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August 24, 2015 12:00 PM

Friends, I’d like to be honest with you.

The strain of gazing deep into the bird-byss, the bird-void, the deep uncaring nothingness that is bird-kind, week after week here at Birds That Fill Me with a Vague but Persistent Dread is real. And it’s beginning to take a toll on me.

To paraphrase a fictional version of Werner Herzog: “Every bird is like a brickbat against my soul.”

But I will not waver in this quest. Not when there are still birds out there that need to be exposed for what they are – particularly the bird pictured above. Now, I don’t think I’m telling any tales out of school to let everyone know that seagulls are truly a garbage animal – simply a bifurcated knife-mouth attached to a gross food sack and some beady, hateful eyes, all supported by clawed flyswatters instead of feet – but what we have here, in this particular seagull, photographed in Brighton, England, is truly the worst of the lot.

Friends, I want you to understand my process, what I go through when writing this column. I want you to understand. I want you to know the Dread.

Gaze into this bird’s eyes. Look at the deep well of spite and venom that comprises its very being. Acknowledge the jaunty cut of its jib, how proud it is to walk among us God-fearing mammals unencumbered; ready, willing and able to take without giving in return. Food, peace of mind, time, our very lives themselves – where does its avarice abut against common decency? Where will it end?

Now, on the other side of the journey, do you fear the seagull? Are you slightly colder sitting in your office chair? Do you feel a slight tingle at the back of your neck? Are your palms sweating? Perhaps a single tear has rolled down your cheek, unbidden.

Look there on your desk. Is that a feather? No? My mistake. It must just have been a trick of the light.

Yes, only a trick of the light, and nothing more. I’m sure of it.

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