There’s a rooster on the loose at work. I’ve seen him.
I slowed my car and rolled down the window next to him. His emerald feathers glittered, his comb flopped on his handsome head like a pompadour.
He’s the Elvis Pressley of farm animals – in a business park.
If he were a she – if the rooster were a hen – we might have missed her. She’d cluck by, head down in search of grain. She’d settle on a nest to tend to eggs rather than preen roadside, she of understated earth-colored plumage. It reveals the nature of nature.
Flashy males of all species – with glossy feathers and proud mains and enormous red asses – represent the ultimate in vanity.
Maybe we miss nature’s intent. Maybe it’s nature’s call for the green mallard and red cardinal to divert attention. To attract the enemy, the predator, the threat. To butt heads with other rams to defend our mates and mothers and daughters.
The day men stop spending more than $13.99 for a haircut?
Maybe we’ll be that noble, too.
1. Is the boy or girl cardinal red?
It’s the boy.
The mom cardinal sports feathers of light brown with flecks of red. She’ll stay in the nest and protect the eggs. She might sing when she’s hungry, and the dad cardinal brings her take-out. That’s not sexist. It’s chivalrous. It’s also chivalrous that a boy cardinal’s red feathers protect his nest.
He’s potentially a quick lunch for a hungry hawk. Say there’s a hungry hawk around, and you’re a boy cardinal. You’ll raise a ruckus to draw that hungry hawk to hone in on you, not your family. Maybe the boy cardinal can lead that hungry hawk away from the nest.
And maybe even that boy cardinal can disrupt the food chain for another day.
Probably the mom cardinal has picked that boy cardinal for those bright red feathers. If you’re a boy cardinal and you’re bright red and can sing? It’s like being Ryan Reynolds with Bruce Hornsby’s voice.
2. Why does the world have different languages?
So that we can say cardenal (Spanish), kardinali (Swahili) and shuji zhujiao (Chinese).
The bible says we once all spoke the same language. That makes arguments in a World Cup match between a Columbian defender and a Korean forward with a German referee in the middle much less interesting. Speaking the same language wasn’t healthy for mankind, though. They fraternized and built a monument to their own awesomeness. This displeased God.
So he afflicted us with 6,500 languages, not including dialects of southern Georgia. That’s tons of translation books and Google searches to unite the people again. Let’s hope Esperanto-speaking geeks don’t mix in with architects. We’ve seen that movie.
3. If someone shot a gun in our window, and it hit our fish tank and ruined our TV and everything, who would pay for that?
It depends, says Amy of Independent Insurance Associates in Fort Mill.
“Did you catch the guy who did it?”
If not, you still can file a claim for damage incurred. A stray bullet in our window would anger me for a couple of reasons. You girls, of course. (This question came after we heard gunshots close to the house one night.) And second, the gun-toting jackass would have killed innocent goldfish.
“You could give the fish a proper burial, and start a new tank in their memory,” Amy says. Good call. I’d like to donate our TV to the Smithsonian. It’s old as Elise, and has a tube and everything.
4. What does the purple on the weather map mean?
(Rockies fever could be a bitmapped square in the middle of Weld County, Colorado. My poor Rockies. It’s just Spring Training, and already it feels like the Dog Days of Summer. Rockies Fever is just a scratchy throat and runny nose.)
Like theories of why animal males strut like Rudy Galindo at the Ice Capades, it depends on your map. Colors on a weather map represent decibels of Reflectivity, or Dbz. That’s how much power reflects back to the radar receiver.
Check accuweather.com. Shades of green represent rain intensity. It deepens from 1970s Oakland A’s green to old-school Milwaukee Bucks jersey green. Light snow is like Grand Valley State blue. The heavy stuff looks like Kansas City Royals blue.
Ice starts at Breast Cancer Awareness cleats pink for the light stuff. Texas Christian Horned Frogs deep purple means heavy ice. Light mixed precipitation is a periwinkle unfit even for nebraska or the red wings.
The heavy mixed stuff? That’s the beautiful Rockies purple.
5. What was your part of the job at the pizza place?
I worked for two pizza joints when in college – Pizza Two Go (see what they did there?) and Sambino’s (I worked there two weeks before I realized it wasn’t Bambino’s.)
I worked with a budding comedian at Pizza Two Go. We spent Friday nights smacking each other in the head with pizza shovels. At Sambino’s, I worked with dudes from a band that never made it. (They shouldn’t have quit their day jobs.)
At each place, I took orders and built pies. Beautiful pies. Me making pizza was like having Shaggy work at Subway.
Love shows in pizza. No matter what language you speak.