Ozzie the Ostrich

Ostrich
August 5th, 2014
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As a catharsis, I have created many colorful creatures who represent the darker parts of me. They are the “saboteurs”, who rob me of joy, and undermine my capacity for joy and competence. One of these saboteurs is my tendency to hide myself from any threat, in the daft logic that if I cannot see my problems, they cannot see me. I imagine this part of me, not as the hideous alien, the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, but as a much more terrestrial ostrich. Here is its story:

Ozzie the ostrich is beautiful, among the greatest of birds, with snow white tail feathers, fluffy and perfect, and powerful legs that can outrun most creatures. He is a truly magnificent beast. But the forces of evolution have also shown a touch of humor and given him a ridiculous appearance in comparison to other birds. Nevertheless his hubris shows in his stance, preening his neck and strutting like his more beautiful cousin, the peacock. Evolution has judiciously pruned him of his capacity to fly, and replaced it with the capacity to run like no other bird, but it did not ask permission of his ego.

Therefore Ozzie runs and hides and often; he is a fearful animal, conscious of the laughter of the creatures around him. He believes hiself to be worthy of the admiration, and even worship, of all. Even though some admiration is warranted, he deludes hiself, imagining himself seated on an high throne, surrounded by lesser beings. But the reality is that he either flees or “disappears”, the former on his speedy limbs, or the latter by lowering his head to the ground, thinking that doing so will turn off the universe.

Since Ozzie’s percieves his wish for worship will never be granted, he wishes not to exist at all, or for the universe not to exist, because it forces existence on him. Ozzie craves invisibility or perfection.

If I were to paint a portrait of Ozzie, he would be wearing a judge’s wig and possibly a crown, but also the fabled emperor’s underwear. I would paint him from below, seated on a throne of authority, surounded by feathers, clouds and glory, with an entire people giving him formal obeisance, but a small child pointing to his obvious lack of covering with gleeful malice shining in its eyes. Some of his limbs would also be as transparent as air.

I first embrace Ozzie, and console him for his tragedy but recognize he is my mortal enemy.  Ozzie is beyond my help, and so, for both our sakes, I must sacrifice him. To do so, I will join in the mockery of him, to his horror, until he disappears in a cloud of self-imposed shame.

  • Juan

    Nice

  • Juan

    Hey Aaron, I’ve always been amazed at your english proficiency even though you are not native. How do you do it? i try to read a lot but i guess im not reading the right things…maybe you practice, reveal your secrets sir!

    • Hi Juan!

      This answer is a bit longer than I intended. The short answer is: my education.

      Here’s a more detailed answer:

      I think a lot has to do with my home town of La Ceiba, where the Standard Fruit Company (owners of the Dole brand) has its headquarters in Honduras.

      Most people with a high school education there are bilingual to some degree. However, I had the privilege to study at a bilingual preschool, elementary, middle and high school, and be taught by US teachers. Most of this was at Mazapan School, which is 87 years old, and was founded with the help of the Catholic Church. It is recognized as one of the best schools in Honduras.

      The interesting thing is that this education is now beyond the financial means of many members of the middle class. But, when I was younger, this was not so. Also, my father worked for Standard Fruit, and thus, had a discount.

      By the time I applied to college, I was in the 98th percentile of English skills as compared with standardized test takers in the US. I read voraciously, and my favorite classes in high school were English literature and creative writing. I was able to secure a full, 4-year scholarship at Harding University in Arkansas. For this I have to thank the Walton Scholarship, founded by the late Sam Walton, of Wal-Mart fame, and the generosity of his family after his death.

      Since graduating in 1998 I’ve lived in Honduras and Mexico. But, I continually read in English, and am exposed to English through television and movies. Even so, in the years that followed, I grew a little bit rusty in my conversation skills, because I hardly ever need to communicate verbally as opposed to writing.

      But in the last few years I’ve picked up on conversation because of my Master’s degree, where classes were held in English, and my work, where many of my clients and co-workers are in the US. My career, though, is in the completely unrelated field of computer science.

      • Juan

        Thanks for the detailed reply!, i get it now, i try to practice whenever i can but im often confused for a teenager or a kid when a try to write more than one sentence..haha, i need to practice more…and read more.

        How come you didnt pursue a career in the US? i’ve heard that there are great job positions for computer scientists over there.

        –Not Juan Cole, just random reader. 😉

        • At first I wasn’t allowed to stay by my scholarship agreement, but even later I perceived I wasn’t welcome. There is a lot of resentment between US ‘natives’ and immigrants, especially in tech, where we are seen as taking jobs away from natives. The legal hurdles I face as a Honduran are also greater than those Mexicans or Canadians have, because of NAFTA. If I were to immigrate to the US, I would like to live in a liberal city (NY/SF/Seattle, etc), where race or nationality isn’t as big an issue.

          • Hi, Aaron! Long time no chat. I hope things are going well for you.

            Disqus has been sending me snippets of this conversation because I follow you. I’m really sorry that you didn’t feel welcome in the US. Racism is alive and well in the US, though most people deny it. Even many of those who don’t think they are racists act that way in subtle ways. I saw that with the way El Jefe was treated and didn’t like it. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to move to Honduras. I’m being told it’s worse now after years of poor economy and the latest exodus from Central America.

            Of course, now I’m the one suffering some of that. It’s frustrating being treated like I am stupid because I don’t speak the language well enough or being told that I don’t “know” Honduras when I know that I know more about current events, the government, and the laws and constitution than 90% of the people who treat me that way. For example, I’ve seen tweets about something the constitution supposedly says from one presidential candidate and another who seems to be gearing up for the next election that I KNOW to be false! Seems like if you want to president, you ought to at least read the damn constitution before you tweet about it, doesn’t it?

            Oh, well. It’s not something that I worry about, but just wanted to say that it seems that immigrants can be treated poorly in any country. Not making excuses for the US at all. I’ve been extremely disappointed in the US for many years and have gotten a MUCH different impression of the things the US does after living abroad for 14 years.

            It goes without saying that your English is better than most native-born US Americans.

          • Thanks Gringa,

            I can’t imagine how frustrating that must be. Honduras is a difficult place to live for everyone.

            I’m getting used to being an immigrant, and the price that we have to pay. It’s been 6 years in Mexico now and I haven’t made a lot of legal headway because of my sometimes poor attempts at navigating bureaucracy.

            But the benefits are worth the price I think. I am happier here than at home. I know that if I went further north I would eventually feel at home too after a few years.

    • Would you by any chance be Juan Cole? But, even if you’re not, thanks for visiting my blog!

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