You know that feeling when it’s the first blog post of the year and you really want to do it up right with a sparkling fuse of words to blaze off a golden bomb of posts all year long, but then UNFORTUNATELY you’re compelled to talk about bird porn?
Look at this family boardgame we bought recently.
Innocent, surely! It’s bingo, beloved of pensioners all over the world, and also it’s about BIRDS, those loveable feathered ornaments of nature. They soar majestically overhead, they twitter angelically from the treetops, they hop whimsically under shrubs, they are so delightful and soft we ultimately make pillows out of them*. (*That list excludes vultures, turkeys, condors and other ugly ones, obviously, but when I picked this game up off the shelf I thought from the artwork that it only included attractive, noble varieties of the species.)
Spreading the board before us on the table before the virgin game, we delighted in the bright portraits of the friendly winged creatures.
But the problem is, half the fuckers have the randiest names you’ve ever heard of! Forget 50 Shades of Grey, this thing is 64 Shades of the Lascivious Ornithography. First card up was everyone’s favourite:
Fine, who doesn’t have a giggle at a Blue Tit? Joel and I exchanged knowing chuckles as I passed the bag of chips down the table to our 6-year-old son. With shining eyes he picked out the next one, yelling out “Andean cock-of-the-rock! I think I’ve seen one of them before!”
Well, two rudely named birds in a row; surely we’d used up our quota. Apparently not. Here is a further selection from the filthy diversion:
After a while even the more chaste varieties seemed to take on base implications:
A final insult to unsullied family entertainment was this lovely fellow, the Hoopoe, found in Africa.
He’s named correctly on his chip but on every other card in the box, they’ve given him a typo – HOOPOO. Of course they have, OF COURSE!
When the game was done and the kids were safely tucked up in their beds, away from the evils of nature’s kingdom, I had a look around the net to see what’s the deal with avian nomenclature. It turns out our game has only a small sample of the (appalling!) wider pool, which includes Red-shafted Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Clark’s Nutcracker, Wandering Tattler, Rough-faced Shag, Dickcissel, Erect-crested Penguin, Horned Puffin, Boom Chachalaca, Creamy-rumped Miner, Tinkling Cisticola, Wren Tit, Tit Mouse, Bush Tit, Bearded Tit, Penduline Tit, and Great Tit.
How did this happen? To a feather, the birds listed there are adorable soft little puffs of rainbow down. What sort of Unmitigated Knob-end was standing there going, “Ah, look at these magnificent, pre-eminent examples of creation. I know, let’s name them all after titties!”?
What sort of despicable perverts have bird-watching as a hobby? Sitting in a deserted hut with a pair of binoculars going “Ooh aah, a Splendid Fairywren” sounds like a peaceful Attenboroughean pastime but the truth is, it’s all about legs 11. You creepy, creepy freaks.