Don’t bother to cue the Stand by Me music here. It wasn’t that type of a moment. I was probably seven or eight years old and playing with some friends. Another kid came running up and told us we could go see a dead bird so we all took off. Very soon we were there in a vacant lot in a small circle around a grey bird lying motionless on the ground.
Okay imagine the music if you have to, but I for one wasn’t thinking that whole: this bird wasn’t sleeping; it would never fly again; this bird was dead.
I don’t know what killed it. I think I would remember seeing blood or mutilation. I don’t know if The West Nile Virus existed in the mid ‘70’s. I just thought that it looked very uncomfortable there on the hot dusty ground. One of my friends reached out to touch it. Then his sister yelled at him.
“No, don’t!” she said. “You’ll get fizzy-whiz.”
A dead bird wasn’t scary, but this disease I had never heard of was.
To this day I caution my kids to not touch dead animals because they will get fizzy-whiz. Anyone reading this may warn people too.
“Mom got fizzy-whiz once,” the girl continued. I think the circle expanded away from the dead bird then. And like a rock in the pond that girl’s information can spread to the world.