It’s Saturday so I can write anything that I want. I can forget my petty political complaints and my other homegrown woes and let my imagination take flight. But my imagination feels like one of those sad stricken pelicans dying to be deep-fried in the Gulf of Mexico but nobody will turn the gas up so it’s a slow pitiful death smothering in Earth’s leaking lard. Yes, the wings of my imagination are as aerodynamic as a couple of old two-by-fours that have been soaking in motor oil in Redd Foxx’s garage since the Wright Brothers. To see me try and flap them, well, it’s a pitiful picture sad as a saint in rehab. It makes you think of the tortured eyes of crippled or starving children and innocent animals whose only crime is that they were once somebody’s pet waiting for an excuse or your donation and makes you believe that the noble act of dying is more significant than death itself.
Oh, I forgot, it’s Saturday. The news cycle is supposed to be coasting. All bills are put on hold until Monday. It’s time to party. Yes, I remember the good old days when a pelican could hit the mainland on a Saturday night and drink as many as his bill could hold then glide home to the soft, friendly marshes where a bad landing is nearly impossible no matter how much fuel you have on board. Those were the days. The days when a coon-ass or a pelican could make an honest living pulling a few oysters from the bay. Now BP is trying to hire all of the pelicans. They are very useful in skimming operations plus they are surprisingly absorbent. In fact, if you have a certain number of pelicans on your payroll, there are lucrative tax benefits. You’ve seen that dying pelican blowing grease bubbles on YouTube or CNN? He’s working for BP. He won’t live to talk about it but his family is in witness protection and will be relocated to a happy suburb where endangered species live side by side and learn their history from cable TV.
Then I drew a cartoon of a pelican. No, it wasn’t a harmless Disney or Daffy Duck Warner kind of cartoon but a menacing hyper-realistic Marvel pelican with a bill that can stretch big enough to hold an oil tanker. He’ll have a superhero name like Power Pelican or Dark Pelican or Mad Pelican. We haven’t decided yet if he’s to be good guy or a bad guy. Will he be a crusader for Truth, Ecology and the American Way or will he be the fowl and greasy nemesis of progress and corporate honor? Or do they even care in Disneyland where they are, even now, constructing bigger, better, whiter beaches where the only sharks and tarballs are auto-animatronic parts of the thrill ride which is fully approved by the Thrill Ride Safety Agency, owned by the same parent company, Black Lagoon, LLC, incorporated in Somalia. It’s an evil syndicate, more entrenched than the masons or mormons or the miscreant descendants of the Knights Templar or the KGB. It’s an organization so secret that most of its members don’t believe that it exists. But The Pelican knows. Let’s just call him The Pelican. It’s simple, elegant, natural. You can attach any moral value you choose to it. You could see the pelican as an heroic and doomed creature struggling for survival like a child fascinated by the rainbows that gasoline makes in a street puddle. We could draw the pelican eyes more like Bambi stunned in the headlights. Nah, the Bambi thing just shouts ‘Victim.’ We need a more pro-active pelican, a pelican with entrepreneurial spirit. We need pelicans who will open their own small businesses and create jobs, trust in the free market for their survival. It’s just a cartoon, right?
There are millions of angry pelicans out there. Well, thousands. They are angry as a hushpuppy when it first hits the deep fryer. I don’t know much about pelican politics but they seem angry enough to join the Teaparty Movement. Pelican Power may still be just a dream but pelican empowerment is growing like clicks on YouTube. My crazy aunt is a Teabagger. She goes to the rallies and buys the T shirts and waves the banners. Thinks that Glenn Beck is the sexiest intellectual since Oral Roberts. She is even putting a pelican through college. She signed up for it through a commercial on Fox News. Every month she gets a picture of an earnest young pelican toiling over his school books which she likes to imagine that she purchased for her $19.95 per month. Aunt Tilly doesn’t know Ayn Rand from Rand Paul and she thinks Libertarian is a furniture period. But she loves her some pelicans. She thinks that all furry or feathered creatures should have an even chance within the confines of the Second Amendment. And she hates to see it when all the Dawn detergent in the world won’t scrub the pelican as clean as her soul every Sunday after Rev. Schuller rinses her slogans with his homilies. Clear as the Crystal Cathedral which is so spacious and magnificent, where they can turn live pelicans loose and let them fly around above the congregation to demonstrate the upward movement of the soul as the trumpets swell in a million Teabagger homes across America. Those pelicans have an easy gig. It’s clean, you might even say it was a gravy gig. To birds, a gravy gig is one that doesn’t involve gravy. Pelicans are no different even though most pelicans look upon themselves as a cut above your average game or table bird. Pelicans have a purpose, after all. In the world of avian symbolism, pelicans with their ungainly grace and their ingenious adaptation are unique and peculiar. They don’t need to donate their meat or feathers, but simply by existing and avoiding the humiliation of extinction they fill their role.
So, it’s Saturday night and old Lightning Rod is sitting in a bar and in walks a pelican, sez, “Just flew in from New Orleens and boy are my wings greasy.” He ordered Dawn detergent on the rocks with a back of Everclear. Pelicans don’t hold their booze well and before you know it he’s telling me about how the stork stole the Pamper’s gig from him and how nobody appreciates the things that pelicans go through and how he’s got a whole clutch of eggs who all want to get the part in the ‘This is your brain on oil’ PSA. And how pelicans mate for life, but that’s his problem….yada, yada. The pelican’s beak was clearly bigger than his belly and before he could begin drunkenly quoting Ogden Nash I left with the dame that he walked in with. I’ve done worse, she had a lotta lower lip.
A strange bird is the pelican,
His beak holds more than his belly can.–Nash