08 January 2007

One-Legged Pigeons, the Lot of Us

That's what I saw on the walk from the subway to work this morning. He flew down in front of me and landed, making a slight adjustment for his weight in order to make his standing pose more like a flamingo and less like a V8 commercial. I wondered, How can a pigeon lose just the one leg? Then I wondered at why I hadn't seen one before. I mean, it must be treacherous to live the life of a pigeon. They are the punk rockers of the bird world. I'm rather amazed that they don't get plastered by vehicles more often, much less have their legs amputated by animals, freak mishaps and, uh...freak animals.

I got nuthin'.

Anyway, it's nice and strange for me to be frantically trying to take advantage of the six-months healthcare this week and encounter a one-legged pigeon trying to cross the road. (Obviously the little guy has insurance through an HMO, if at all.) I feel a ken between myself and the winged rat. Fortunately, it's not because I'm on an HMO plan (because this time, I'm not). Rather it is because I have been feeling my age of late (my older friends are going to KILL me if they read this) with regards to my health. I now need to adjust how I accomplish spectacular feats, owing to persistent injuries like my sprained wrist and shoulder, or my chemical epididymitis (see 12/31/06). This bird is losing a little bit of his sense of immortality.

My hope is that this new sense refines and improves my work--makes it more precise and efficient. Some days it's easier to keep this hope in mind than others, of course. It is so easy to allow a hardship to suck hope out of me. I'll never understand that reaction, but I experience it over and over again. It may just be me. Perhaps others are much better equiped, and their hope quotient goes up (to a point) as their hardships increase.

Me, I need the occasional gimpy pigeon to lend a little perspective.


Patrick said...

I often see pigeons missing a leg, or missing several toes on one or both feet. I worry that it's some sort of pigeon leprosy as well as the other possibilities you envision. But they do seem to function reasonably well, don't they.
When I turned 26, my body began sending me very clear messages. They invariably said "Dear Sir; You've been good thus far about doing your warm-ups before rehearsal; but it's come to our attention that you've secretly believed it was optional. If it ever was, it is no longer. We appreciate your attention to this matter. Sincerely, your Musculo-skeletal structure." That was before I may have given myself whiplash playing a snake-handling, glossolalia-speaking, seizure-having Pentecostal. Physical Therapy starts on the 31st. Well, at least I'll be getting x-rays then. I will refrain from punching you when next we meet. You're welcome.

Jeff Wills said...

Well, we can simply agree to empathize with one another in that case.