Teen Talk in Nature: An Anthropomorphic Anecdote...

Teen Talk - Live

Chris is taking “Teen Talk” on the road. If you are a member of a parent group or responsible for finding engaging speakers for student or youth groups, please contact Chris at www.chrislincoln-speaker.com

Crows...

Weekends are precious, not the least for it being the days when there is no pressing urgency to get out of bed. It was on one such day, in mid luxuriate, when I noticed a correlation between a stabbing pain in my head and the extraordinary noise outside. The cacophony in question was the morning 'discussion' of the neighborhood crow population. Roosting in trees at the rear of our house, their brain piercing 'caws' reminded me of something familiar that I could not, even with the help of a pair of Aspirin, quite put my finger on.

Annoying, loud, piercing, inconsiderate, irritating...did I mention loud?

It was Monday when I made the connection. My first order of business each morning was to monitor the middle school drop off. My daily challenge was to elicit some sort of response from the sleepy middle school students as they peeled themselves out of their parent's cars. My lively "good morning" would get a response some fifty percent of the time, mostly mumbles, but still it was a duty I enjoyed, making contact with the children as they began their school day.

Individually silent, almost comatose, the children would drag themselves towards the building, waiting for me to unlock the doors, at the appointed time, so they could make their way up to homeroom. When I arrived to unlock the doors, the assembly had collectively woken up, talking animatedly to the person, apparently, furthest away from them. It was as if each child had just had a triple shot of espresso, resulting in their energy levels going from zero to max in no time flat.

I noticed they were annoying, loud, piercing, inconsiderate, irritating, did I mention loud?

Bam!

Crows are just avian middle schoolers...

Now I have a high tolerance of middle schoolers, mostly I find them highly amusing (except for when they are not), and I decided to take a closer look at the crows, looking for similar group dynamics. It certainly would make the weekends more enjoyable if I was laughing at the stupid birds, not getting annoyed at them.

In the intervening months, the more I saw, the more I believed that the crows and middle schoolers were one and the same...

For example...

I am the proud owner of a large fig tree. It produces a great deal of fruit, most of which is inaccessible to earth bound beings. The crows love the figs, but the best figs are at the ends of the slenderest branches. The crows, gauche and clumsy, get closer and closer to the prized figs, but more often than not, fall off. They tumble to the ground in the most ungainly of descents, surrounded by the uproar of their fellow crows. It takes minimal imagination to believe they are laughing at their idiot friends. The parallels with middle school boys at recess is almost uncanny...

It gets better. The figs, unharmed but for the occasional peck-hole, bake in the unrelenting California sun, and by the alchemy of fermentation, become little balls of fig wine. The crows return to roost in the evening, and stop on their way home at the Lincoln's fig tree. As the sun goes down, the birds fall out of the tree and stagger around the rear yard with the more sober and less gravitationally challenged crows busily laughing at them, until they too fall prey to the alcohol or an insufficiently strong branch.

Middle schoolers do not require alcohol to reach this level of giddy excitement, try putting on a lunchtime dodge-ball tournament for example. They laugh at their compatriots missteps and pratfalls with extraordinary gusto, and unbelievable as it may seem, it is an observable fact that middle schoolers can fall out of their chairs with no provocation at all.

Nest building has its parallels as well. I was watching a crow struggle with a very large branch, dragging it across my neighbor’s roof. The endeavor was way too ambitious for the bird, who upon reaching the edge of the roof, took off with branch in beak, and tumbled with a flap or two of its overtaxed wings to the ground. Common sense would say, utilize some of the bits that have broken off, but no, our crow drags the branch across the back yard, scaring the poo out of the rabbit population, quietly engaged in destroying my lawn. Eventually, he (it had to be a boy) reached the far fence. He looked forlornly at the tree in which he was building his masterpiece, and did a series of jump/flaps before bowing to the inevitable and eating a fig or two.

The middle school equivalent...

Watch boys exit their car pool cars. They grab their stray bits of clothing, their book bag, their lunch, their lacrosse bag, their lacrosse stick, and their tri-fold poster for science fair. They look forlornly at the open trunk or car door and use their feet to try and close the door. As they move forward, one or more of the objects in their arms fall to the ground at a rate of one thing per step forward. If there is a friend in the vicinity, he will laugh, and if he happens to have a ball on his person, he will throw it at his overburdened friend and laugh even more...

So, the next time you see either a group of raucous middle schoolers or a flock of crows (or seagulls for those of you with a coastal aspect) note the similarities. They get enthused about each other, and trash, and that is pretty much it.

The only advantage the human children have is that (for the most part) they grow out of this awkward stage…

And my nest building friend…he finally created an impressive stack of twigs on a very high branch, attracted a female by his loud calls and glossy sheen, and as the two of them were admiring each other, the whole thing fell to earth…

The laughter of their friends was deafening!

And I am not saying crows are stupid...

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Comments 41 comments

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 5 years ago from India

Hehe...sounds like the poor birds have nothing to crow about!


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

We don't get crows in our garden, mostly starlings and goldfinches. The starlings are the bullies of the neighbourhood, and the goldfinches get knocked out of the way of our feeders; the little beauties then go and sit in nearby trees to wait for their turn. Sadly for them, my boys usually pick this time to go out to play, and the goldfinches can then be heard screeching obscenities at the oblivious boys, demanding that they be allowed to eat in peace. I could sit and watch all of this from my kitchen window for hours :)

Lovely hub - I love the pictures you paint :)

Linda.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I do agree middle schoolers are comparable to animals - a bird is very nice of you Chris:) LOL you paint such a perfect picture of the scene I can imagine the kids running around with their gym bags. Our kids don't play Lacross - is that sort of like field hockey? Hmmm.

I have all the kids AND birds IN my house. All of them have attitude - yesterday Pedro asked me if I was Ok (he's an African grey) I sweetly said yes - then he said, "what are you lookin' at, huh?" omg! Even the birds sass me!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Feline Prophet,

I may be turning into cat, what with all this bird watching!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Lady Wordsmith,

Likewise!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

RealHo,

Seriously - there should be a camera crew at your house! Reality Housewife - a sense a hit!

C


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Clever Chris - I don't think I could hack one more thing in this house! Lol


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

I believe they just install little remote cameras all over your house - how much fun would that be!?

C


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

You go first!


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Can one stone middle school boys? Just a thought. Can one drink less wine before going to bed? Just another thought. We get exotic parrots in our pear tree, but they are generally well behaved and nothing at all like your boys, or crows. Lucky i suppose. Wouldn't it be sad without any crows? I said.........


graceomalley profile image

graceomalley 5 years ago

They said Alex the famous Grey Parrot had the intelligence of a five year old and the emotional development of a two year old.

Great hub, really enjoyed reading it.


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 5 years ago from Florida

This was fun to read, Chris. You developed the perfect metaphor, and I loved the video. Such great description of both species! Even though my students were older, I could identify.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Reality Housewife Star...

Not on your life!

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Attempted Humor,

No stoning, no bb-guns, no real guns, no tazers, no cattle prods...talk about having to work with one hand behind your back!!!

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

graceomalley,

a) lovely to hear from you.

b) and they live to one hundred years old.

c) and there are many that would argue that the male of the species (human) never go much beyond the emotional maturity of a two year old...

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

mysterylady,

Thank you very much. I'm now back to my original idea of writing a field guide to teens. Might have a problem with the illustrations!

C


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 5 years ago from Florida

A field guide to teens - what a great idea! yes, the illustrations would be a problem.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Chris - if there were cameras in the house - it would constantly have to bleep out the curse words - from me while cleaning and the birds:) they have potty mouths! Bad birds!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Real,

I suppose that they learned that from the TV?

I can hardly imagine you with a potty mouth, so stop copying the parrots and everything will be fine...

I can see you are warming to the idea :)

C


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Who'd be a teacher?


sueroy333 profile image

sueroy333 5 years ago from Indiana

I love this! My master-instructor and I were having a discussion about a "gang" of crows that have been hanging out on his back deck and pecking away at his back screen door. It makes perfect sense to compare them to middle schoolers. We're pretty sure they think the reflection of themselves in the window behind the screen is the competition (as this is mating season). So, every few hours they come back to have a "go" at those tough crows that just. won't. leave.

LOL!! Idiots.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Keith,

Actually...

I liked 90% of the job, which is pretty high I think,

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Sue,

I know right!

Don't forget to add "bless their little cotton socks" at the end of a statement involving middle schoolers/ crows!

C


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

When we moved into our house there was a huge baseball diamond across the street that no one ever used. I loved it as I could take my dogs over there for a nice run. Then the city decided to close three of the elementary schools and build a huge super school to house all the students from the closed schools. They chopped down all the trees where the birds hung out and now instead of the chirping I get to hear the children screaming and playing outside at recess and at lunch time. If I had my druthers I would want the birds back. No offence to children but they can get loud.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Susan - oh boy - you need an pellet gun. Pick the loud ones off:)!

Just kidding?!?!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Just Ask Susan,

I understand. The "joyful" sounds of a playground can easily turn into screaming competitions and be like the proverbial nails on a chalkboard!!

I would rather have birds, minus the crows of course!

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

RealHo,

You get a sniff of a reality show and you go all Palin on us.

No shooting of children, bad housewife...

C


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Theyre just pellets Chris! Lol!

Palin! Wow - now there's a blast from the past (I really hope we can say that soon!) she's too busy sitting on her butt on the front porch watching the Russians to do anything that could be more valuable.

I've been telling you Chris - I am a very bad housewife! But I cook a mean meatloaf so these people are keeping me around.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

RH thanks I think I have a few paint ball guns around here somewhere :)


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Real,

I normally avoid all political references being rather more of the liberal bent than seems popular here on hubpages, but, honestly, is it too much to ask that lawmakers be both intelligent and caring?

Have to love Sara though, if only for her wholesale slaughter of syntax and grammar- no one else does it quite like her, also.

I do think mounting a stuffed head of a middle schooler as a trophy could serve as a warning to the more miscreant members of the middle years!

Now, paint ball pellets, there is an idea that has not been fully discussed!

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

JAS,

You ladies might be onto something here...C


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Even better idea Susan! Haha!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Crows, kids, what's the difference?


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Hi Chris - really good hub. I have always had the greatest admiration for the crow family - they are smart cookies, probably much smarter than humans.

After all, we flog ourselves to death working hard all our lives to buy stuff - they build a nest once a year and then just have to feed themselves ... and a few babies in Spring - the rest of the time they are as free as a bird ... :)


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Austinstar,

In a word...feathers.

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Angie,

Thanks for dropping on by...would you like a fig?

C


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

Thanks Chris - just put one out ...


ahbless profile image

ahbless 5 years ago

I woked with teens for years as a substitute teacher and they are humans that need to be treated like they matter. Just be real with them and find out their interests and use good judgment if you have it to deal with them. The people who have so much trouble with teens are the people who expect teens to act like they are totally dependent on their parents for every thought and action and word they say. Don't talk down to teens and don't be afraid of their awareness of life and what they want to do with theirs. Parents, build your relationship with teens from birth and don't stop hanging out with your child. You are the one who dropped the ball.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

ahbless,

We are having a little fun at their expense here, but of course you are right. For over twenty years I have used the credo "treat tenns like they are adults but remember they are children". Mutual respect is incredibly important, as is active, positive parenting. No developmental stage should be just left alone, guidance, support and boundaries are as important to a teen as to a two year old.

Thanks for reading and leaving a comment,

C


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

True Chris - I suppose I should indicate the "just kidding" disclaimer:). I love kids and spend most of my time with them. Like you, sueroy, Austinstar - you know the cool kids:). (Just kidding!)


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Real,

I got taken to task a little bit there, huh? The thing is, you end up writing for your regular readers and forget what it may sound like to a new reader - I guess I need to be a bit more careful,

We laugh because we care!

C

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