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The War on Birds
Peter Tatara - May 6, 2007

I spent last weekend at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, taking in the annual Sakura Matsuri festival. Sakura Matsuri is a Japanese tradition held every spring as the country's cherry trees come into bloom. It's a beautiful event that, in simplest possible terms, is about getting blitzed with friends on rice wine as cherry petals rain down.

It was a bit cold this year, meaning not all the cherry trees had opened, but there were enough to paint the clouds and garden with a layer of pink. And under the half-blooming cherry trees, I met up with Lord Omnicock, had a delightful dinner with a Japanese woman who pronounced lobster as "robster," was introduced to a bombastic martial arts performance troupe called Samurai Sword Soul, and fell in love with happyfunsmile, an Okinawan pop group for some reason based out of NYC. Happyfunsmile does electric covers of folk songs and enka, and it really shouldn't possibly work, but through an alchemy of pluck, bravado, and a pink-haired lead singer in a lolita kimono, happyfunsmile pulls it off with style.

It was a great day. Mostly. But, beyond the robsters, samurai, and techno enka, Sakura Matsuri featured something else, too. Birds. And one crapped on my head. You get used to the perpetual snowfall of pink and the soft pitter-patter on your head, so when a bird dropped a bomb atop me, at first I thought it was just a big-ass cherry blossom. But after five seconds of paying it no mind, I decided to run my hand over my head. Crap. Lots of it.

I explained to Lord Omnicock that I needed to find a restroom; however, after 20 minutes, neither of us were able to fine one without a 20 minute wait. So, sighing, I pushed through another line, this one for decently-priced bento boxes, and grabbed a handful of napkins. Then, I unglamorously wiped the bird crap from my hair. Or mashed it deeper into my scalp. Either way, eventually, as I combed my hair with napkins, the shit stains ceased.

Now, looking back at Sakura Matsuri, I must say that the bird crap is the single black spot on an otherwise stellar weekend, and I cannot allow this to be. For, as I've previously stated, I'm smitten with happyfunsmile, but I can't have my mind wander over to avian feces every time I listen to Boukyo Jyonkara.

So, colleagues, friends, and secret admirers, I am declaring a War on Birds. It has been a long while since I've had a decent rival, and I think the entire bird kingdom is a suitable match for me.

What can you do to help? Kick pigeons? That won't work because they're too quick and will just fly away. Feed bread laced with nightshade to ducks? No, I still like ducks even though they technically are birds. No, what I'd like you all to do is eat more chicken. A lot more chicken. If you eat enough, eventually chickens will go extinct. Then, we'll move on to the next species of bird. From there, we do the exact same thing, eating geese, parrots, and bluebirds to death, until every species has been eradicated. Except ducks.

Now, I'm a vegetarian, and I'm normally opposed to the slaughter and eating of animals, but I'll make an exception here. So, please, make yourself some fried chicken tonight, chicken salad for lunch tomorrow, and then some chicken soup for tomorrow night's supper.

Can't pack in that much chicken? Nonsense! My girlfriend, who hates when I write about her, eats a sickening amount of chicken, and I've always questioned this until now. Now, I'm encouraging her to have second and third helpings for the war effort.

I expect nothing less from you.

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