[Originally published November 10, 2011.]
Honey, please join me underneath the table. I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching lately, and I’m ready to admit that you’re right.
Maybe our apartment is too small for a bald eagle.
Purchasing a pet eagle seemed like a great decision at the time I made it without telling you. I imagined our new eagle would be both companion and playmate; a loving friend to share our lives with. Like a dog or cat, but better because it can fly and scream.
Plus having a bald eagle around is really patriotic.
And if I’m being perfectly honest, I was a little jealous of all the attention the downstairs neighbor kid gets for owning a ferret. I don’t get it. This kid buys a fancy rat and suddenly he’s a goddamn local celebrity? Whatever.
Anyway, this was my frame of mind when I brought home Tony, our eagle.
What I hadn’t counted on is that a twenty-pound bird with an eight-foot wingspan needs a lot of room to fly. And defecate. And vomit, apparently. Room that our one-bedroom apartment simply doesn’t have.
Perhaps such close proximity wouldn’t be such a problem if eagles were particularly affectionate pets. But I’m willing to concede that they’re not. Eagles don’t like getting held, or stroked or petted. If you do succeed in wrestling an eagle into your lap, guess what: you’ve basically pointed its scrabbling, razor-sharp talons right at your thighs and groin.
And God forbid you try to put a pair of sunglasses on an eagle because you think it will be cute. It’s like, goodbye thumbs!
No, all Tony wants to do is sit on top of the fridge and scream and eat garbage.
I don’t even know why he eats the garbage if he’s just going to throw it up? And why does he only seem to throw up on our most valuable personal possessions?
This is the kind of stuff they just don’t tell you at the van where you buy eagles.
Anyway, I don’t mean to say that owning an eagle has been a totally negative experience.
Our mouse problem definitely seems to have cleared up. However mice droppings suddenly don’t seem so bad when you see what a large, carnivorous bird is capable of in the feces department.
And I will always think back fondly on the dinner party that we hosted, when Tony swooped around attacking everyone. You know I don’t care much for your sister’s boyfriend, so I was privately delighted to see him get scratched (although I’m obviously very sorry about everyone else’s injuries.)
It was certainly a proud moment for me when I successfully trained Tony to fly at my head whenever I enter a room.
I would even go so far as to say I love Tony in my own way. As much as you can love a creature that has bitten the tips of your thumbs off.
In the end, however, the benefits of keeping an eagle in a small apartment have not outweighed the costs.
Giving up our bedroom to make space for Tony’s giant laundry/garbage nest was bad enough (I suspect it will smell like eagle in there for quite some time.) But we’ve had to spend nearly all our time hiding under the kitchen table ever since Tony developed a taste for human blood.
And the monetary cost of eagle ownership has also been significant. Fresh fish, new furniture and emergency room bills start to add up. Not to mention the $11,000 I paid for Tony himself.
Oh, I see you didn’t realize how much eagles cost. Well, the reason they’re so expensive because I guess it’s illegal to own one unless you’re a zoo or something. Just by having Tony in our apartment we are both technically guilty of a felony. Crazy, right?
Please stop crying.
You should be happy, because I’m saying you were right all along. This place is too small for an eagle. Bare minimum we would need a bigger apartment with a dedicated “Eagle Room,” which I really don’t think we can afford right now.
That’s why I’d like you to take this broom and shoo Tony out into the hall. Shoo him, so we can end this and finally have our lives back.
No, I’m not going to do it.
Seriously, there’s no way I’m getting out from under this table. That thing tried to kill me.