Vol. 3, Issue 3, February 1, 2005
Random Numbers for All Purposes

Getting a Bird's-eye View of Things

Ezekiel F. Watley, Esq.

There comes a Time in every man's Life, when he must confront a Fact that flies in the Face of his preconceived, comfortable world. It may be a fact of Societal proportions - coming to Grips, for example, with the decline in Fortunes of the East India Tea Company; or it may be a Small fact, seemingly Insignificant but Portentious nonetheless - observing that Red wine can go quite Nicely with Fish, for example. There was also the Time when I saw my nephew Ephram appear to give money to a Mendicant, a shocking act of Largesse which necessitated a Week's worth of Cogitation and philosophical Unrest for me (at least, until I realized that Ephram was merely Paying off his Bookie).

Lo, I find such a moment Upon me, as I gaze over the leaded bourgeois type of the Times, announcing that Men of Science have reluctantly concluded that many Birds are in fact rather Intelligent, perhaps as much so as Chimpanzees, or even my Nephew's cronies.

Now, most Birds to me have generally been rather like flying Flowers; aesthetic little Automatons, pursuing little plans engraved in their miniscule Skulls by the laws of Nature and Darwin. To ascribe the virtue of Thought to these little creatures is Discomfiting, if for no other Reason than that makes them active Observers, instead of mere passive Participants in the background.

You may ask what Difference this makes to the modern Business-man: to which I reply, well, None, in a practical sense. Birds are still not likely to Purchase items or seek Employment; some might run for political Office, but presumably no more than Currently (and, may I add, I find that the addition of a Puffin to the Alaskan Assembly has only Enhanced the effectiveness of that august body). Many will continue to be caught by Cats; others will continue to decorate our Statues and Monuments in their inimitable fashion. Some will steal Sand-wiches from my dozing Nephew.

But what a difference to the Thinking man! It is rather like finding that the Painting in the Dining-room lo these fifty years is in fact upside Down. It is also rather Illuminating, for my great-uncle Elijah had an ill-tempered Macaw for many a year that, some say, helped him Considerably when he was playing Cards. I always Discounted such tales, along with Elijah's timeworn anecdote about being rescued from a Turkish prison by virtue of his parrot managing to drug the guards and provide him with the Keys.

What a Delight it is to find that there is still so much to Discover in the world. Do excuse me however; some Sparrows are peering in the window in the vicinity of my Cheque-book.

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