Earlier this year I was sitting around playing Animal Crossing on my Game Cube and sipping Holland House cooking sherry when there was a loud “THWUMPH!” against the bay window behind my head. I turned and just caught a flash of blue out of the corner of my eye.
This didn’t really startle me. When you look out our bay window, beyond the vast field of rosemary, sage, and oregano in those planters, you glimpse the beginning of 30,000 acres of state forest:
Granted, not a majestic sight this time of year in the space between summer’s verdant glory and winter’s snowy majesty. But you get the idea. There’s a bunch of trees.
There’s also a bunch of animals, many of whom do not make a distinction between “state forest” and “Dangerspouse’s yard”:
Or “Dangerspouse’s property”:
But it’s not only bears and foxes and turkeys and bobcats and for all I know tapirs that poop in my yard. It’s birds, too. Lots and lots of birds. Lots.
So many that our old cat Gloria used to sit for hours watching them zip by, dreaming she had wings. Or maybe a pellet gun.
With that many birds criss-crossing our property every day, you know a certain number are gonna slam into us. Smaller birds hit the window as they frantically try to out-maneuver the larger bird trying to kill them. Some, I suppose, just fly into the window because they’re retarded. I mean, I can understand them thinking there’s a big open area behind the window – which they can’t see because it’s clear. But don’t they see the cat? And strangely, an awful lot of those retards are hummingbirds.
So when I heard that “THWUMPH!” as I was haggling with Tom Nook over turnip prices it barely even registered. Ho hum. Another day, another bird corpse.
But as I say I did at least turn, and when I did I saw a flash of blue. And it wasn’t hummingbird blue.
That was kinda odd. We do have bluebirds, but so far none have managed to self destruct on our fenestra. Same with blue jays. They’re pretty smart, for all their annoying raucousness.
I looked out the window.
It was a blue jay. A baby, hopping around in circles on the lawn below. He must have just fledged and either couldn’t stay airborne, pegging our window on the way down, or he liked our cat.
I grabbed a shoe box and headed for the door. Occasionally I’ve been able to scoop up disoriented birds and either give them sanctuary until they can fly off, or turn them into stock. All depends on the size.
Down the stairs I went.
By the time I got down to the lawn the little guy was just kinda squatting in place under our Japanese maple. I guess he was tuckered out. The knock when he hit the bay window probably took a lot out of him too. But when he saw me advancing on him with a size 10 1/2 Adidas box he perked back up and took off, hopping and flapping just out of reach as I ran behind him. When he circled back and dove through a hole in the latticework of our front porch I lost him.
Dammit. I didn’t want to use canned stock that night.
Oh well. I knew I couldn’t squeeze my fat middle aged ass under the porch to continue the pursuit, so I went back inside and grabbed my camera. At least I might be able to get a shot to show NewWifey(tm) I at least tried to save the little bugger.
Back down the stairs with the Nikon. Even though I couldn’t see Baby Jay, I could sure hear him. Bluejays are screamers even at their calmest. Trap one under a porch and you could hear him over a South African vuvuzela festival. I peered through the loudest opening and there he was, beak open, bouncing up and down in panic.
I backed up a foot and extended my zoom lens.
And suddenly the back of my neck started bleeding.
It seems I wasn’t the only one able to pinpoint Baby Jay by his 200 decibel din. Mom and Dad Jay were alerted to Junior’s location just as quickly, but on arrival were alarmed to find a sweaty fat man with a shoe box trying to corral him. They swooped into action.
OW! OW! OW! OW! OW!
There was a blur of blue and white feathers suddenly whirling around my head, and beaks and tiny bird claws were jabbing at my head and neck. And the noise! I thought Junior was loud. This was what I imagined being stuck inside a VitaMix was like.
I beat a hasty retreat, jacket pulled over my head. They could have him. I had some frozen stock in the freezer anyway.
But as I rounded the far side and made for the stairs, I saw a little head poke out of the latticework siding. Baby Jay must have heard his parents and was looking for them.
I quickly raised the Nikon, focused, and squeezed:
Then I hightailed it the rest of the way to the door before Mom and Dad decided they needed to draw more blood.
Pretty good shot, huh? Yeah, I thought so too. Sharp focus on the eye, correctly exposed the subject instead of the brighter background, classic portrait using shallow depth of field to make the subject stand out. In short, I rock. Even while bleeding heavily from the neck, and half deaf.
Later that night I showed NewWifey(tm) the picture and we had a good laugh. The next morning the Jay family was gone, and I soon forgot about the picture.
Until about a month ago when I was flipping through our local free newspaper, the “Advertiser News”. Featured on one of the inner pages was a blurry photograph of a dun colored bird sitting listlessly in a nest, taken by some local reader. It was out of focus, lopsided, poorly exposed, and stupidly framed. I snorted. I could do a lot better than that.
Wait a sec. I did do a lot better than that. The baby jay!
I scanned the photo description for details, and sure enough at the bottom of the page it said “Submit your own photos for consideration at our website“.
To the internet, Batman!
I hit up their home page and hovered my cursor over the “Photos” tab. Sure enough, a drop-down menu appeared with one of the options being “Submit Your Photo”.
A minute later I was registered – as “Dangerspouse” – and Baby Jay’s pic was uploaded. Now all I had to do was title it.
I ran through the obvious choices: “Baby Jay in Porch” “Jay Junior Peers Out”, “Toronto Blue Jays’ Mascot Found in NJ”, etc.
They all sucked.
Then it hit me.
Oprah Winfrey calls her vagina “Vajayjay”!
Title: “VaJayJay“. Hit send. Done.
I told NewWifey(tm). “It’s never gonna be accepted” she said. “Somebody there will know what that means.” “Yeah, I know” I laughed. “But it was worth it.”
The next morning I opened my email and saw, “Dear Mr. Dangerspouse, your picture has been accepted for inclusion in our website edition. If it recieves the most votes it may also be included in a future print edition of our paper. Thank you for contributing.”
I clicked on their website, then the photo section.
I wasn’t surprised they printed my photo – in comparison to everyone else’s efforts my pic was a combination of Ansel Adams and Caravaggio – but…they didn’t change my title.
I couldn’t believe it!
Not only that. if you look closely you can see that 4 people had already voted for it as “Best”.
Four Oprah fans, I’m guessing.
I showed NewWifey(tm). “Somebody will call them” she said. “It’s never gonna make it to print.”
One week later:
On the FRONT PAGE.
But…not as Oprah’s vagina, dammit. And “Dangerspouse” got changed to “Vernon resident”.
The next day, I had 9 votes for “Best”. That’s practically half our town!
At least they kept “VaJayJay” and “Dangerspouse” in the online edition.
It’s still there by the way, although if you’re reading this in the far future it’s probably on a back page by now.
And hey – if you wanna go there and vote for it as “Best” and move me up the overall rankings, I’d love you forever. See, right now I’m just “Best” in the “Recent” category. There are some pics that have been up for 4, 5, 6 years and through sheer inertia have been gathering votes slowly but surely the entire time. I need to unseat those imposters!
Oh, and since then I’ve submitted several other photos, all of which have been accepted and put up on their website, with a couple also being featured in the print editions. You can see them online in the Photo tab if you click “Highland Lakes” in the column on the right. They should still be there. No more funny captions, but they at least credit “Dangerspouse”. That’s funny enough to me.
Finally, I must give credit where credit is due.
Thank you, Oprah. Your vagina has made me very happy, and locally famous. Not every woman’s vagina can say that.
Speaking of famous vaginas, I was looking for sugar cookie recipes the other day. Normally my first port of call for anything baking is “Bewitching Kitchen” (aka, “The Iron Uptake Chef“), the worlds greatest cooking blog run by the worlds smartest cooking blogger.
But I was on YouTube when the urge to look for sugar cookie recipes hit, so I said to myself “I wonder if Bewitching has a YouTube channel?” So I typed in “Brazilian Sugar Cookies” (she’s Brazilian) and the first thing that YouTube suggested was this.
I’ve watched it
15 (edit: 183 now) times but I still can’t figure it out.
So Sally, if you posted that…could you send me the recipe? It looks GREAT. Thanks.