“Hey, can I ask you something?”

“Who, me?”

“Yeah, you. Gettin into your car.”

“Um… but, you’re a bird.”

“Yeah, yeah. We’re not s’posed to do this, ya know, talkin to humans thing, but somethins been buggin me lately. Can we talk?”

“Uh. Yeah. I mean, okay. Sure.”

“Who’s gonna pass up a chance to talk to a bird, amirite?”

“Haha, yeah. Okay, so… what do you want to talk about Mr. Bird. Is that– I mean, what can I call you?”

“Yeah, I mean, that’s not my name or whatever, but fine. Mr. Bird is just fine.”

“So… what can I help you with, Mr. Bird?”

“Well, me and my friends been noticin a lot of you have been real stressed out lately. Like, since November? Y’all been kinda pissy and arguin with each other. The newspaper’s been all kinds of bad news.”

“You read the news?”

“Yeah, ‘course I do. We all do. Anyway, what’s up with this Shimkus guy? I remember seeing all kindsa signs with his name on ’em not too long ago, ’round here.”

“Oh yeah. He just won reelection. Ya know, for U.S. congress.”

“So, why’s everyone mad at him now for?”

“Because he said men shouldn’t have to pay for women’s prenatal health insurance.”

“Them’s a whole bunch a words I don’t understand.”

“Oh. Right. Well, uh, when people need healthcare–like when we get sick or need a doctor?–we have insurance. So that we don’t have to pay the entire cost ourselves. It’s like a pool of people all paying in, just in case one of us needs to get medical care.”

“So what’s that gotta do with uh… whatcha call it? Prenatal–”

“Prenatal care. Yeah, that’s when a woman gets pregnant? Like you lay eggs, human women have babies… they need care before, during, and after that. He doesn’t think men should have to pay into the insurance pool for that.”

“Oh. You guys like one of those weird species where you just split in half to procreate?”


“You get yourself pregnant?”

“No, nothing like that.”

“But like, the men… they ain’t got nothin to do with that whole process? That’s why he’s mad?”

“No, they have everything to do with it. Us women can’t get pregnant without a man. Like, at all.”

“Really. Huh. So, what’s this guy’s deal? He against babies? He like, think they should be stopped from being born at all costs?”

“No, he’s actually really against birth control, and abortions, and thinks women should just have babies, I guess.”


“Yeah, I know, right? Makes no sense.”

“So… I mean, not to be incendiary–”

“That’s a really big word for a bird.”

“–but why ain’t y’all like, protestin and riotin and stuff? If that happened in bird world, we’d have a revolution on our hands, lemme tell you what.”

“Uh… well, I mean, I guess some of us thought about it but I’ve got like, this Pilates Class thing later?”

“Pilates? That’s that thing where you’re rollin ’round on the floor and stuff?”

“You’ve watched me do Pilates?”

“Well, not on purpose but you should close your blinds.”

“Oh. Sorry.”

“No seriously, you look ridiculous when you do that.”

“Yeah? Oh, shit. Well… I think I’m getting better.”

“No, you’re not. Anyway, what can I do to help? Anything I can do? Me and my pals? Like hey, look at that guy right there walkin to his car, could I shit on him?”

“Him? No, that one’s mine and he’s fine. Don’t shit on him.”

“Well, who can I shit on?”

“I’m really not even sure how that would help…”

“Me neither, but I do gotta go anyway so I thought, ya know, two birds with one stone. Haha.”

“Haha yeah, okay. Well, you can never go wrong with a guy getting out of a truck that has testicles hanging from it’s hitch.”

“I gotta tell ya, I got no idea what the hell a testicle is.”

“They look like little balls? Hanging on the back of the truck?”

“Oh. Yeah. Yeah, I’ve seen those.”

“Okay. Well, there ya go.”

“All right well, it’s been nice talkin to ya. Good luck with your revolu–oh right, you’re not having one. ‘Cause of Pilates.”

“Right. Haha well, have a nice shit, Mr. Bird. See you around.”


When I was very young I attended church camp every single summer. Yes, I know I cuss like a sailor and drink like a fish but just hear me out, okay?

I did. I went to church camp. We played games and sang songs and camped and canoed and played in the rain and stared up at the stars like we couldn’t imagine something so divine being right there where we could see it. Like we were looking at something we weren’t supposed to see, a universal secret we were all supposed to pretend we didn’t know.

One of the games we played when I was very young made us split into 8-10 teams and each team got one carpet square and we were told that the first team that got every single member of their line across the field without any team member stepping off a carpet square would win.

So we all tried, like good little soldiers, to get our entire team across the field while dragging each person across on the square, or hopping and jumping across without leaving the square and then flinging the square back to our line. Each of our little teams just a little island of determined people looking for the answer to this stupid riddle. All of us hot and sweaty and beginning to think the rec counselors were playing a grand joke on us, we were their entertainment for the afternoon.

Until someone said, “Can we join each other?”

And another kid said, “No of course not! That’s cheating!”

And I just stood there thinking, is it cheating? I don’t think they said anything about that being cheating but to be honest, I was probably not paying attention all that closely…

And then another kid said, “Yeah! Let’s all get in one line and use all our squares and make a bridge across the field, and if we run out the person in the back can pick up the last one and pass it down!”

But there was still that one cocky little shit of a kid that thought he could do it all by himself like he was proving something to himself or God or maybe the hot older counselor chick. And it took a while, but we finally convinced that kid to shut the hell up and get in line with us because we weren’t all going to make it across with his shitty little attitude, and we weren’t going to be able to go to the snack bar and get ice cream until everyone had made it across, so we couldn’t just leave him alone on his side acting like a jackass.

The counselors were so proud, gave us the big lecture about teamwork and no man is an island, all that great stuff. And probably they didn’t really think it’d make a huge impact on any of us. Maybe they didn’t realize one of us would take that one day in summer camp and think about it from all sides for years to come, analyze it, turn it into some grand metaphor about life that extended beyond teamwork.

But maybe this is all religion really is, maybe this is all that life really is: taking everybody from all walks of life and bringing them into our line and handing them our scraps and squares to step on so we can all make it across the chaos together. Maybe all the Christians can’t get across without the Atheists, or the Muslims or Jews or Buddhists or Hindus or any of us. Maybe if only one group keeps trying to get across on their own, no one is going to get any fucking ice cream.

So in closing: We’re in this together, so try not to be a dick, and help everyone else get in line and cross the field even if they don’t look like or talk like or pray like you do.



I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to ignore the shit-show that is the Presidential election this year. It isn’t possible. I’m an American, I pay attention, I read, I have an IQ over 100. I can’t shut up anymore.

I grew up in a very loud, very passionate family. I remember heated debates around the Thanksgiving table growing up. I remember listening to politics before I knew what politics were and I remember feelings sometimes getting hurt, but then those feelings being healed again. I learned, from my parents’ and aunts’ and uncles’ examples, how to argue (mostly tactfully) and I learned that you can love someone and still disagree with them.

But this election is completely insane. I find myself on the other side of the aisle from the same people I’m always on the other side of, but this time it’s different. This time, it’s too hard to ignore the cognitive dissonance dulling the eyes of my loved ones with whom I disagree. It’s too hard to let certain arguments slide. It’s too hard to say, “I disagree with your stance but I understand how you arrived at it.”

Because let me be real clear: I do not understand how some of you have arrived at your stance this time.

We have, right now, at this very moment, people tweeting that one of the candidates is a satan worshipper and a baby-killer. We have, at this moment, another candidate being endorsed by the oldest hate group in America. We have, at this very moment, sound bites of a presidential candidate that are unsafe to listen to at work, are unsafe to let our children listen to. We have pictures of a prospective first lady that would get most people fired from their job for looking at. We have a presidential candidate standing trial for fraud in November, and for raping a thirteen year old girl in December.

So your moral high-ground stance is a bit muddled for me. I mean, I was no fan of Romney or McCain, but I never feared for a complete and total breakdown of society if they were elected. But right now? I’m scared. Because the candidate endorsed by those who claim to be the most morally-sound in this country, is a sociopathic liar with a clear agenda that has nothing to do with bettering our country.

I know, I know. It’s all about the supreme court! The supreme court! We need a pro-life appointee. Because this tactic has worked so well in the past. I have yet to see a Republican Presidency, since the passing of Roe v. Wade, that resulted in less abortions. In fact, abortion rates actually go down under Democratic presidents. So if we’re serious about stopping (or at least slowing) the number of abortions in this country, why not vote for the party who actually tackles the socio-economic issues that make abortion feel less necessary? And why, if so many of you are pro-life, are you against saving refugee children from countries torn apart by wars they had no say in?

Which brings me to my next point: Christians. Come on. I mean, come on. We have big-wig Christians like Franklin Graham coming out with strong rhetoric about the only path for a Christian nation, talking for the “faithful.”

But some of us have news for you: You don’t speak for us. You don’t represent our beliefs, our wants, or our religious interpretation of what a Christian should be. I know that bugs you, I know you think you’re the only one with any understanding of the scripture. But you’re not. You are a very small, very loud minority. And I know that’s scary, and I know that has resulted in the fear-based attacks against those of us who disagree with you. It’s uncomfortable to suddenly find yourself outnumbered, I get it. But you know what? Tough. Suck it up. Be a part of the solution to bring our country together instead of further splintering it.

It shouldn’t be that hard. It shouldn’t be that difficult. My kids can do it, they can argue and take turns listening to each other, and argue some more, then cool down and come together with a compromise that benefits everyone in the family. And they’re kids. Not even teenagers. If they can do it, I know you can too.