FROM OCTOBER 25, 2010
My dad gave me more than just fatherly love and guidance. He also gave me the likelihood of developing disgusting black old-man moles on my body. He had them. Now I have them. They are harmless, and I’ve had them checked out, so don’t worry. But I have one of those damned things in a very prominent spot on my left shin. I wouldn’t mind that so much, but the flaky, scaly and extremely white skin the man also gave me makes that mole really stand out visually. You may think this is too much for you to know about me, but it is important to the rest of the story.
You see, I was in Clearwater Beach, Florida a few years ago with some friends. We were there on business and took a break to enjoy a sun-filled lunch on a warm patio at the restaurant next door to the hotel. The four of us sat at a table near the patio bar with a view of the white sand and calm and beautiful water of the Gulf of Mexico.
We were all wearing shorts. I noticed several pigeons – not seagulls, pigeons – walking around that section of the restaurant. They were scavenging food scraps from sloppy eaters. It was a tad troubling. But I put it out of my mind, crossed my legs under the table and focused on the menu. A few moments later, I noticed from the corner of my eye one of those pigeons walking toward our table. I was a bit uncomfortable about it, but I continued with the menu. Then I noticed that same pigeon walking under our table. I couldn’t figure out why it chose our table. We had no food yet. What the hell was he after? I don’t know. Maybe the sucker thought it was Cajun blackened humus or something, but the dammed fowl went right for that mole on my left leg. I was quick to react and very clever in explaining to my friends what was going on.
“That damned pigeon is going for my mole,” I said.
The laughter from the other three scared the poor bird away. But I was relieved. I have had run-ins with birds before. Birds hate me. I don’t know why. But they do.
Years before Clearwater, about a week after Christmas, I was in Miami for the Blockbuster or Car Quest Bowl or something. The afternoon before the game, those in our party and I decided to kill some time by going to the matinee at the horse track near the hotel where we were staying. We parked the car in an almost empty parking lot. The lot consisted of acres and acres of pavement and tall light poles. The few cars that were there were spread and scattered. If old ghost towns had parking lots, this one would have qualified. I was wearing a brand new navy blue golf shirt someone had given me as a Christmas gift the week before. We were making the long walk through the quiet and empty lot to the main gate at the track, when all of a sudden a single but huge and disgusting splat of seagull waste hit the right shoulder of my brand new navy blue golf shirt. Keep in mind, this was a single seagull, flying over acres and acres of pavement, a half dozen cars, and, from the gull’s perspective, three tiny people. Yet that seagull found MY shoulder.
Alright, so maybe I haven’t had it as bad as Rod Taylor and Tippy Hedren, but if Hitchcock had known me in 1963, “The Birds” surely would have been a comedy.