The Birds and the Bees

24 12 2017

This year our budgies, Kiwi and Lulu, departed this mortal coil on wings of their own for the afterlife. I wonder whether birds and angels get along, or if there’s always a fight at the feeder? Do angels defecate like birds? Are all the statues in heaven covered in angel poop?

Anyway, our birds taught us a lot about the cycle of life. They laid eggs constantly, even though they were both female. They laid unfertilized eggs. It was all birds and no bees in our house. I feel like I should explain what that means for those of you who haven’t heard the story of the birds and the bees. I only just recently learned it myself. I’d heard references to this story my whole life, but my imagination always failed me when I tried to figure out just what the hell birds and bees have to do with sexual intercourse.
The story may have been derived from the first stanza of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem Work Without Hope, a title that sounds like it might be referring to unfertilized sex:

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing—
And Winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
And I the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.

This bit of verse apparently inspired a very starchy and uptight 19 th century woman named Dr. Emma Frances Angell Drake to relate the story of sex to her daughters in the context of bees being pollinators (male) and birds being egg layers (female) in her book The Story of Life. This pollination/egg-laying narrative is pretty much the whole story, which quite frankly leaves out far too many details for my liking. There’s still the thorny issue of actual copulation. As far as I know, bees don’t pollinate a bird’s eggs. Birds only do it with other birds, and lots and lots of male bees do it with a single queen. The two
species really have nothing in common when it comes to relationships. Some birds mate for life, whereas bees basically gangbang a virgin with royal heritage.

Our birds were both virgins, yet they still laid eggs. How immaculate is that? Were they visited by a parakeet deity while we slept? Was it consensual? As I pondered the source of our birds’ miraculous and relentless fertility, I found myself wondering about the details behind the conception of Jesus. Was Mary expecting a visit from the Holy Spirit, or did he show up unannounced? Was she a willing vessel, or did God abuse the power of his position? In this age of scandal, one wonders whether Mary might come forward with an ancient grievance about holy robes being flung open unsolicited and uninvited. Meryl Streep famously referred to Harvey Weinstein as “a god”. Does she know something we don’t? And where was Joseph when all this went down? Was he watching from behind the potted plant? Just another enabler, if you ask me.

I have some extra tickets to Hell if anyone cares to join me.

On that note, let me finish by wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a scandal-free New Year. May the grotesque realities of fevered sin be mollified by the benign innocence of birds laying eggs and bees gently humping them.



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