Monday, February 23, 2015

To Kill a Mockingbird

Recently, the literary world was set all a twitter.

It was announced that author Harper Lee was about to publish another book. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I had never taken the time to read her classic, To Kill A Mockingbird.

This should come as no surprise to readers of this blog, who know that I may be the most poorly-read writer on the planet. I'm doing my best to correct this. And, upon the advice of my friend George, have recently discovered the talents of Joseph Mitchell.

I'm also making my way through some David Sedaris.

But there are so many good writers, real writers, that it's hard to know where to start. Plus, there's this nagging, time-eating business of making a living and penning all sorts of sordid corporate poetry (anthems and manifestos) to keep food on my table.

In any case I made it a point to pick up Harper Lee's seminal work and was hugely disappointed.

Allow me to elaborate.

Two weeks ago, I was awakened by the sound of a bird (I had not determined its breed yet) who set up shop in the Eucalyptus tree right outside my bedroom window. He started singing at 3:27 AM.

And he NEVER stopped.
Not once.

I came out of the shower, he was still going at it.
I poured a cup of coffee, he was still singing.
I came home from work that night, and this nuclear-powered Energizer bunny of a bird was still chirping away.

The next night, I did not fare any better. At 1:30 AM I grabbed the long aluminum pole thingamajig that I use to open the skylight in my house, ran out side and started slapping the tree. He flew away and came back five minutes later.

Five and half minutes later he was singing.

I ran outside again, clad only in my tight whities -- a la Walter White (pictured above) -- and grabbed a bag of my Kingsford Match Light Instant Charcoal Briquets from my garage. There I stood, illuminated only by the Malibu lights in my garden, throwing these coal nuggets at the highest branches of the tree. Hoping not only to scare the bugger away, but also for a direct shot to the noggin.

I'm an animal lover but this bastard has kept me awake for a fortnight.

Naturally, I turned to the Internet to investigate further. Turns out, I have a bonafide mockingbird in my tree.

I discovered that it is a male mockingbird, in search of a mate.

And like its human brethren, will go to great lengths to "satisfy the urge." Research indicates the mockingbird will continue for weeks, months if necessary, to sing and sing and sing and sing. Until he gets his nut. Or until I call a Realtor.

Whichever comes first.

And that's what drove me to the bookstore. You can imagine my surprise to find that Harper Lee's, "To Kill a Mockingbird" was a tale of racial persecution in the South and not an instruction manual for the disposal of aviary pests.

This is why I don't read more often. Authors are too fond of their own cleverness. And subtext. And symbolism. And obfuscation.

I don't like obfuscation.
Particularly when I'm running on such little shut-eye.


Cecil B. DeMille said...

You bought, "To Kill a Mockingbird" but you were looking for "How to Kill a Mockingbird."

Pro-tip: A cat works wonders. A BB rifle is even better, and will not crap in your yard.

Conor said...

Wait until you hear the not so dulcet tones of the Asian Koel waking you up at 5.30 every. fucking. morning. And the bastard is apparently a protected species so you're stuck with it.