People In The Bird Kingdom: The Yellow Redundant

And The Fluff-Feathered, Cash-Encrusted Hornswaggle


by Bernard Levy



On a recent trip to the rugged Oregon coast, I happened upon a flock of Blue-Tailed, Green-Clothed Birders.  With optics of every description, they were loaded to their neck feathers. I asked them if they ever compared the birds they viewed with people.  They recoiled in unison and treated me as if they had happened upon the Foul-Smelling, Black-Tailed Bromgruble.  They bid me a hasty adieu and ran, not walked, down the beach to put distance between us.


Recognizing that I had not been “Hail fellowed, well met,” I found a driftwood log upon which to cogitate.


It’s easy to recognize bird counterparts in people.  Why, it’s in our lexicon: “He’s a strange bird,” or “Birds of a feather flock together.”


I have since ceased my personal inquiries and retired to a higher level of exposition, the written page.


Many persons resemble birds.  Why, there are Red-Headed Frinsks (Hotheads), Purple-Stripped Grashs (Fops), Yellow-Redundants and Fluff-Feathered, Cash-Encrusted  Hornswaggles, to name a few.  Before those persons clothed in white carrying what appears to be a restraining jacket finish talking with the Birders, who are pointing up the beach toward me, let me tell you about my experiences with the Redundant and the Horsnwaggle.


I haven’t seen a Yellow-Redundant in a long time.  Once is enough; the memory lasts forever.  A Y.R. approached me at my desk when I was a budding, not-yet-fully-petaled accountant.  Once a Redundant is focused on making your acquaintance, there is no escape.  The first clue is its gait; forward, then backward or sideways and forward again.  This agonizingly slow process forebodes a prolonged conversation.  Recognizing the inevitable, I kissed the bank reconciliation good-bye that I had been completing.  Yes, I actually kissed it; I loved accounting.


“Pardon me. Yes, pardon me. But are you an accountant? Yes, an accountant?”


I tried to avoid eye contact, but a force more powerful than GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) forced my head upward until I gazed into its yellow-pupiled eyes. Warning:  eye contact with a Redundant produces internal weeping.


He continued, “I’ve been thinking, yes, thinking, and I feel I have the stuff to be an accountant, yes, an accountant.  Just what do accountants, yes, accountants, do?  And, could it be fun, yes, fun?”


I don’t believe this poor sap could ever have fun, but I smiled weakly and thought fast.  This fellow could take up my entire afternoon, and I had to complete this reconciliation for tomorrow’s audit.  Then I spied good old Crochet Bob drifting down the hall.  He was a kindly man who dutifully wore the crocheted ties his wife lovingly made for him, hence his nickname.  He would be perfect to introduce this Y.R. to accounting. Recognizing my chance for escape, I offered, “Yes, yes, it can be fun, real fun.  (There you have it; when you meet a Y.R., you repeat yourself, you have no choice. It’s a curse, a curse, I tell you.)  “See that fellow down the hall?  That’s Bob Johnson.  He’ll tell you all about accounting.  You’ll enjoy his words, yes words, of wisdom.”  I prayed the Y.R. would take the bait.


“Thank you, thank you.  I knew you could help me, yes, help me.  I know I’m going to like accounting, yes, accounting.”  And, he began his short, but lengthy, journey down the hall.


The Yellow Redundant is in sharp contrast to the Fluff-feathered, Cash-Encrusted Hornswaggle.


Hornswaggles are found everywhere politicians gather.  Originally indigenous to Texas and the southern states, they now reside everywhere.


Once on the brink of extinction, their rampant resurgence endangers others including the Red-Crested Sincere Sucker, the Blue-Billed Bureaucrat and the Green-Legged Thinking Turntuck.


I’ve met several Hornswaggles.  They are famous for their adaptability and ability to rationalize everything in a boisterous, arrogant manner, enhancing their foraging skills and resulting in acquisitions of success such as diamonds, Rolexes, Political Action Committee funds and gold beakpicks.


Again, gait gives them away.  They have an excessive strut, expanding their chests to immense proportions and promising other species extraordinary results from ordinary events.


In establishing nesting grounds in federal and state executive offices and legislatures, their feathers provide good cover for their accumulated cash encrustments, allowing them to do great acts of goodness for themselves and providing smokescreens for their ill-gotten wealth.  They constantly spread their wings and gather others into their fold with much camaraderie.


Hornswaggles are masters at deception, obfuscation and … Oh, oh.  Here come those white-clothed fellows on the run pointing at me. Enough said.  I’m going to turn myself into a Fleet-Footed Fork-Tailed Beach Runner and make for a safer place.  But, you’ll hear from me again. “awrk, awrk, beep, beep.”