Pigeons And The “New Normal”

These days, everybody and his sister is yipping about “The New Normal” as if it were as inevitable as death and taxes.  The predictions run the gambit from “We’re all screwed!” to “The light at the end of the tunnel is utopia calling.”  Okay, we’re never going back to pre-Covid, but, I’m tellin’ you for a fact, our world’s “old normal” has just way too much in-your-face ego to give up without a fight.  We walk this planet with the swagger of a samurai gunfighter with a chip on his shoulder.  We do as we please, and no wiggly little bug is going to change that.  Even as we speak, Big Pharma is callin’ Covid out to finish this fight in the laboratory, and take a wild guess who’s going to win?  Boot Hill is full of tough little bastard diseases (cholera, typhus, bubonic plague) who thought they could ambush us and come out on top.  Wrong!  So, yeah, things are going to change but not that much — and I can prove it.

Next week, in the middle of the worst crisis in human history, there’s going to be an auction at Versailles.  You remember Versailles, Louis XIV’s 700-room testimonial to the success and excess of 17th century French culture?  One of the items up for sale is a shoe (one shoe, not a pair) and the reserve bid is 10,000 Euros.  For a shoe?  Okay, it’s Marie Antoinette’s shoe … but there’s only one, and it isn’t even signed.  At least when Michael Jordan sells his shoes, he signs them — and they come in pairs.  Anyway, Jean-Pierre Osenat, the guy running the auction, is confident the shoe will sell for a lot more than the opening bid.  In other words, crisis or no, our world still has the time and money to pay exorbitant amounts for second-hand clothing.  But this isn’t even special because …

Last week, the Pipa Auction House of Belgium also had a sale.  It went quite well.  In fact, they set a record.  Somebody paid 2.4 million dollars for … a pigeon.  WTF?  To be fair, “New Kim” isn’t your average poop-on-a-park-bench pigeon; she’s a pedigreed racing pigeon.  Apparently, there’s a difference.  Now, I don’t know anything about pigeon racing, but I do know how much 2.4 million dollars is, and for that kind of money, this little bird better be one kick-ass fast pigeon!  She better be Usain Bolt strapped to an F-14 turbocharged Tomcat — cuz if she doesn’t come with a sonic boom, somebody just got robbed.  People don’t pay that kind of money for a Lamborghini, for God sake — and that’s 0-to-60 in 3 seconds!  Besides, where’s the prestige?  Pigeon racing?  It’s not exactly the Sport of Kings.  Hobby of the Urban Geek maybe, but …

“Hey, baby!  Wanna come back to my place and I’ll show you my pigeon?  It’s a really fast one.”

Not the greatest pickup line in the world.  I guess pigeon owners are just dedicated to the “sport,” and they don’t care what ordinary people do (kinda like Hula Hoop enthusiasts.)  But whichever way you cut that sausage, 2.4 million is a lot of money.

So here we are — elbow deep in what everybody’s calling “The Second Wave” — (Holy hell!  Is there going to be a third one?) and somebody out there is about to plunk down serious coin for a worn out bit of footwear.  Not only that, but somebody else has already paid seven figures for less than 7 pounds (3 kilos) of poultry.

I don’t know about you, but this “new normal” looks suspiciously like the “old normal” to me.