Monday, May 12, 2008

In Which I Worry Whether I Am A Bad Person Or Just Have A Sick Sense Of Humor

All right! I guess I just need a little bit of reassurance. I mean, as many DoN readers may recall, this recovering Catholic has already gotten over the whole Hell Thing. So, it's not like I'm worried about Eternal Damnation or anything. It's more of a question of whether or not...well...I don't want anyone to think I'm not a Good Person.

Let me explain.

It's this. I'm sorry, but holy crap. I laughed like hell when I read it. Just the lead line alone: "A 50-year old woman from Toledo, Ohio is recovering after a pelican dove down toward her and slammed into her face while she was swimming in the Gulf of Mexico." Are you kidding? A pelican incident? This pelican slammed into her face.

Now I'm not saying that having a full-grown seafaring bird headed straight for your face is not scarytime; it has to be. But come on. There is no way to be prepared for this when you read it in the newspaper, which is where I first saw it. I was in my jammies and robe, holding my mug of coffee, just minding my own business perusing the Cleveland Plain Dealer when all of a sudden, completely out of nowhere, this story slammed into my face!

With, as the news story says, "intense impact."

I once met a pelican. It was in Florida, at a little place called St. John's Pass. It flew down onto a dock rail and perched picturesquely on a post. A bunch of my ladyfriends and I took turns posing next to it. It just stood there, very pleasantly acquiescing to our photo session. It did not slam into our faces, nor did it even look like it wanted to. It did, however, smell terrible. It smelt of rotted fish and seaweed, which is understandable. Once our photo session was over, we wandered away from the pelican and it turned around and faced the water. I'm sure it later flew away, and probably not into anyone's face.

Sadly, the pelican in the news story did not have such an idyllic story. It died from the accident. The woman, Debbie Shoemaker, has a three-inch gash which was closed with 25 stitches. But that errant pelican gave its life.

Yet, I can't stop laughing about the whole thing. And the news stories do not help. One report felt it necessary to point out that Debbie was "not trying to attract any attention or anything of that nature." Were there pictures of fish on her bathing suit? Did she look vaguely codlike?


This is funny. Isn't it? Or am I just a Bad Person?


  1. Anonymous11:20 PM

    All right, there is more to this story than we have been told.

    That pelican did not just decide on the spur of the moment to swoop down and attack that poor woman.

    I mean: Was she carping at her husband?

    Was she in the water on porpoise or just for the halibut?

    Could she swim or did she just flounder?

    Did her bikini fit or did she look crappie?

    In the end it wasn't long before she needed a sturgeon to sew up her head so she could be the sole survivor of the Pelican Brief....

  2. Ok, the reality of it, I'm sure is not funny at all... BUT, really, from an outsider's point of view, this is funny as hell. I think I would make up a different story to tell folks about the incident if I was Ms. Shoemaker. :)

    (love the penny-balancing bunny! Of course, that bunny doesn't look happy, either...)

  3. The moment I clicked the link and read the headline, I knew you were talking about being a Good Person because you laughed when you saw the headline. And you should have. I'm sure the author of the article found the situation and tried to find the right diction to make the story funny. They want readers, you know? So blame him or her.

  4. i.h.--you should read some of the other stories that i found. a few are downright silly. sometimes i feel guilty when i watch America's Funniest Home Videos and laugh at the elderly people falling down. i know THOSE are meant to be funny or else they wouldn't have sent them in, but it's horrid to laugh at older people. MAINLY BECAUSE PRETTY SOON I'LL BE ONE OF THEM. LOL. but hey, people falling down is always funny. seriously. i feel bad if they get hurt, really, but don't even try to tell me that it isn't funny. i'm sure i look hysterically funny when i fall. but if i fall, i lie there a LONG TIME. i go for the drama.

    ck--i worried about that pic b/c it's so small. the object is actually a mini Oreo! should i add that fact to the caption?

    nancy--this story was tailor-made for your punning, and don't think i didn't consider that. i knew i'd draw you out!! great ones, although any "halibut" ones are just cheap and easy. LOL.

  5. Anonymous6:28 PM

    I'm willing to be a bad person as long as I can laugh at this.

  6. Anonymous7:06 PM

    Mahi,Mahi, settle down now! You certainly are a snapper, aren't you? I apologize for taking the easy way out with halibut, and it won't happen again! Okay?

    Are you satisfied with this apology? I hope so because I don't want any eel feelings.

  7. Ok, well, truthfully, I didn't look at it very hard. "Pennies" was a total guess. I was too distracted by the "look" on the bunnies face and the floppy ears. :)

  8. Oh yes, this is funny. I laughed too. Maybe we're both bad people for laughing at someone else's misfortune. Oh well, it's not the first time and certainly not the last.

  9. That's just funny! I love crazy animal stories. They are the best. Oh and belated Happy Birthday! The "9" birthdays are the odd ones. It's preparing for the big transition to the next decade. I was fine for 39 actually. I was ready for it. 29 caused me great angst though. Kind of ironic. Looking back, I was just a baby!

  10. anali--thanks for the b-day greetings. i love the goofy animal stories, too, as you probably have figured out by now!

    nina--we can be bad people together. oh wait...we already have been. LOL.

    ck--i know! grumpy bunnies crack me up.

    nancy--you had me with the "carp" pun. no one uses it as a verb anymore, and i just find that tragic.

    aplo--honestly, it's just hilarious. i mean, i'd like to think that even if it happened to me, i'd be able to see some humor in it.

  11. When we were in the Keys, we spent one day on a party fishing boat. Before we set off, we watched the pelicans FIGHT over the remains of the fish that were being cleaned on deck. They were fierce! I bet that poor woman just looked like a yummy fish.

    Don't worry, you're still a good person even though you laughed!

  12. I'm afraid there must be many "Bad/Sick Persons." I'm certainly one of them. The story made me spew my drink. That is a really bad collision, though. Must have been quite painful for both of them. Some years ago, while running along the rec path along Lake Michigan at Northwestern U., I was strafed by a redwinged blackbird. Twice. Hard. She got up speed and slammed me in the head and tried to snatch the hair right off my scalp. I started flailing my arms and screaming, but did not stop running. Then I started laughing like a madwoman as I kept flailing and running. This must have been really entertaining to all the onlookers in the park. Later I learned that I had approached a shrub where her nest was, and she was simply being a dutiful mother.

    I hope the bunny got to have the cookie. Otherwise it's downright humiliating.

  13. sputnik--hey, i've missed you! love the redwing story. i've been menaced by a bluejay or two now and then. they're also very vociferous nest/territory protectors, but i've never had them blitzkrieg my head!!

    jen--i've seen seagulls get pretty ugly, but my only pelican encounter was obv. chummy!

  14. I'm the bad person. I'm the one who said to a friend who was taking cold medicine, cough syrup, and Tylenol that she needed to watch her combinations because I didn't want her to Heath Ledger on me.

  15. Wow, thanks for giving me yet another thing to be paranoid about while at the beach. Until now I've only had seagull poo and sharks to worry about. hmmm...What if you ended up with seagull poo, a shark bite AND being pelicaned in the face? argh! I also snickered once when I heard if a seagull ate Alka Seltzer it would blow up. I've secretly wanted to try it ever since. But shhhh, don't tell! :)

  16. simplypink--seagulls are like air-carp. those birds eat EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. once, when the boys were little, we went on a picnic at our local duckpond. we were suddenly attacked by a flock of seagulls--no, not the eighties hair band. this crew descended on us and forced us to complete our picnic in the car. we tossed whatever we didn't eat out the windows at them, including dill pickles. they loved them.

    v-grrrl--yikes. but kudos for creating a new pop-culture verb.

  17. I don't give a damn how bad people think I am, this is funny. As. Hell!!!

  18. tera--oh, i know YOU don't care. heehee.


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