Aug 02, 2019, 06:29AM

Arthritis in the Avian Community

It’s a serious problem. For me, at least. I’m assuming everyone else as well. 

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My joints hurt. Specifically, my left claw. It aches, and sometimes, it throbs. I know I’m old but I’m not old enough for arthritis. Maybe it’s tendinitis, or sciatica of the hackle—I don’t know. I’m not a doctor, but I am a published author. Medical science has never deigned to study my family or me so I’m not exactly sure why I’m supposed to take anything they say at face value. No one knows how we’ve been able to live so long, not even us. We don’t question it—would you? Of course not. Being “hundreds of years old” (referencing your terminology, not mine. Monica and I feel like a million bucks every day) hasn’t affected any of my capabilities yet. But now, I begin to face old age, and thus, my death. I don’t mean to get “heavy,” but my hackle hurts and it’s dark and raining and loud outside. I’m moody. I’m not quite goth, but I could get there. I apologize if my thoughts are scattered; my body is failing me. I am not living my best life.

And my sleep isn’t what it used to be… but then again, what is? Even if I’m in bed at midnight and sleep in until 10 a.m. or even 11, I’m still tired. It’s more than physical. It affects how I see the world and how I think. I’m more paranoid when I don’t get good sleep. I think everyone is watching me, that I’m followed, that I’m going to die a horrible death.

I don’t brag, because mental illness is a serious issue that afflicts millions and millions of people across the world. Having said that, I think I have a brain tumor, and also small fibers that are somehow organic are growing out of my skin, under my feathers, and giving me the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life: to be gaslit by my wife, my cousin, and every doctor I’ve visited. They say I have “Morgellons,” I say that sounds cool. He sounds like an explorer, or possibly a grifter. I like grifters, I trust them—usually they have my best interests in mind. Anyway, Joni Mitchell and I have the same allegedly “psychosomatic delusion” so I’m pretty cool.

My fingers still hurt and my eyes are rheumy. How long until Nicky Smith gives up and stops taking my calls? He must know that I’ll outlive him, that I’ve had dozens of interpreters, secretaries, assistants, and transcribers before him. He’s not special, and he adds nothing to my work. Yes, he types out these articles via dictation from me. Yes, he runs my Twitter account. No, he has never editorialized or betrayed me on either platform.

I’m an independent rooster and that’s hard to swallow for most people: I haven’t been defenestrated unlike most of my kind. I have seen more horrors than Col. Kurtz could ever imagine. I won’t go into it because that’d be blue; it’d be rude. Despite the fact that I am in pain, severe pain in fact (how am I to deal with not only the physical implications of arthritis but the crushing blow to my already fragile psyche?), I continue to speak because my voice needs to be heard. And I think about this because I am bird, hear me squawk. Not even arthritis can stop me.

—Follow Rooster Quibbits on Twitter: @RoosterQuibbits


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