Laughlines by William Thomas
I’ve started feeding seagulls near my house in hopes it’ll keep them from trying to kill me.
A few years ago in England a young boy lost a finger to a gull that was trying to steal his sausage roll. Then a retired fish and chip shop worker from Cornwall suffered gashes on the top of her head after being dive-bombed by several seagulls. Around that same time period, in separate incidents, British gulls were also blamed for the deaths of a Yorkshire Terrier and a pet tortoise. The situation was so bad, then Prime Minister David Cameron called for “a big conversation” to be held regarding the seaside pariahs.
Donald Weston wishes they’d held that conversation years ago. Donald was the operator of a car park in his hometown of Gloucester, England who became a prisoner in his own service hut, completely surrounded by one very nasty bird. For five summers in a row a seagull returned to the Wellington Street parking lot to make Donald’s workday a living, running-for-cover hell.
Donald believed the seagull which he named the Wellington Bomber, was the same bird he rescued from a nearby park when it was a chick. For his own safety, Donald put the chick in the trunk of his car and as a result the fully-grown gull hated him with a vengeance and tried, with all the weapons in his arsenal, to maim him every time he came out of his hut.
The bird spent every daylight moment perched on a chimney overlooking the parking lot and when Donald came into the open, the Wellington Bomber would attack from the air like a fighter jet, bombarding him with vomit and droppings. The seagull had a hurt on only for Donald. Regular patrons were never attacked and whenever Donald walked through the lot with another person, he was perfectly safe. But when he ventured out alone, anytime of the day, the gull would swoop down low with deadly accuracy, firing from both ends like a Mark 10 Lancaster bomber with a hooked nose cone.
Donald tried just about everything to keep his job and his head dry. For awhile he wore a motorcycle helmet but it didn’t fool the bird a bit. It just sort of cushioned the collateral damage. Donald even donned disguises but Dead-Eye-Dick, the Wellington Bomber nailed him every time. Then Donald went on a diet and an exercise regime in hopes of outrunning his archenemy, but in the end a bird in full flight proved faster than a Brit on the sprint.
“I was shattered last year when I had to run all over to get away from him,” said Donald. “I was limping all over the car park for weeks afterwards.”
Obviously Donald was running low on ideas as to how to continue in his job as parking lot attendant without returning home every evening looking like the newspaper that had spent the day at the bottom of the budgie cage. I’m sure he was tempted, but Donald never did put on a seagull suit, taken a perch higher than the Wellington Bomber and inflict the same double barrel punishment on him. In Biblical terms, this is known as “an eye for an eye, a toot for a toot.”
Years ago, Fabio the long-haired supermodel and full-time heartthrob was riding the “hypercoaster” at the Busch Gardens amusement park in Virginia when he was hit in the head by a goose. Fabio was there to promote the park’s Apollo Chariot and onboard for the inaugural ride. Hurtling toward earth at 73 mph, Fabio was hit in the face by a 10-pound goose. Fabio took the embarrassing accident rather well, appearing bloodied but cool throughout. But the ensuing mockery sort of killed his career.
Having read about all this bird stuff, you simply have to feel better about your job. Granted, your boss watches you like a hawk and the people you work with are a bunch of turkeys, but at least you’re not being stalked and abused by a schizophrenic seagull who’s trying to take the life of a parking lot attendant who saved his in the first place!?!
For comments and ideas, or a copy
of The Legend of Zippy Chippy,
go to www.williamthomas.ca