Saturday, August 01, 2009

When I was in the first grade, I had to read a fable about a heron and a fox. It was a test. We read our little pieces into a tape recorder so the teacher could listen to them and evaluate our reading skills. I remember it well because I was very anxious that my teacher think I was a good reader. I'd like to say that this was because I had read all the books in the classroom, was tired of Clifford and Little Critter and wanted something more challenging, but I'm pretty sure it was entirely the result of an over-developed sense of competitiveness.

Anyway, in the fable, the fox invites the heron over to dinner and serves the food on flat stone plates, which, of course, make it impossible for the heron to eat. Whether it was out of sheer malevolence or sheer stupidity I don't remember. Then the heron returns the favour and the fox gets what's coming to him, because the heron serves dinner in a long skinny jar. Respect others' differences and whatnot.

Some of us are built for slurping fish out of the water; some of us are built for tearing the flesh off small mammals. And some of us are built for catching entire slices of bread thrown by small children at the park.

I haven't seen that many pelicans in my life. They're not very common in Western New York.

Actually, before coming to Australia, I only recall ever seeing two. And one of them was in the stuffed bird exhibit at the ROM.

So today I acted like one of those East Asian tourist groups we used to laugh at who stood around taking pictures of the squirrels in Queen's Park. I took an embarrassing number of photos of this pelican. I was intrigued by his beak, and his 'all shall kneel before me now get out of my way minions before I make you into pigeon sandwiches' attitude towards the other birds, and most of all by his Greed.

I might as well have had a big sign around my neck saying 'TOURIST' and a big Canadian flag on my bag.

Oh, wait.

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