“There’s no problem so awful that you can’t add some guilt to it and make it worse” (Calvin in Bill Waterson’s Calvin and Hobbes).
I saw this in the last frame of a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon in the the mid-eighties and for some reason it stuck with me in the back of my mind all these years. I had no idea that I would understand this completely twenty something years later.
I found out exactly what it feels like Monday night. While I was steaming some green beans on the stove, my daughter and I both dozed off. I woke up about an hour later to find that the water had boiled off and the Teflon coating of the pot had hazed up the apartment. Smoke from Teflon is highly toxic to birds. Actually, deadly.
As soon as I saw what had happened I shut the kitchen down and opened the door and some bedroom windows. I took Gabby’s little Parakeet outside but she was dead by the time I got her there. While I was in the middle of this little drama, Gabby came and said that Jaz, my beloved Congo African Grey parrot was also in distress. I found her trying to climb back up to her favorite spot but she was just to weak to get back up there. I knew what was happening. I wrapped her in a towel, took her outside and petted her head and stroked her beak and then she died right in my hands. She had another 60 years ahead of her.
I really hate myself right now.