Adrenalin (noun): a chemical produced by your body when you are afraid, angry, or excited, which makes your heart beat faster.
Affirmative to that … it’s now spring and it was a time that in the past has made me, in the case of what I’m about to explain, mostly afraid and angry about something that weighed less than the handful of scallops that I cooked recently.
Now given that I was then a sizeable citizen and not supposed to be afraid of piss-ant things … read 192 centimetres and somewhere between 94-104 kilograms (although I’m a trim 87 kilograms now) … what was it that got my adrenal glands working overtime?
It was an Indian myna and it made parts of my life a misery for two years ... and it became known as the great war of Albert Park.
The declaration of conflict was set in stone when the myna and its partner decided that the eaves under my front verandah were the ideal place to do their AV Jennings thing and raise a family … to whit, a nest.
Once the bird version of the suburban three-bedroom brick veneer (with pergola) was established, the aggressor decided that whenever I left the house I was a Hitler to its Poland. Every time I walked out the front door, it would be sitting on the fence post, staring a mad stare at me (think Julie Bishop) and screaming like a cross between Jimmy Barnes and Bon Scott, but always in tune. It never bothered anyone else. Just me.
Then the attacks got really personal.
My girlfriend and I had just returned from the local plant nursery. I was laden with punnets of seedlings and a bag a potting mix. We were walking to the front gate when the screaming myna came straight at me like Casey Stoner dropping it down a cog and trying to overtake. I raised an arm to frighten it and all I succeeded in doing was to provide a target.
First blood to the myna. The feathered Rambo left a beak hole (and yep it hurt, heaps) in the top of my right arm. There was blood running down my arm.
The attacks became more concentrated. Every time I walked out of the house, the screaming myna would swoop at me, each time getting up close and real personal, while on my part, frantic arm waving and the occasional scream of my own were the only things to save me from again bleeding on the street.
It got to a point where I was frightened. I mean, I went to the pub occasionally at night and this bastard was hard to see in the dark, although I could hear it, usually from about 20 metres away.
After a couple of really close calls, I took drastic action.
The neighbours thought it was a great joke, watching me, a grown man by this time armed with an ice-hockey stick, on the street doing my best Wayne Gretzky impersonation and trying to belt the bird into the back of an imaginary net. No score, apparently I was swinging the way I’d imagine Boy George would swing a hockey stick. I missed every time.
A walk down the street to the local 7Eleven became a nightmare … the myna started to follow me for a 100 or so metres and it would swoop multiple times, screaming as it went. Again, neighbours laughed.
What to do? Like the real bloke I am, I took a break interstate. A mate and I were heading to Adelaide for the cricket and he was picking me up in a cab. I’d warned him about my feathered foe and as I put my bag into the boot of the cab, I stood up and was attacked. The myna hit my hair. Yeah, it was that close. Maybe it would be an eye the next time. My mate’s flabber was gasted.
I was away for five days. When I got home, the cab pulled up a few houses down from mine and I was ready. I was wearing a disguise … dark glasses and a broad-brimmed hat. I thought I was home scot free. Well no.
As soon as I stood up after getting out of the cab, my mongrel, free-loading border came at me – I reckon it was screaming the chorus of Dirty Deeds done Dirt Cheap — and collected the brim of my hat.
Yeah, the driver and my mate thought it was a great joke. It wasn’t.
It really came to a head (not mine, although not for a lack of trying on the myna’s part) when I walked to the pub to get a couple of takeaway beers and a bottle of wine.
The myna swooped me six or so times until I got to the lane. It had never followed me down there before, but this time, the bird’s bravado kicked in. It followed me for about 50 metres down the lane, having a screaming crack at me every 20 or so metres. Then it was gone, probably for an afternoon tea of worm snacks or other shit prepared by the missus back at my place. God knows.
Then came my one moment of triumph in the great war of Albert Park.
There I was, carrying my alcoholic booty, walking up the street towards my house, about 50 or so metres away. There was a hand-holding couple walking towards me.
Enter the maniacal myna.
There it was, doing more clicks than is reasonable for a small bird, barrelling straight at me at about chest height … and doing its best Barnsey impersonation.
I braced myself … it’s either it or me, I thought.
Closer, closer it came and, whack, I punched it (it would have decked Rocky) right out of the air and over a parked car and onto the road. My timing was perfect. The hand holders stopped dead in their tracks, mouths agape, and stared in disbelief.
I walked onto the road and there was the myna, standing, stunned, and no doubt thinking something along the lines of “Jesus, what the hell was that?”
I’ve won, I thought, it can’t come back from this.
Well, not for a couple of days anyway … and then it started all over again.
And then spring was gone, so too the myna.
At least until the next year and it started all over again.
There was just one thing to do. I later moved house. Enough adrenalin rushes.
My new house was about a kilometre away and I was welcomed by a friendly family of magpies.
But that’s another story.
ME IN A NUTSHELL
- G’day, I’m Michael and I have two fantastic grown-up kids. I’m a jeans and singlet/T-shirt, cowboy boot, tattoos sort of fella, who knows a bit about this and sometimes a lot about that. I'll have a crack at most things, although having a relationship? ... well that ship has sailed. I'm past my use-by date anyway, so I'm gonna make it all about me and surviving life as I know it ... or make it.