I’ve come to the surprising conclusion that people can be categorized into two groups:
The first group are seagulls.
The second group are everyone else.
Maybe my theory is a little askew and there are more categories inside the “not seagulls” group, but I’m not interested in those groups so like any good scientist I am going to conveniently forget they exist and just focus on what I want to focus on.
Don’t judge me.
Adam Ruins Everything explains all this on an episode about scientific research. I’m right there with the other scientists in my convenient ignoring of other variables.
Anyway, back to the only two groups I feel like writing about today:
Seagulls and everyone else
Seagulls fly into every situation and relationship, shit everywhere and on everything, and then they fly off.
Then there are all the other people who despite being irritating in their own way at their own times somehow manage not to shit on everyone else all the time.
See how I did that? I completely avoided talking about all the specific groups who aren’t seagulls just so I can tell you about seagulls.
Yeah. I’m clever like that.
We all know at least one.
Seagulls are literally incapable of not being enormously self-centered, self-serving, self-absorbed asshats who poke every bear, push every button, burn every bridge, and basically wreak havoc on any and all relationships, personal and professional alike, until they find themselves miserable and alone.
Everyone who is not a seagull is capable of being all those things a seagull is except that they mercifully don’t do all of them all the time with everyone and in every blessed situation. They only do those things sometimes and usually only one at a time with the end result of them being a human being who you sometimes want to throttle but who is capable of building and maintaining relationships with other human beings.
Have you ever noted that seagulls (the bird ones) tend to come in groups, you know, of 2… or 3… or 31… or 58… or 70… or 394?! Look, the number isn’t important… have you noticed that the birds flock? Seagulls (back to the people ones) tend to flock too. Occasionally you see one shitting in a parking lot by himself but they’re never alone for long and before you know it the shitters have surrounded themselves with equally dysfunctional asshats who now go from place to place shitting on everything in sight. This is particularly common in workplace settings:
The lone shitter is often either a boss type figure with some amount of rank and authority or some schmo who has delusions of rank and authority.
The small flock happens when the lone shitter begins to draw towards himself like minded individuals. They may also be boss type people, or they may be kiss ass schmos without rank and authority who see the ability associate and align with said R.A. in the form of the head shitter thinking they will somehow get a leg up in the workplace in so doing.
The larger a flock of seagulls gets, the more likely it becomes that they will be met by angry villagers with torches and pitchforks. This is why this last group is only ever spoken about in hushed tones by candlelight:
*in a coarse whisper that makes you think of a National Geographic show about nature, probably with a British accent*
The large flock is something to behold, I assure you. This is a society unto their own that somehow has managed to maintain their positions and some semblance of a pecking order for centuries. They don’t interact with the rest of society often but instead sequester themselves in large and fancy buildings with pediments carved into beautiful scenes of partially clothed heroes sitting atop columns with ionic or Corinthian capitals where they shit happily on one another and still manage to find time and means to shit on the rest of society as a whole. Yes, my friends, I’m talking about…
*looks cautiously both ways and over both shoulders*
*gasping is heard in the background along with a quiet scream from someplace in the middle distance before a woman in front pulls the back of one wrist to her forehead and faints*
I know you were all very surprised to find out that politicians are, in fact, seagulls but I’m moving on without any willingness whatsoever to engage in the type of seagull button pushing behavior that makes definite statements about YOUR politicians being shittier than MINE when I’m absolutely convinced we can all agree that they all shit on the rest of us to some degree (so let’s just avoid becoming seagull groupies and leave it at that).
Outside of the workplace seagulls are no less prevalent but they tend to behave somewhat differently in this setting.
Larger scale seagull flocking may be seen in cults, organizations that place labels on anyone that isn’t likeminded or like-skinned, and in the form of superfans that shit on everyone’s parade at Comicon and movie premiers when a costume, or detail, or movie script somehow misses the mark in a given universe. Happily, in our personal lives we have the ability disassociate from and largely avoid everyone who does this.
There are, however, a great many smallish flocks of seagulls in every neighborhood, bar, farmers market, beer garden, craft fair, and sporting event. While the workplace flocks tend to be more aggressive in their general mayhem and shit-storming, these outside work flocks often lure you to their gatherings with promises of likeminded fun, microbrews, fancy cheese, homemade soap, henna hair dye free from harsh chemicals, fun filled tailgating, wine and gourmet beer tastings, and backyard BBQs. These things in and of themselves are not unique to seagulls, but seagulls are smart enough to use them to lure you in before they pounce, either shitting on you or inviting you to shit on everyone they don’t like. It’s pretty remarkable, really, how seagulls have adapted to camouflage themselves as larks in social settings in order to find people to shit on. I’m amazed they’re able to hold it all in as long as they do, actually, but once they begin their little shit-shows no one in the general vicinity will escape the malaise.
Finally we come to the most common seagull of all. There are a great many seagulls who save all their shitting for home with their spouses and significant others, their children, and those closest to them. These seagulls often pass both in society and at work as larks, singing beautiful songs, when really they’re seagull sirens who lure the unsuspecting into close-knit and seemingly love-filled relationships before revealing their true nature. These seagulls can keep their shit together for years, sometimes, before letting loose on those closest to them in a massacre like display of shit that could only be truly understood if witnessed personally. These seagulls count on their loved ones to not leave their shitty asses and the constant storms because of the time and effort put into building those relationships. Very foxy behavior for a birdbrain, if you ask me.
As I stated previously, everyone is capable of being a shit sometimes. It’s true. We all do it. Sometimes it’s as small as spewing some frustration at the clerk at the grocery store because your fucking umbrella won’t close or spewing anger and hurt at a friend who doesn’t deserve it (even when they graciously tell you it’s okay to have done so because they care more about you than they’re bothered by your occasional meltdown). Sometimes it’s getting too into your head with statements of absolutes in moral, political, or philosophical ideals that you become incapable of stepping back to consider the other side of the issue; all I’m sayin’ is 6 and 9 can both be the correct answer depending on which side you’re standing on to look at the number. Sometimes it’s forgetting too often to put your spouse or significant other first in your decision making paradigm.
I guess what I’m really getting at is that even though we are all capable of being a shit sometimes the key is to not make it so much of a habit that we become a seagull whose only redeeming quality is… actually I can’t think of a single redeeming quality.
Actively choose to not be a shit.
If you don’t, no matter whatever redeeming qualities you might be hiding behind your plumage, all anyone will see in and remember about you will be your colossal ability to shit all over everyone and everything you encounter.
Don’t be that bird.
PSA ~ Gwen, the author, is an anti-seagull activist and seagull survivor. She likes charcuterie and wine but doesn’t use them to lure unsuspecting guests to shit-storms. She has been known to wield the occasional torch or pitchfork and has at times been seen running full speed into flocks of seagulls screaming and flailing her arms; she considers all this to be a public service.
Originally published 10 November 2017