Bored Summers, “Birds of Prey” and Mind-sprites

Earlier this afternoon, I recalled a peculiar science experiment I had done when I was young and bored one summer. I’m not sure why it popped into my head today. Nothing out of the ordinary was going on; I was outside eating a bit of cheese and *POOF* memory recollection!!! Perhaps it was the cheese. Perhaps it was staring idly at the asphalt. Perhaps it’s just because my mind is odd and it likes to bring random memories to the surface for no other reason beyond, “Hey, check it out!” It could be, somewhere in the recesses of my brain, there’s a mind-sprite whose sole job it is to hit the “Random Memory” button, package it up and send it, racing, to my conscious self. There, it’s opened up by another mind-sprite who used to be the proud guardian of such things, deciding what was actually remembered and what was sent back, partly as quality control and partly to keep me from remembering some tragic thing I’ve long since buried. Unfortunately, the conscious-level mind-sprite has become lax in his duties. You see, he’s closer to retirement now and cares slightly less with each day that passes. I’m also fairly certain CL mind-sprite lets the “Random Shower Song” through without even bothering to check it and is probably in cahoots with whichever mind-sprite is in charge of such things. (I actually don’t mind this so much as I always have a new song pop into my head for each shower. It’s a nice little surprise in the morning.)

And so, an odd memory gets through. Officially remembered.

This particular memory was that of bird-watching. Specifically, a friend and I would often see birds circling overhead. Before I learned about thermals, I’d assumed they were circling prey upon which they would soon feed. This assumption was based on my “vast” knowledge and experience watching one too many nature shows at a tender and impressionable age. If I recall correctly (assuming Q&A mind-sprites aren’t on strike), I think they might’ve been buzzards but they might just as well have been crows. (They were large, black birds in South Florida.)

At some point, we had the clever idea to become the prey. My imagination and burgeoning critical thinking skills got to pondering the problem. “Well” rationalized younger me “if they circle prey, they’re attracted to smell. We need something smelly.” I told my friend. Clearly it had to be something meaty as decomposing critters were, well, meat. A quick dash home to check the contents of the refrigerator revealed liverwurst and hard salami. “Perfect!” (To those of you who aren’t familiar with liverwurst – some times referred to as braunschweiger – it’s actually quite tasty with some mustard on rye bread. But it might be one of those “acquired tastes” I grew up with.)

Piling numerous slices of greasy deli meat into my hands, I hurried back to my friend Mike’s place. We strategically scattered the odiferous meat around the perimeter of a rough oval. In this oval, we would lay in wait. The hot, humid Florida summer would work its magic and we would be up close and personal with . . . something. So, we laid there. Silently. Pretending to be dead things. Carrion awaiting it’s transition into a meal for a passing scavenger. The meat heated up. We heated up. The meat baked. We baked. We played “I spy” games to pass the time. Finally, a black dot appeared over head. And another. And another. A half dozen birds came slowly circling, attracted by the smell and potential feast before them.

Adrenaline kicked in. Our grand experiment had worked. SCIENCE!!! The buzzards circled closer. We laid there as silently as we could. The buzzards circled ever closer. I could see their eyes. Holy crap the buzzards were close. [Okay. Don’t panic.] My inner monologue tried to reassure me. [It’s not like they’re going to peck your eyeballs out.] Sunnova! My inner monologue was failing miserably at instilling me with confidence.

“Um, Mike. They’re getting kind of close. You want to . . .”
“Yeah. I think we better.”

Science experiment successfully concluded, we instantly came back to life (from the birds’ point of view, I’m sure that was the somewhat startling case) and began flailing our arms in an attempt to convey that we were not, in fact, viable food sources at this time.

The buzzards scattered. The meat continued to rot and we went on to our next adventure. I don’t quite recall what said adventure was but I’m sure RM mind-sprite will drudge it up and send it to CL mind-sprite at some point. If CL mind-sprite hasn’t retired, I’m sure he’ll blindly let it through. If only to mess with me. I’m kind of glad he did. This time.