Tues., April 10, 42 A.B.

Of Roosters, Bones, & Gilbert O'Sullivan

From where I'm sitting right now I can hear a rooster in the distance.
It's sort of like hearing a train in the distance, only the rooster never
seems to get any louder or softer the way trains do when they're
moving closer or farther away.  I just hope there's no engineer
riding the rooster, frantically trying to pull its whistle before some
car driver accidentally pulls in front of it.

This is the only area I've ever lived in which has shown any evidence
of rooster infestation.  It's kinda neat, since the rooster seems to be
at least 4 lots to my west, but at the same time it's also kinda worrisome
since I don't exactly live in the country.  Upon hearing the rooster, it's
consequently kinda hard to avoid wondering who owns it and why.  I
suppose I could go in search of the owner and ask, but... well, it's hard
to imagine the way this conversation might begin and end.  "Excuse me,
Sir, but I was just wondering - do you harbor cock-a-doodle-dooing
fowl on your property, in your house, or on your person?"  It would
take a braver man than I to ask that of someone I wasn't legally
married to, or at least seriously dating....

They don't actually cock-a-doodle-doo, you know.  I've given the
many replays and reprises of the sound much consideration, and I've
come to the conclusion that it's more of a "ERK-a-ERK-a-ERRRRR!"
And they don't "ERK-a-ERK-a-ERRRRR!" only at dawn, either.  In
fact, as near as I can tell, they'll "ERK-a-ERK-a-ERRRRR!" any time
they please so long as I'm not expecting it.

And it's not the "ERK-a-ERK-a-ERRRRR!" itself that threatens to drive
me crazy.  It's waiting for the next one to erupt that keeps me on edge
and threatens to reduce me to a quivering mass of -

THERE!  Did you hear it?!  Did you hear it?!?!

It's almost as if the beast knows I'm an egg eater!

Someday some mad genetic engineer is going to put the rooster's
vocal genes into the mosquito and we're all going to be spending our
summer evenings swatting away little swarming insects that
"ERK-a-ERK-a-ERRRRR!" at odd times instead of buzz.  In the end,
we'll all run off the cliff or into deep water for relief.

And that'll be how the world ends...  Not with a bang or a whimper but one
to many "ERK-a-ERK-a-ERRRRR!"'s


In other news... I've been finding odd things in my yard this week.

Yesterday, as I was coming back from my detached garage (23 paces
to the north of my back door, it will be recalled), my eye spotted a little
black round plastic thingee in the ground.  The base for a solar-powered
garden light that I threw away several years ago after discovering that
a full day of sunlight was only sufficient to cause the thing to glow for
about a half hour after dark.  The thing is, I thought I'd thrown this
thingee away years ago, right along with the light it supported.  No reason
to leave it behind, after all.  And I'm certain that I've looked at the spot
I found it in every day ever since I threw the light away without ever spotting this little black round plastic thingee before.

Weird.  That's what it is.  Weird weird weird.

I just stood and looked at it.  Had I really missed seeing the thing in all
my walks past it?  Had I really somehow not seen it despite cutting and
trimming the grass all around it at least 50 times since throwing out the
light it supported?  Not likely.  Yet was it likelier that someone had
surreptitiously put this black round plastic thingee back in the ground
just to confuse me?  Who?  Where did they get the thingee?  How did
they know where to put it?  Why did they return it yesterday?

The mind boggles. (And yes - my mind boggles in italics.  Get over it.)

Thank goodness I have those annoyingly  irregular "ERK-a-ERK-a-ERRRRR!"'s to distract me every so often....

And today a bone.

I was walking up the drive (65 paces from back door to street, it will be recalled) when I spotted what looked to be a human vertebra lying in
the grass at the base of a maple tree.  Closer examination revealed
it to be old and weathered and a bit chewed upon, but as for where it
might have come from - nothing.  No return address was written on it,
no passport could be retrieved from its interior recesses, no amount
of interrogation could compel it to spill its guts (so to speak).

Are you missing a vertebra?  Can you describe what the one you're
missing looks like?  Any distinguishing characteristics?  Any name
it might answer to?

I'll be here all day tomorrow.  Give me a call.

Even if this vertebra doesn't turn out to be yours, your call will still help
me pass the time while I'm waiting for the next "ERK-a-ERK-a-ERRRRR!"
to upset my equilibrium.

And if I don't answer on the first ring, don't worry - I'll answer on the

After all, it's not as if I'm going to be going outside or anything.

Not until the police apprehend whoever is putting strange things in my
yard while I sleep....


Wouldn't it be bizarre if it turns out to be the same person who put the
odd song in my head the other day?

It's a song I woke up with Sunday morning.  In fact, the song popped up
the day before the black round plastic thingee.  Coincidence?  Riiight....

I've spent a lot of time since trying to recall the name of this song, but I can't.  I'm not even sure of the words.  In fact, all I really have is a brief
snippet of notes, the rhythm of which is more or less captured in this

Back street girls...
Reclining under Western skies.

It's a half-jaunty/half-mellow sort of tune which I thought at first might have
been written by Gilbert O'Sullivan.  So I spent part of yesterday on
Amazon, sampling as many O'Sullivan songs as I could.  Not "Alone
Again (Naturally)" nor "Clair" because I knew the tune in my head
wasn't either of those, but by the time I was done "Clair" WAS in my
head - which naturally pretty much rendered me worthless for the
rest of the day.  It didn't help that I'd read a bio of O'Sullivan in hopes
of coming across a helpful title.  Poor Gilbert.  One more of those
guys who was taken advantage of by his manager, sued, won, and
then never had another hit...  I just don't understand why life for so
many of us amounts to 5 years of glory and then 30 years of
wondering where it all went....

Last night the focus shifted to Al Stewart.  The tune in my head wasn't
"Time Passages" or "Year of the Cat" but it was kinda like those, and
a new bout of Amazon sampling made it clear that Stewart's voice
matched the one on my head much better than O'Sullivan did.  But once
again, I ended up frustrated.  First because no song of his matched
the one in my head, and second because his "Song on the Radio"
got stuck in my head instead.

"You're on my mind like a song on the radio...."

I hadn't heard that sucker in years - maybe decades - and suddenly
I could hear nothing else.

Except the occasional "ERK-a-ERK-a-ERRRRR!" of course.

This morning, as I pondered the human vertabra in my yard, it hit me:
The song that I'd been wondering about might have been sung by some
minor '80s group.  I now suspect that the snippet that's been replaying in my head was subconsciously picked up from a TV ad I heard years ago for a "Hits of the '80s!" collection.

Alas, an Amazon search through the hits of the '80s failed to provide
any match.

But I know have a burning desire to sing "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" forever and ever.

Which is odd, since I didn't come across that one once while searching Amazon.

Maybe my desire to escape those "ERK-a-ERK-a-ERRRRR!"'s is
reaching pathological proportions??

Bah.  It's always something, isn't it?

                              Back            Home            Next

(©Now and Now and NOW by DJ Birtcher in an attempt to take his mind
              off the all-too-brief career of those Men at Work guys)