Conspiracy Pigeons

Sunde White illustrates a weird conspiracy theory about pigeons and power lines

Power to the pigeons!

I was at Trader Joe’s today to pick up a couple of free range chickens for Thanksgiving.  It was very busy due to the holiday.  At the checkout, I let the young cashier know I was a bossy bagger so no need to bag my groceries, I’d do it.

“Oh cool, thanks!  That helps a lot with how busy it is.  Everyone’s stocking up for Thanksgiving.” He told me as he began scanning my groceries and sliding them down to me.

“That’s why I’m here.” I said. “I wanted my free range chickens.”

“We have Cornish Game Hens too.” He said.

“Oh, that’s cool.” I said.

“I’ve never had one, to be honest.  I don’t even know if they’re any good.” He admitted.  “I don’t really know why I told you about them.”

“Oh, I appreciate it, I think a lot of people like them.  But for me they’re so small that they’re a lot work to eat.  Like, I’d rather just have a full sized chicken, honestly.”  I held my hands up to my mask, mimicking eating a teeny tiny drumstick with my pinkies up.

“Oh ya.” Then charmingly and just out of curiosity he asked, “What do you think the littlest animal is that people eat?”

“I think it might be a squab.” He looked at me curiously. “It’s a pigeon.  I had one in a restaurant years ago and I grossed out because it looked like I was eating a rat.” I said.

“Well, they are called flying rats.” He said.  We laughed. “There’s so many of them.” He said.

“Well, that’s not their fault.”  I said.

“That’s true.  Have you heard that some people think the government invented pigeons and control them to spy on us?” he continued. “It’s like an online conspiracy.”

“Oh my god! No way!  Why do they think that?” I asked.

“Because they sit on power lines.”  I didn’t get it so he continued.   “They’re like government machines that power up on the power lines.  Like, how do they sit up there without getting electrocuted?”

“Well, my husband’s an electrician.  I think it has something to do with them not being a complete circuit so the electricity can’t travel through them or something.”

He nodded to himself as he pushed my groceries down to me. “But what about chimpanzees, how they have thumbs, would they be able to swing on a power line because their thumbs and fingers would touch?”

“Well,” I said, trying to remember one of Britt’s many explanations on this.  (He is actually passionate about electricity and will happily explain it to me for hours.)  “I think the chimpanzee would have to be touching either a neutral, unpowered line at the same time or have a toe on the ground to get electrocuted because electricity wants to keep traveling through things, if the chimp’s not touching something, the electricity disappears.   But it’s still super dangerous for him to be up there, ‘monkeying around’”  I laughed at my dumb joke.

All my groceries were almost scanned through and packed up.

“We’ve covered a lot today.”  I told him.

“Ya.” He laughed. “Go Google about those pigeons.  But make sure you have the time in case you get stuck going down rabbit holes.”

“Okay. In fact I should have someone with me so they can bring me back to reality.” I laughed and started to push my cart.

“Ya,” he said. “Be careful out there! Thanks for bagging!”

I waved good bye.

But I did not Google that conspiracy theory.  I will not Google that conspiracy theory.  I will be a good citizen and use common sense and deductive reasoning when told about conspiracy theories.  I thought about how long pigeons have existed.  They have existed long before electricity and power lines. They have existed since before the US government was created.

“But how can you be sure of that, Sunde?  Where are the photos of them?” You ask me.

Once upon a time there weren’t any cameras so people made art to create a representative of living things, that’s how.  A long time ago people drew pigeons, wrote about pigeons, painted paintings of pigeons, cleaned pigeon poop off of public sculptures for thousands of years.  Also, I have rescued a few pigeons in my time and they are made of flesh and blood.  They do not have little plug ins on their feet to suck power out of the power lines.

I feel good that I combated a conspiracy theory today. Today was a good day. I avoided having my brain  sucked out of my body by my iphone while searching insane government conspiracy theories put in my head by a sweet Trader Joe’s employee.  I used deductive reasoning to decide that the government did not in fact create spy pigeons that feed off of power lines through their feet. I figured that out using my brain.  My special, special brain.

Pre-electricity pigeon!

Britt’s electricity illustration