His new school sits right next to a well-known park. The park is well-known because of the peacocks. There are a couple dozen of them, and they roam freely around the ground. People watch and photograph them.
Peacocks, it should be noted, possess an inferiority complex rivaling that of the short bald guy you saw in the checkout line earlier this week – the 5’2″ dude wearing the Affliction tank top who has experienced The Miracle Of Steroids, the one whose back pimples have developed biceps. The male peacock is a walking feathered rainbow; he’s sadly beautiful, whereas the tough birds like the hawk are all claws and hooked beaks, Death From Above. The male peacocks want you to know that despite the Lady Gaga-esque tail, they are not to be fucked with. They will spread that tail and shriek and lunge at you if you get too close. They’ll go for the eyes. Your gender stereotypes mean nothing to them.
This morning we spotted an albino peacock. Stark white, like a photo negative, a peacock-shaped hole in the world. This peacock, I thought, must be bitter. At least the other ones have the color. They’re the NBC logo. This guy, he’s just blank. Unfinished. The Anti-Peacock. If peacocks are self-aware, what of that moment when our albino peacock looked at his compadres, all shimmery feathered brilliance, and then looked down at his whiteness? Now this, that peacock must’ve thought, THIS is some bullshit.
But that’s how it goes. The Universe is for the most part an orderly place: models and formulas and Laws keep things running along, and the parts generally work according to direction. That’s what they tell you, anyway. It doesn’t really work like that, though. The System isn’t perfect – things fall apart, Chaos sticks a foot out, butterflies flap their wings in China and it rains frogs in Idaho. Your kid could be the next Albert Einstein or the next Dylan Klebold. He could win 6 gold medals at the 2020 Olympics or he could die of cancer before his 10th birthday. There are albino peacocks. The plans you make as a parent rarely survive first contact with the real world. I’ve learned to accept that – to embrace it, even. There’s a gazillion books that claim to teach you Good Parenting Skills, but really, there’s only one that’s essential. Have a bit of a nihilistic streak.