Sunday, July 19, 2009

Shat Upon

So I'm sitting at the Shakespeare-in-the-park production of The Tempest on Saturday night, chilling out, enjoying a nice picnic with friends, and this was apparently just too much for the universe to take. Maybe, in a nod to the play's story, I offended some powerful sorcerer and he used his command of supernatural forces to shit on me. That would explain a lot.

You might be saying "Mark, the phrase 'shit on me' is pretty crude." Well, put your monocle back on, Wealthy Dowanger, I wasn't using it as a euphemism. A bird literally shit on me. I was eating a cookie, getting ready for the show to start, and BAM, I suddenly feel something hit me in the head. Immediately, I ran through a mental list of what it could be --- rain drop, acorn, apple, flying squirrel who just had a stroke, a monocle dropped by an offended wealthy dowanger who was just told a ribald joke while flying above the city in her zeppelin, etc. If only. It was, rather, a big ol' bird turd.

As noted, we were having a picnic, so napkins were available for me to clean off my head. I did, however, have to lean over and ask my friend Jessica, "Is there still any crap on my head?" (This will probably be the only time I utter that phrase, unless I start dating a German.) Given my shaved head, cleaning it off was actually not all that difficult a task. I was also informed by the others that getting crapped on by a bird is allegedly a sign of good luck. What kind of logic is that? Once you've hit the humiliation of being shat upon, anything afterwards would seem like good luck. Between that and my backhanded fortune cookie*, it was not a lucky night for ol' Mark.

* = "Financial opportunity will present itself." So, not that I'll actually get rich or anything, but rather just that at some point I'll have some chance, however vague, at making some cash, however large or small an amount. So if I pass a lottery kiosk, then my fortune has some true. This might seem like nit-picking, but when other people (i.e. Jessica) get fortunes like "You will get a financial reward beyond your wildest dreams," one can't help but feel short-changed.

Actually, my luck failed again later that night. After the play I went out to a casino fundraiser in support of my friends and their upcoming short film project. My $20 donation got me $500 worth of play money, which I then promptly lost at the poker table in about an hour. Upon arriving at the pub, I went straight to the restroom to wash my hands and make sure my head was totally feces-free. A pub employee was washing his hands at the same time, thus leading to this insane conversation.

Me: Excuse me, this may sound kind of strange, but is there anything on my head?
Him (vague Russian accent, which made it even funnier): Oh, that's normal. You just shaved your head, right?
Me: Uh, yes...
Him: What you're feeling is a few little hairs growing back in. It's like instant stubble.
Me: Uh, ok. Actually, a bird crapped on me earlier tonight and I was just wondering if any of it was left.
Him: Oh. No, you're fine.

How surreal. I've gotta say, having never served as a bird's toilet before, it isn't a fun experience. Ironically, I may have brought this on myself years earlier. I was walking down Queen Street with my buddy Trev years ago when we were in Toronto for a U2 concert, and wouldn't you know it, some passing fowl dropped something foul onto Trevor's Michigan Wolverines t-shirt. (No truth to the rumor that the bird's name was Rich Rodriguez.) We made a small detour to Sears so he could buy a new t-shirt, but what I remember most about the incident was saying, "Wow, you'd figure if either of us was going to be shit on, it would've been me. It would've been funnier." Eight years later, here we are. My working theory is that Trevor and I are sort of like Desmond and Charlie on LOST --- he has some advance knowledge of my future, and thus is trying to protect me from the universe's whims. But, just like on the show, the universe has a way of course-correcting. Come to think of it, the plot of The Tempest is not unlike that of Lost (Prospero = Jacob?), so perhaps this is all just one cosmic joke at my expense. Poor form, fate. Poor form.

By the way, I spent a good five minutes trying to think up a witty Shakespeare-related title for this post. The top contenders were 'Shat-speare' and 'The Turd-pest,' but both titles might have implied that the production I saw was poor, which wasn't the case. I would hardly want to crap all over those fine actors' work just because I was crapped all over whilst watching them. I also considered 'Shat-turd-upon-a-mon' as a takeoff of Stratford-Upon-Avon, but that pun could only survive being that labored if I had a) been in Stratford at the time and b) been Jamaican, mon. My other thought was 'Iambic Pantload-ameter," but that would've been obscure, unfunny and inaccurate. Birds don't wear pants, silly.

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