08:29 AM
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