Archive for Nature

20. Walk into a tree.

What a simply gorgeous day. The sun is out. The birds are chirping. The carnage from last night’s gang war has been cleaned up in a timely fashion. It’s time to go outside. Time to celebrate the arrival of spring. Time to have a picnic, ants be damned!

You pack the sandwiches. Your picnic buddy packs the drinks, snacks, and anti-seagull spray. You meet up at a predetermined statue and begin scouring the park for a suitable location. There! You hurry over to a particularly lush patch, only to find that it is verdant for a reason, covered as it is in canine fertilizer. Over here! your buddy yells, as you both hasten to a table in the shade…that upon closer inspection has been commandeered by an unfriendly race of spiders hellbent on spinning the entire table up into one giant, pulsating web. You shout towards the heavens in frustration. Is Picnicpalooza 2008 just not meant to be?

To the contrary! You see it in the distance, practically glowing: the perfect spot. Fluffy and green, right next to the pond, colorful butterflies dancing through the air, a squadron of squirrels gathering an offering of nuts to accompany your spread of wine and cheese. “Quick,” you yell to poor Picnic Buddy, wracked by now with heaving sobs, “Get it!” You both waddle towards the spot, focused and determined. If anyone wants your newfound real estate, they’re going to have to pry it from your cold, dead, mayonnaise-covered fingers.

Almost there. You can almost taste those Sour Cream and Onion Pringles on your hungry lips. So excited, you are, that you turn around to convey this enthusiasm to Picnic Buddy. “Best picnic EVER!” you gloat, even going so far as to extend a hand into the high-five position. After you realize that Picnic Buddy is too busy wiping away tears (of happiness!) to join you in celebration, you quickly turn back to once again gaze upon the beauteous spot that you are about to seize. But, sadly, you’re not quick enough.

For since the fates have decided that no mortal shall be allowed to bask in the glory of such a brilliant pinnacle of natural perfection, they have employed the services of a low-hanging branch to spear you directly in the eye. You scream and wail and flail your limbs akimbo, as if this will ward off any other demon twigs that might find their way into the vicinity of your ocular treasures. You fall to your knees and begin clawing at your eyeballs in a vain attempt to reattach the retinas that have surely been rent asunder. Picnic Buddy drops the E.L.Fudges and runs. Picnic Buddy wants no part in a venture that has so clearly been doomed from the start. You end up a quivering pile on the ground, crying and wondering just how long it takes to gain a solid grasp of Braille.

So if you want to suck at life, walk into a tree. The scratched cornea will last for a few days, but the shattered remains of a picnic gone awry will haunt you for many springtime jaunts to come.

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18. Aid pigeons in target practice.

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Another day of rushing around the city. You’re late. You have not yet consumed the requisite amount of caffeine needed to maintain consciousness. There’s a rock in your shoe. And you’re wearing two different colored socks, though this is due mainly to the this morning’s distraction caused by your separation-anxiety cat and his wails of neediness. The point is, you don’t really need another thing to go wrong with your day.

Of course, Mother Nature has other plans.

You’re quite sure your hat does not resemble the windshield of a car, nor does it feature a bullseye design, nor was it even purchased at Target. But that doesn’t stop the hordes of flying rats from relieving themselves all over your stylish and rather expensive beret. Perhaps the pigeons just don’t like the look of your face. Perhaps they do not care for French couture. Perhaps they spent all last night pecking away at a Taco Bell Fourthmeal left in a garbage can and are currently suffering the dire consequences. Whatever the reason, you now occupy the illustrious position of having been marked by avian feces. It does not feel good.

But the dangers don’t stop there. Those sharp little beaks and manic, dead eyes have much more in store for your already ruined morning. Distracted and panicked, you immediately call up your emergency dry cleaner, Renaldo. While you fumble for a pen and paper to write down his explicit instructions for the best way to remove bird crap from Parisian silk, the sinister winged devils chart your every move. Sure, their innocent-sounding clucking and cooing may sound harmless to an outsider, but rest assured, malignant conspiracies of a most injurious nature are being unflaggingly plotted in excruciating detail, right there on the branches of a majestic elm.

You, meanwhile, remain oblivious. Which is why you never see the attack coming. One minute you’re running down the sidewalk, trying to hail a cab (though none will stop because you’re covered in excrement), the next minute you’re flailing comically, bleeding from the skull, and screaming “SAVE ME RENALDO!” at no one in particular.

What happened? All you can remember is a loud, some might say vengeful screech, followed by a literal explosion of feathers in the immediate vicinity of your head.

You frantically survey the area, attempting to identify the culprit. But whoever it was has flown back to safe obscurity in the general population of its walking-petri-dish brethren. You continue to stare blankly, unbelieving, stopping strangers to shrilly demand “DID ANYONE JUST SEE THAT?” They did, and they are laughing at you. Some are pointing. One guy even took a picture. It will be blogged and humorously captioned within the space of fifteen minutes.

So if you want to suck, aid pigeons in their target practice. You’re no ornithologist, but it doesn’t take an expert to realize that they’ve already won. Resistance is futile. Best just to abandon the world to their tyranny and pray that the countless diseases they carry will dispose of the human race in a relatively quick and painless manner.

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