Arts and Culture

Victory is partially mine! How I defeated a pigeon but not a chicken on a moped (video)

Since time immemorial, man has dreamed of flight. We now know that was a stupid dream, because yesterday I proved once and for all -- on behalf of myself and all mankind, except for Erin Roberts, who was wearing a chicken suit like some kind of fucking Benedict Arnold -- that not only is man superior to birds in every way, but he can also win a race with one on a bicycle. Well, to be fair, I didn't actually, like, win win the race, but I did soundly defeat that Stupid Pigeon, which is what counts. And the decks were stacked against me.

I was privileged to be the first person to check out a pigeon from MCA Denver's brand-new Thinking About Flying exhibit, where museum patrons can take a pigeon home and let it go, to fly back home to the roost on MCA's roof -- I intended to prove I could do it faster on a bicycle. Evidently, I was correct, because that pigeon took its damn sweet time about it.

How it works, exhibit artist Jon Rubin explained to me, is that the pigeons are brought to their roost and allowed to fly around a little, get the lay of the land. Then they take them about a mile out and allow them to fly back. Then they take them two miles out, four miles out and so on -- so each time the pigeon makes it back, its range is doubled. Basically, by checking out the pigeons, museum visitors are participating in their training. The one I took, Little Rose, was the quickest back from a test flight the night before from "not too far away from the Westword office," a distance it covered in about three minutes. Clearly, MCA was not planning on making it easy for me. In fact, MCA was proving to be a formidable opponent, having entered, in addition to the Stupid Pigeon, their executive assistant, Erin Roberts, into the race, who promised to race in a chicken suit. What she didn't tell me was that she'd be racing on a moped. It was far from my least pleasant surprise of the day. In my online poll to predict who would win the race -- despite the fact that I clearly marked who was the best bet (me) -- I was grievously trailing, and when polls closed at race time, I came in with just 18.3 percent of the vote; the Stupid Pigeon took 30.8 percent, and Erin Roberts was the winner by a landslide with 50.89. Not to be discouraged, I ate four last-minute steaks, got on my bike and GOT FUCKING PSYCHED. The countdown began. The Pigeon was released. The race was on.

Then, in an utterly heinous turn of events, the chain fell off my bike.

It took me only about 45 seconds to replace it, but it would prove to be a crucial, as the traitorous Roberts ended up pulling off a win by -- this is not even a lie -- about 45 seconds. So the polls were correct in that sense, and Roberts was the technical winner of the race, much like Apollo Creed was the technical winner of the pivotal fight in the original Rocky, meaning it was an empty victory and I hope her ice cream falls off her ice cream cone and lands in Australia and I hate her.

The pigeon, on the other hand, was nowhere to be found until over an hour later, when it made its leisurely return, suggesting that my map projecting the Pigeon's route was in fact correct.

But regardless of whether Erin won technically or I won in the hearts and minds of everybody, I think we can take some important lessons from all this: 1. John Henry died in vain; and 2. Mankind was never meant to fly, but why would we even want to, because flying is for pigeons and pigeons are stupid.

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Jef Otte
Contact: Jef Otte