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1001 uses for bird wire

By Bradford J. Senning
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 2, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Pigeons leave a lot of shit on campus. They are messy and intractable. They have to be stopped. UA Facilities Management put sedatives into birdseed to make the pigeons chill out. When that didn't work, they scared them off with plastic owls and rubber snakes. But the pigeons caught on that those owls and snakes were not living.

Facilities Management has another idea now. Exposed electrical wires. Pigeons seeking rest on the eaves of buildings will now be administered a mild electrical shock.

I am not up on a lot of trends, so I did not hear about these bird wires before now. I knew that electricity was used to make coffee and run my Go-Bots. But I did not hear about shocking pigeons.

Now that I know, I can say without even thinking beforehand bird wires are a good invention. And I think we should use them on a grander scale.

They say that pigeons are as dumb as rocks. That's why we use things like electricity to educate them. Well, I know plenty of things around the UA about as dumb as my lunch. May I suggest using bird wire on them as well.

Jim Van Arsdale could use a jolt. Residence Life Director Van Arsdale proposed a plan to kick students out of the dormitories after a year of residency so that there could be more rooms for incoming freshmen. We could zap him when he raises his finger another time to propose dumb new policy changes.

Or Residence Life could use the bird wire for population control. Beds could be rigged with bird wire so that whenever couples stir from sexual activity, they will receive a mild electrical shock. Not only will this force about 99 percent of the residence hall population off-campus, but anti-abortion activists will be pleased with the increase in abstinence.

"Two birds with one wire," they will say. And we will all have a big laugh.

Give 1,000 volts to Peter Likins whenever he winks at agreements with private corporations. And for signing a deal with the devil Nike. Wire the convex insides of his glasses, for when he sees things wrong.

I met with Likins recently. He said to me and five members of Students Against Sweatshops, "Corporate executives have the same moral views as you do."

Anybody with that much faith needs bird wire enough to zap the bats out of his brain.

We can wire podiums in classrooms. Let us zap professors who pretend at certain moments of bombastic lecturing that the divine afflatus is descending upon them. (Silent. Eyes up. Palms out. "Sing heavenly muse.")

We could also wire desks to administer 75 volts to classmates who preface their remarks with, "I was just going to say. . ." or ask, "Are we going to be tested on this?"

Facilities Management can rig the stair railing in front of ASUA Bookstore to prevent skateboarders from riding the rails. Zap them in mid-ride and have someone like Nelson from "The Simpsons" come out and laugh at them when they fall. Or perhaps we should zap the brainiac who decided installing rail knobs was a good plan.

I was lying, by the way, about bird wire being a new trend. Bird wire has a long history. Geoffrey Chaucer, the first important English poet, wrote about it in "The Parliament of Fowls" in 1380. "String up thyne wire on top of college roofes / and zap the pigeons for shytting" (II.68-69).

I don't know why after six centuries we haven't started using bird wire on a grander scale. Let us wire stuff around the world for all the dumb things that happen. Since we are a college campus, we should set the educated example.

"Put electricity to work for America," I heard or imagined Clinton say last week during his visit to Tucson. Since President Clinton is an authority on dumb things, he might appreciate such a preventative plan.