My son discovered a dead bird on our door step, a humming bird. So sad.
With my macabre daughter away for a week, I fully expected my wife to handle it when she got home. She’s the backup spider, unknown bug, weird caterpillar, and dead carcass removal expert in the household.
Not that we have a lot of carcass removal needs that would necessitate TWO experts. We don’t live in Texas. Or Montana. Or anywhere else near an Elks Lodge. It just happened to work out that way. Lucky, I guess. I understand most households only have one.
This separation of duties has been a long time understanding in our house. My daughter and wife handle insects and other uninvited non-human guests, living or dead. I keep things clean and my son sprays and poisons the crap out of the homestead to minimize the existence of such things to begin with. We all have our part.
So, I wasn’t prepared when she refused the job.
It’s not that I forgot that my wife is afraid of birds, it’s just that I didn’t think it would matter since it could no longer flap around and dive at her, or snap a beak at her face, or try to claw her eyes out. And I told her so.
And I am evil.
There’s probably an unexpected spider picture or STD poster in my near future.
My son and I are a bit squeamish about – well everything in this department – and looked at each other to determine if one of us was going to volunteer or if we could both live with a rotting bird corpse on the porch for a while until his sister returned. The stare down was a draw and inconclusive. I had no choice but to try and make my wife see reason.
“It’s a humming bird, not a vulture.” Silence. She moved into the kitchen as if the discussion were over. [Mental note: Antagonize people about their fears AFTER they have done the thing that you’re afraid to do.] I tried again, “I mean, it’s actually still kind of cute. Probably.” My son twitched. He was the only witness of the deceased, to date.
“Just use a shovel. You don’t have to touch it.” In my version, which this is, her eyes were dilated with fear as she rolled them in annoyance.
“Do we own a shovel?” I tried to picture it. If our shovel did exist it probably wasn’t purple. Or singing Xanadu.
“I don’t know,” she sounded exasperated now. “Most of the tools are yours.”
“Yeah, but you are one of the Carcass Removal Experts.” She apparently wasn’t aware there was an official title, which is probably why we shouldn’t move to the country. I decided this wasn’t the time to discuss it. I also wisely didn’t mention that shovels are most likely not considered tools.
My son had disappeared by this time. He had apparently decided he was okay with a rotting bird as long as he was kept out of it.
I tried again. “You work in a lab with gross stuff. You’ve probably got gloved hands in the most vile…”
“That’s different. It’s human material.”
“Human material?… Never mind.” I was beginning to feel a little ill. “Well, if we ever have an uninvited human corpse that’s been left on our door step I’ll make sure you’re immediately promoted to Carcass Removal Expert Primary.”
“Oh, we had to do dissections* in school…” she continued oblivious to her potential promotion.
I was now being ignored because she knew she had won.
I briefly thought about Amazon Prime’s promotion and pictured ordering something hideous that would appear on the doorstep. Something I intentionally invited. It gave me a false sense of control so I could prepare for the task at hand. Maybe a giant stuffed hawk. Or an eagle. Or something else with huge talons.
But, I’d probably have to remove that bird too. And sleep on the couch.
I did find a shovel (yellow handle, couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket) and after pushing the sad little thing against the side of the house, carried it away from the walkway. I admit that it wasn’t a big deal after all, although sad and gross, but I will not admit that the long beak was a little freaky or that I briefly pictured it coming to life and poking my eye out.
Regardless, I think we need to have a serious discussion about titles and readdress the distribution of duties around here.
P.S. My daughter will be getting a promotion to Carcass Removal Supreme Commander in humble recognition of her role an expertise. This whole thing would’ve been avoided had she been here.
*P.S.S. 7/27/15 My wife is just now reading this article, because that how much my writing interests her, and has corrected the word “dissection” to “assisted with autopsies” or something equally as gross.
P.S.S.S. She said she found another minor correction, but I just claimed poetic license. I’m beginning to think she only reads my posts to make sure she’s quoted properly.