Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Lost Episodes: Swan Attack

Well, I'm still not sure I'll continue blogging. But this is a post I had sitting in my draft box so I thought you should have it, my internets. It's like one of those lost episodes of The Honeymooners, except that there's no fat protaganist and the post isn't in black and white.


Do you serve swan? Whenever I go to one of the many ethnic restaurants in DC that serve rare delicacies like goat testicles, shark fin soup or baked potatoes, I always ask if they serve swan. I don’t care if it’s roasted, broiled or fried, but I’d like to eat a swan one day, I really, really would.

When I was about 4 years old, my brother never tired of finding random skillz that he could perform better than me so that he could rub my nose in his superiority. One of the many ways in which my brother hoped to provide my future therapists with a living wage involved his ability to perform basic gymnastics like a forward roll, then goad me into trying it, hitting my head on something and then him mocking me while I cried. Although a forward roll is challenging for a four year old, I really should have kept at it since it would’ve been the key to my escaping possible death at the hands of an angry bird a few months later.

During one of my childhood visits to Argentina, the ancestral homeland of a large portion of the Ninja clan, we visited a family friend who raised swans because she was eccentric. And by eccentric, I don’t mean she had collected spoons, by eccentric I mean she raised swans and was crazy. You see, unlike raising chickens or geese or ducks which can actually be sold for food, no one raises swans to eat because they exist only to look good and serve no other productive purpose (sorta like the girls of Delta Delta Delta sorority). Even if a swan might be tasty, no one would try to eat it because Swans are deceptively vicious…too powerfull to kill. It’s like saying “how come no one eats lion?” A full-grown swan has a wingspan of up to six feet and is strong enough to break a man’s arm. It’s like an ostrich, but smaller and meaner. It’s like the Bruce Lee of birds.

My brother and I got to play with the black swans, which are friendly, but she wouldn’t let us near the white swans (which are not so friendly). Because I wanted a white swan so badly, this woman and my parents thought it would be funny if they told me I could have one. “If you can catch one, it’s your’s to keep” they told us. “Get one of the smaller ones”. So my brother and I chased after a “small” one. It wasn’t a full grown one with a six-foot wingspan, but it was meaner than a pitbull….on crack. We chased it for about 5 seconds, then it turned and charged right at us. I was so young and stupid that I didn’t even realize I was in danger. It’s like in Executioners from Shaolin when Hung Hsi Kwan attacks the White Eyebrow Priest and thinks he’s going to kill him, but quickly realizes he’s no match for the old man and has to run for his life. I reached out to grab the evil bird, already imagining where in my yard I would keep it. It quickly and fiercely bit my stubby 4 year old fingers and when I pulled my hand back, it bit my face. I covered my face and it attacked my stomach. My brother was no match for it either. We both ran and soon it had it had us in a corner and beating us senseless. When I tried to run past it, it would open it’s giant wings, to keep me from passing, and peck at me some more.

Then it happened…my brother tucked himself into a little ball and did a forward roll right under the angry bird’s wing. The bird was furious, but my brother ran like hell so the bird did what any violent angry animal would do. It bit me some more.

During this whole process my parents and the crazy bird lady were laughing hysterically. When I screamed out for help I heard my dad stop laughing just long enough to yell to my mother “that bird’s gonna’ kill him…quick, get the camera.”

I’d like to tell you that I devised some clever way of outwitting the bird and escaped. But sadly, at that age, I wasn’t smart enough to outsmart something with a brain the size of a walnut. And some say I’m still not. So I did the only thing I could do. I stood there and took it. I figured the bird was gonna keep kicking my ass until he we was done kicking my ass and nothing I could do would stop it. So I just stood there and took it.

I know that bird is long dead by now, which means I won’t get a chance to go there and kill it myself, but I still ask for swan at every exotic restaurant I eat at. I keep thinking that if they serve it at some restaurant, then maybe, just maybe, that evil bird didn’t die old and happy reminiscing about that day on his death nest. I hope that he got fat, was sold to some farmer, who chopped his head off in the most inhumane way possible and sold him to a restaurant where he was turned into a soup of some kind.

Yes…I did say “Do you serve Swan?”.