Jailbird watching.

Been hearing about the lady with the finger in our last post.

Not so much in comments that show up here. But in comments that don’t show up here. And from friends.

There’s something about defiant anger. What does this have to do with bird watching? We’ll get to that. First, think about that gesture and why people are drawn to it…

In Spike Lee’s 2002 film, “25th Hour” people were drawn to a very popular 2-fisted, 5-minute scene about giving the bird. It’s on Youtube, if you’re interested.

In it, Edward Norton’s soon-to-be-jailbird character goes into a men’s room and sees an insult scrawled on the wall. He takes it personally, as we all do.

Then he gives it back in a politically incorrect, cathartic rant by writer David Benioff that Shakespeare would envy. Norton flips the bird to everybody, group by group. His monologue is anger unleashed.

What does this have to do with bird watching?

Okay. Here’s something 2-fisted birdwatchers know: when you’re angry, insulted, frustrated, rather than flip the bird like Norton did, call it a day and walk through the woods. When you reach a river, sit.

Soon the wild quietness will make whatever’s bugging you less important. You’ll see a Great Blue Heron, even in winter. A Belted Kingfisher, a few Wood Ducks, Red-bellied Woodpeckers. Maybe an Osprey. Pine Grosbeak. Or deer. Mink. Muskrats.

Doesn’t matter. Now you’re thinking about the wildlife you’re seeing. And how come that heron hasn’t flown south. You’re taking a breath. You’re letting the anger go down the river.

Flipping the bird to someone, or everyone, works. But going to a river by yourself does the same job.

Hey, here’s an idea: do both. Flip off the world, then go sit by a river. Gotta be good for your peace of mind. Bring a couple of beers along, and it’ll be perfect.

5 Responses to “Jailbird watching.”

  1. Ron Heard says:

    A very attractive young lady flipped me off about ten years ago when I was apparently following too close behind her. … Within a half-mile or so. … I had to speed up just to make certain I was seeing what I thought I was seeing?!? It still bothers me today. …

    I read this blog and emailed a friend about it. He sent back the following which was designed to make me feel better about the situation. It lists only the twelve recognized uses of the “F word” down through history. Please feel free to add your own!

    1. “Scattered [F word]-ing showers, my ass!” – Noah (4314 BC)

    2. “How the [F word] did you work that out?” – Pythagoras (126 BC)

    3. “You want WHAT on the [F word]-ing ceiling?” – Michelangelo (1566)

    4. “Where did all those [F word]-ing Indians come from?” – General Custer (1877)

    5. “What the [F word] do you mean, we’re sinking?” – Captain E.J. Smith of RMS Titanic (1912)

    6. “It does TOO [F word]-ing look like her!” – Picasso (1926)

    7. “Where the [F word] are we?” – Amelia Earhart (1937)

    8. “Any [F word]-ing idiot could understand that.” – Einstein (1938)

    9. “What the [F word] was that?” – Mayor of Hiroshima (1945)

    10. “Aw c’mon. Who the [F word] is going to find out?” – Bill Clinton (1998)

    11. “Geez, I didn’t think they’d get this [F word]-ing mad.” – Saddam Hussein (2003)

    12. “Who the [F word] is that at this hour?” – Osama bin Laden (2011)

    Thanks for keeping us updated on the magical world just outside our doors!

  2. Marc D. says:

    The river is the Tao…And, Sam Peckinpaugh’s most violent film sequences are often followed by a funeral service with “Shall We Gather by the River” playing on the sound track.

  3. Merideth says:

    Wow. Just watched that scene from 25 hours. Wish I hadn’t. How many people are seething with that kind of rage, just under the surface?

  4. Two-Fisted Bird Watcher says:

    Thanks for the comment Rob L. Nice to know somebody else out there knows the writer Benioff. About the solitary wood walk: it’s kind of a zen thing, maybe, and when done often becomes a habit like a drug. But of course going into nature with wife, friends, or kids, is great. Might not be as quiet–and this cuts down on the wildlife sightings, but the woods are always great. And great to share.

  5. Rob L says:

    Vintage tfbw and valuable truth. Benioff should read this. He’s a genius.

    Hey you always write about the solitary nature of a wood walk. What happens when you take someone with? Do you ever go with your wife or friends? Have you taken children? Just curious.