Steve mug
The Journal Express

This is a reprinting of a column I wrote for the May 11, 2007, Journal-Express. It is still one of the best memories I have of Louise Kuntz and I consider it one of the best columns I've ever written. I called it “Nothing like a little bird to make me feel like a big chicken.”

Look, up on the ceiling! It's a bird! It's a...well, actually, it's just a bird.

When I got to work Monday morning, I found a nice little lake in the basement. Luckily, the water did not reach our archives, but there was still quite a mess.

We got it cleaned up, but to do so, we had to leave a back door open to pump the water out. My guess is that this is how this whole thing happened.

On Wednesday, I decided to go downstairs to see how things were looking (and smelling). As I was strolling back toward the office that flooded, out of nowhere, a bird flies right at my head.

I screamed like a little girl. But seriously, this thing had huge fangs and rabid drool, dripping to the floor. Demonic yellow eyes glared at me as he swooped down, gunning for my forehead. If I had not ducked and cowered like a wimp, I'm sure it would have pecked my eyes out. Or, at least knocked my glasses off.

It flew upstairs, and sure enough, in an office full of women, I was the only one who really shrieked in fear. It made way for the ad office. I shut the door to my office. I didn't want that thing around my stuff.

Then, I cowboyed up and grabbed a broom. I think it was at this point when Louise Kuntz, our 74-year-plus-old helper, came to see what was going on. I told her the whole story.

“It came right at me, Louise,” I said. She scoffed. This five-foot, 100-pound woman scoffed at me and went after the bird.

She caught it, with some help. She wrapped him up in paper towels and started carrying him to the door.

“Look at that,” she said, “it's just a little swallow.”

“I don't care. I wasn't expecting that thing to come at my head,” I told her. Again, she laughed at me, and I think I heard her call me “pansy” under her breath.

She set the bird outside and eventually it flew away. No animals appear to have been harmed in the making of this column.

It looked bigger and scarier in the gloomy bowels of 122 East Robinson. Sure, it looks like a helpless little bird in broad daylight, with a lot of people around, but when it was just the bird and I, it showed its dark side.

Which brings me to my point. Things can always take you by surprise and it's natural to react with fear and hesitation. Just as I was about to step up and solve the problem, someone older, wiser and more willing to touch wild animals beat me to it. You can't always be afraid to go at things head on and at the same time, don't be afraid to ask for, and accept, help.

Take care of yourself and thank you for reading.

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