Dear Giant Squid,
SQWAAAK! I am seagull.
I have an unusual diet. I eat bugs and pick through garbage for food. Sometimes I swoop down and steal food right from the barbecue or beach.
SQWAAAK! Most people hate me and think I am a pest. What can I do to make others like me? I hear too much "damn seagull", and not enough "pretty bird." Please help. I think I am pretty.
You face an uphill battle, my greasy-enfeathered correspondent. Much like the pigeon, the houserat, the jellyfish, and the thievious raccoon, you are perceived, by-and-large, as a pest species. To the populace majeure, you are no better than an insect, and somewhat worse than actual litter.
Largely, their assessments are accurate. You have an unfortunate lot, dear bird.
I have consulted Molly, our resident female and office manager, on tips as to how you could become a "pretty bird." Molly — as Rob, my faithful lab-assistant, has oft elucidated — is a "hot mama" and supremely "bone-able"; she is possessed of a "flavor" one is best to "savor," and despite a marked lack of "cushion" — for she is much a devotee of the self-mortification via elliptical device — is well suited to the "pushin'." In the case that it has failed to go without saying, it is evident that Molly is attractive despite her treachery, plotting, shrill tongue, and appetite for violence. If there ever was an analog for the plight of the noble seabird, she is it.
Her advice is as follows:
- What the hell? You want me to give advice to a seagull? A seagull e-mailed you? From what? A sandy, abandoned Blackberry?
- Alright, I'll play along.
- The thing that has always bothered me about seagulls is the way they beg for table scraps. So I'd suggest you stop doing that. Go catch fish or something. And, umm, if this advice is for a human, I'd modify it to something like: "Be self-sufficient and self-aware. Monitor yourself for annoying behaviors and try and change." But I'd punch it up a bit. You'll edit this, right?
- Another thing: some seagulls give off an oily gleam. There is a purplish shiny miasma that sort of envelopes them, like an Exxon Pigpen from Peanuts, y'know? This is really unattractive. I'd suggest bathing frequently. In clean water. If you can find it.
- And that cry has got to go. It's piercing. It makes me want to jab my thumbs into my eyes. Work on your voice. Try and sound more pleasant. If you can't manage that, speak less often and quieter.
- What? Rob said what?
- And that was it?
- OK, that's not a word. Yes, I know that it's a valid grammatical structure. And I don't even want to know what the flavor thing is supposed to imply. (Molly shudders discretely) How the hell did any of this come up?
- Hey, how does Rob know I use the elliptical machine at Vic Tanny?
- No, I don't have any other pointers for the bird — Christ! It's eleven? I can't believe I just blew a half hour giving advice to a neurotic seagull. If I ever find a time machine, this is one of those moments I'll edit out of my life.
- Yes, I know that Rob says that drugs are the Undo in the toolbar of life. If you see him, you tell him that Molly believes that handguns are the Cut in the toolbar of Rob keeping his fucking opinions to him-fucking-self.
- No, I'm going to Starbucks to sit on my cushion and have a latte. I'll finish the timecard audit from home and email it.
- I don't care. Ask Jarwaun.
Although Molly's advice is sound and reasonable, dear avian adventurer, I insist that you bear foremost in your tiny skull: You are more than your appearance. You occupy a unique role in nature, serving as the guardian of the great Triple-Point Border of Land, Sea and Sky. Seagulls are the ignored ambassadors of the world, impotent bordermasters, and indifferent air-traffic co-ordinators. Cherish this homelessness, this necessary displacement! You are the Jack of All Elements, and Master of None! You are Landstumbler. Skytumbler. Seaspaddler. Man mocks you out of jealousy, for what you do naturally he does with the aid of expensive and unreliable machinery.
You are better than these petty worries, Seagull. Also, you must cease to eat from garbage dumpsters. This is distasteful in the extreme.
A Native of the Sea,
The Giant Squid