I’m pretty easy-going most of the time. I don’t tend to take things amiss. Still and all the same, there are things I believe friends should not do to each other. To take an example, I do not think friends should poop on each other’s heads.

Our personal crows, currently numbering four, are definitely our friends. We have a whole routine that involves swooping and chuckling and general conversation. Someone might land on the gutter and someone might toss a peanut. If we go for a walk we are greeted effusively when we come back. If we don’t notice our friends right away one of them will dip low in front of us at chest height. As a more or less direct result, I find two or three peanuts in the washer drum after every load of laundry I do. Our crows do not mind them pre-rinsed. It saves them the trouble of sludging up the bird baths every day with debris.

And so it was I did notice the main swooper, DooDah, whacket her way up to the power line, and I looked up at her and asked her if she wanted a peanut—I knew perfectly well she did, and it’s not that I think she should have to ask, but yeah, it kind of is—and we had a little back and forth and then I felt an unmistakable bloop and a creamy slithering on top of my head. Courtesy of Dickens, who was apparently directly above me.

Birds strafe Dave rather often. They’re not all the super judges of character they’re made out to be. They’re aggravated by his height. But it had been a long time since that had happened to me. Which is odd, because there are a lot of birds in the world, and not a single one of them is backed up. Birds are savants about pooping, even the ones who favor processed Frankenfoods from the Burger King parking lot.

Most animals are adept poopers. Even wombats, who poop cubes, never seem to get a corner of a turd hung up. I am told domestic felines may suffer from constipation or even obstipation, which is constipation so severe that the cat may develop a single petrified and stationary turd the entire length of the colon, which is fortunately not as big a deal as it was with Elvis Presley, who had a longer colon and a worse diet and probably some things to atone for. Dogs, on the other hand, usually have little such difficulty even though their diet might include random dead things, cat vomit, rubber toys, and an overcoat, although they might appreciate a little tug on the sleeve as it emerges.

Birds are fine.

But I thought Dickens was my friend, and counted on him to follow the first rule of friends: Don’t poop on your friends.

My first cat, (Saint) Larry, never had any digestive issues to speak of, unless you count a propensity for dropping a dookie wherever she happened to be when it the mood struck, and this was more of a housekeeping issue than a digestive issue. She did, however, fart. You never heard it. You just became aware, while she was on your lap, of an encroachment in the air space, a sudden tiny olfactory intrusion on your serenity, an ephemeral fug that passed into oblivion just as quickly. “What’s the matter?” Dave would ask, when my face pleated up.

“Larry…relaxed,” I’d say.

That’s what she did. She wasn’t pushing an agenda. Her sphincter just loosened up. She was radiating contentment. All over.

I think that’s what happened with Dickens, too. I certainly don’t think he meant anything by it. I like to think that the whole Dickens and DooDah clan is relaxed around us.

Just not above us.


A note for dear Amy, who’s sick with the cooties:
We send all our love, and a buttload of Pootie’s.