Here in the UK, the luminous yellow reflective jacket is the new uniform of choice for the wannabe Stasi or Gestapo functionary, and other aspiring goons. Alongside the snoopers, informants, finers, interveners, and 'community police', a new squad in Aldeburgh will now also have to be decked out in said jackets in order to enforce a stringent new policy against those that would dare feed the local seagulls.
It's enough to compel you to initiating a nationwide campaign to start chumming the birds with raw meat. Resistance to the oppression begins here, with the gulls leading the way.
In the meantime, I am once again most grateful to Lorin for sending this moving anecdote:
When I was very young (five or six years old), I had two parakeets, a male and a female, who I named Biff and Plumas. They were little splashes of bright color, so, so cute in a way one can only appreciate before the age of ten or after the age of 30. I would open the cage to let them flap around the house a bit and they would return to the cage in five minutes or so. Knowing what I know now, they both would have flown away forever had they not been purchased at the most sickening of all retail spots, the 'pet store' where birds have their wings clipped to keep them seemingly domesticated but ultimately crippled and reliant on the cage.
I recall the day Plumas died. I had a ceremonial shoebox burial in my family's backyard. The strongest memory, though, was Biff's mourning. I am not abusing the word; he had an actual, visible mourning. He lingered upon the place in the cage where my mother found Plumas dead, he refused to eat anything, even sesame treats, and he heaved pained, horrible coos that sounded EXACTLY like human crying. Not a pleasant memory, by any means, but at an early age learned that a bird is capable of (and imbued with) the kind of dynamic passion that humans stupidly mislabel as 'feelings', or worse, 'a soul'.