Taking the Dove Test

By Jim Hagarty

As a man gets on in years, he requires a metric or two to measure whether or not he is still on the righteous path he tried to trod so many decades ago. I think I may have discovered just such a marker by which a senior male can chart his progress or lack of it.

The possibility awaiting all men, we may as well be clear, is that he will slowly but surely slip into a state some might describe as grumpy but is better known by its proper name, curmudgeonitis.

Curmudgeonitis is a few steps beyond grumpy. Even kids, teenagers, and middle-agers can have bouts of grumpiness. But only old men can lay claim to the state of grumpy times ten. To be a true curmudgeon, a man has to be able to get mad at things that no one else in the world could possibly get upset with.

So here is my test. You have erected a large plywood platform upon a steel pole in the backyard to serve as a bird feeder. A big tub of feed is dumped in the centre of the feeder each morning, topped off with a small cup of unsalted peanuts.

For a couple of months, the feeder is filled with a wide variety of birds from sparrows and chickadees to grackles, bluejays and cardinals.


Then a pair of doves show up. Doves as a symbol of peace my ass. These greedy fat brown creatures decide the whole damn feeder is theirs and any other species uses the feeder at the same time at the risk of extreme pecking.

This is an intolerable situation and so you find yourself at your kitchen window, yelling at a pair of doves. The yelling has no effect.

So, I submit that when you reach the stage in life where you are yelling out your window at doves, curmudgeonitis has taken root. However, just to add another layer of complexity: It is not the yelling that is the indicator, it is the idea that a man shouting at doves out his window could conceivably have the effect of causing the doves to rethink their behaviour and to say to themselves, “Well, I guess we better cut that out!”

Next stage: Cursing at the clouds that now and then prevent a perfect view of a full moon.

Author: Jim Hagarty

I am a 65-year-old retired journalist, busy recovering from a lifelong career as an unretired journalist. This year marks a half century of my scratching out little fables about life. My interests include genealogy, humour and music. I live in a little blue shack in Canada and spend most of my time trying to stay out of trouble. I am not that good at it. I also spent years teaching journalism. Poor state of journalism today: My fault. I have a family I don't deserve, a dog that adores me, and two cars the junk yard refuses to accept. My prized possessions include my old guitar and a razor my Dad gave me when I was 14 and which I still use when I bother to shave. Oh, and my great-great-grandfather's blackthorn stick he brought from Ireland in the 1850s. I have only one opinion but it is a good one: People take too many showers.

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