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Assistant Pigeon Feeder

A friend loves quoting a comedy piece from the late 1990s from New York’s TV comedy program, Saturday Night Live. In their Weekend Update, news anchor Norm Macdonald reports:

Well, the magazine P.O.V. came out this week, with a list of the best and worst jobs to have in the next century. The three best were, in this order: Multimedia Software Designer, Management Consultant, and Interactive Advertising Executive; while their worst, for the third year in a row: Crack Whore.

Later in the segment, Norm was handed a piece of paper and announced, “Correction to the story earlier: The actual worst job is Assistant Crack Whore.”

In a recent conversation with Ferris Butler, I asked for suggestions in writing a comedy piece for a story idea I had for this blog. He pointed out that a key element is often absurdity and suggested that I take an absurd twist on my idea, rather than what I was thinking. If absurdity is effective as a comedic element, what is more absurd (and worse) than “assistant crack whore” as a job position?

On August 22, 2012, I wrote Easily Washed Off, a story about a Washington Square Park habitué known as Pigeon Paul. Apparently, many visitors new to Paul and his feeding spectacle find it novel, quaint, and endearing. Personally, I find it rather unsettling and avoid looking at Paul when he is feeding pigeons. Even using the walkway near Paul’s bench is disgusting, as it is covered in pigeon excrement.

Recently, passing through the area, I noticed a well-known homeless man, Larry, taking over Paul’s work. Larry appeared to be reveling in the attention he was getting from both the birds and passersby. Watching the display somewhat reluctantly, Norm Macdonald’s comedy bit came to mind. Whereas I used to believe that Washington Square Park’s worst activity was Pigeon Feeder, after seeing Larry, I believe that a correction is in order. The actual worst activity is Assistant Pigeon Feeder :)

7 Responses to Assistant Pigeon Feeder

  1. Only in New York I guess.

  2. As much as I admire those that can be so open-hearted as to love pigeons this much….I, also, steer way clear of these guys…ewuwwwwwwwwwwww.

    I wonder if you can incorporate the story about your Dad and the pigeon (in Washington Sq Park!!)…or have you written about that before?

  3. Yuck. St. Mark’s Square in Venice has stopped selling tourists pigeon food in order to keep the bird population down. Time the Big Apple came up with a plan.

  4. Leslie – I am not sure there is enough material with my father’s story, but I will think about that.
    Anonymous – Yuck indeed. However, there are many people who will defend just about anything, including the charm, beauty and their love of pigeons. I have heard others call pigeons rats with wings. They are scavengers. And let’s face it. What we see in this photo is not love being reciprocated by the pigeons. It’s only about food, 100%. Anyone who sits in that spot with food will get the same attention from the pigeons. Pigeon excrement is a nuisance and caustic to masonry. They should not be encouraged.

  5. I do love Larry and chat with him fairly regularly (a Hi and Bye and How’ya doin’) but yes, the pigeon feeding is disgusting and helps breed the rats too.

  6. An effort should be made to replace the pigeons with larger birds, like geese. That would be interesting…

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