I Know Why The Wild Crow Squawks

by Jerrold Soh | Aug 1, 2013 | 1407 views
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Author's note: Because I am inevitably a sucker for the literary, I wrote this originally in a far more difficult to understand and maybe even counter-intuitive style, before deciding to do the world a favour and introduce some proper paragraphing. But because it is substantially different in meaning and delivery, and because I like the previous version so much, I've added it at the bottom of the page for those who, like me, are slightly insane.


A crow perched next to another on a tree branch turns to the other and begins:

I just don’t get it.

Get what? says the other crow.

The unfairness, the discrimination, the humans.

What unfairness? the other crow remarks, barely suppressing a smile.

Don’t you think it’s a whole lot of injustice how we’re treated like pests and vermin? I mean, we don’t spread diseases or make people’s lives lousy in any way, we’re just living our lives and trying to get by on leftover food. And we have to face all of that dislike and hate…I just don’t get it.

Everything has a reason, says the other crow. We do indeed have quite the reputation for making things dirty.

Well, they’re not exactly cleaning up the planet either.

Still, you can’t deny our droppings have been clinically proven to carry bacteria and effect meningitis.

Show me droppings that are clean, says the crow.

That does not matter. It’s what people think.

That’s not true at all, I’m sure you know only some of us do it irresponsibly.

Some?

Well I don’t.

I’m afraid, though, that what you do doesn’t stand for your entire species. But what my species does doesn’t stand for me. The truth is, though, that the truth doesn’t matter. Only what people see does.

Does it? says the crow.

Then show me a bird that’s potty trained.

Well you’ll be surprised. Some of the birds in the aviaries are proficient at controlling and directing their rectal outputs.

Aviaries? You know, bird parks? And why should those birds be in parks and taught manners when we’re not? Why should they be admired, photographed and fed? Well…we’re not exactly a gorgeous species. Why…because we’re black? They don’t even discriminate against their own dark skinned people any more why do they still hate us?

You’re not making any sense. There’s no way we can compete with the canaries with their sweet voices and the exotic and beautiful flamingoes, said the other crow, even their names sound better. Then we should change our names entirely if that’s what matters - how about Corvus? That won’t make us any more beautiful.

Well isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder? Yes but human eyes are human eyes. And isn’t beauty only skin deep? Eyes aren’t X-rays my dear. It’s a wonder if they can even see beyond clothes.

Then what’s the point of those proverbs if there’s really only one way of seeing things? Well, in this case, ‘beholder’ would refer to the set of all humans, and substituting that definition for the group referred back into the saying allows it to continue functioning – at least semantically. Okay…I can’t argue with that logic, but surely we have something that makes us special right…every birdy’s special! Like what?

For one, said the crow proudly, we’ve got one of the highest IQs for birds. The use is that when all it does is make you conceive such meaningless thoughts over things that matter little and serve only to make you feel miserable? But isn’t there a value in thinking and being right? Not when everyone still hates you. Anyway, better not to know people hate you since you can’t change one bit of it. Ignorance, feigned or actual, is, after all, the only path to bliss. But…but thinking about it is supposed to help you change that! Has your thinking helped? No, but that doesn’t mean it’s no good.

Doesn’t it? says the other crow.

Don’t throw my questions back at me, says the crow. I am merely doing it to show you how your argument is invalid, says the other. Well all I’m trying to say is it’s unfair how it’s like this just because we’re not brightly coloured or pleasant sounding. Even some black birds are admired, you know, they wrote a whole poem about the ravens. Well that one wasn’t very flattering. It wasn’t but it meant something because the raven was black enough and happened to be gently rapping at the right time - you know how they like rapping.

You mean to say we aren’t even black enough? asks the other crow, slightly perturbed.

Do you see how ridiculous that is now, said the crow, even the pigeons have a purpose. What’s that? They’re eaten. Oh that’s not very good is it? Being eaten is better than being nothing, never more. I guess we’re just born crows so accept it. That still doesn’t mean we should be hated - you shouldn’t judge a bird for what it cannot choose right? That only applies to humans. What about animal rights? You only give animal rights with no humans left.

But don’t you think there’s something wrong with this…injustice? Unfairness? Says the crow. Well maybe, but what I think isn’t going to change things, so I’d rather choose not to care, think, or feel. Doing those things take effort. But it’s about our entire species! The entire species doesn’t stand for me.

Doesn’t it? says the crow.

Take a look around you and tell me if it does…try to make some sense will you, the other crow says as it begins pecking on a piece of bread it had been holding in its left foot. Things don’t always have to be logical. I just have a strong feeling that this is all wrong and unfair. And why should you care? Because they’re hating us for no reason. Doesn’t matter if we still get fed. How about when they start shooting at us sometimes? Well you haven’t been shot have you?

And those who have?

Presently the other crow empties its bowels squarely down below and flies off, saying,

Caring isn’t curing.


For the slightly less rational readers...

One day a crow walks up to another and begins:

I just don’t get it. Get what? Says the other crow. The unfairness, the discrimination, the humans. What unfairness the other crow remarks. Don’t you think it’s a whole lot of injustice how we’re treated like pests and vermin I mean we don’t spread diseases or make people’s lives miserable in any way we’re just living our lives and trying to get by living on leftover food and we have to face all of that dislike and hate. Everything has a reason says the other crow we tend to leave droppings all over the place and they cause meningitis. Show me droppings that are clean says the crow. I mean why they dislike us is because we have a reputation for making things dirty. Well they’re not exactly cleaning up the planet either. It doesn’t matter it’s what people think of us. That’s not true at all I’m sure you know only some of us defecate irresponsibly. Some? Well I don’t. What you do doesn’t stand for your entire species. But what my species does doesn’t stand for me. That might be true but the truth is though that the truth doesn’t matter only what people see does. Does it? Says the crow.

Show me a bird that’s potty trained the crow continues. Well you’ll be surprised I think some of the birds in the aviaries do know when and where to go. And why should those birds be in aviaries and taught manners when we’re not why should they be admired photographed and fed? Well…we’re not exactly a beautiful species. Why because we’re black they don’t even discriminate against their own dark skinned people any more why do they still hate us? You’re not making any sense there’s no way we can compete with the canaries with their sweet voices and the exotic and beautiful flamingoes said the other crow even their names sound better. Then we should change our names entirely if that’s what matters how about Corvus? That won’t make us any more beautiful. Well isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder? Yes but human eyes are human eyes. Beauty is only skin deep. Eyes aren’t X-rays. Then what’s the point of those proverbs if there’s really only one way of seeing things. Well it works if you define beholder as the entire group of humans. Okay I can’t argue with that but surely we have something that makes us special right every birdy’s special. Like what? For one, said the crow proudly, we’re at the top of the avian IQ scale. The use is that when all it does is make you think such meaningless thoughts over things that don’t matter and make you feel bad. But isn’t there value in thinking and being right? Not when everyone still hates you anyway it’s better to not know people hate you since you can’t change any of it. But…but thinking about it is supposed to help you change that! Has your thinking helped? No, but that doesn’t mean it’s no good. Doesn’t it? Says the other crow.

Stop throwing my questions back at me says the crow. I’m just doing it to show you how you’re not making any sense says the other. Well all I’m trying to say is it’s unfair how it’s like this just because we’re not brightly coloured or pleasant sounding even some black birds are admired you know they wrote a whole poem about the ravens. Well that one wasn’t very flattering. It wasn’t but it meant something because the raven was black enough and happened to be gently rapping at the right time you know how they like rapping. So you mean we aren’t even black enough? Says the other crow. Do you see how ridiculous that is now said the crow even the pigeons have a purpose. What’s that? They’re eaten. Oh that’s not very good is it? Being eaten is better than being nothing, never more. We’re just born as crows so accept it. That still doesn’t mean we should be marginalized I mean you shouldn’t judge a bird for what it cannot choose right? That only applies to humans. What about animal rights. You only give animal rights with no humans left. But don’t you think there’s something wrong with this…injustice? Unfairness? Says the crow. Well maybe, but what I think or feel isn’t going to change things so I’d rather choose not to care think or feel doing those things take effort. It’s about our entire species! The entire species doesn’t stand for me. Doesn’t it? Says the crow.

Take a look around you and tell me if it does…try to make some sense will you the other crow says as it begins pecking on a piece of bread. Things don’t always have to be logical I just have a strong feeling that this is all wrong and unfair. And why should you care? Because they’re hating us for no reason. Doesn’t matter we still get fed. How about when they start shooting at us sometimes? Well you haven’t been shot have you? And those who have?

Presently the other crow empties its bowels squarely down below and flies off saying, Caring isn’t Curing.

(with some apologies to Maya Angelou)

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