Anyone with a lick of sense who has ever been to the ballet (which isn't most people since a large portion of the world lives in crushing poverty and another large portion is just barely getting by and can't be bothered with that shit) knows what to do when they encounter a live swan. You have two options 1) be super nice to it cause swans are big and mean creatures that do not take kindly to human bullshit and will eat your face if you cross it 2) be super nice to it cause it is Odette from Swan Lake, the princess that some asshole sorcerer turned into a swan and is totally about to DIE. Sorry, I don't give spoiler alerts for 19th century anything. Educate yourselves. But what, pray tell, does one do when they find a dead swan? My friends and I were struck dumb by this conundrum Thursday. This is our tale.
It started innocently enough at the lake by Wellesley College. The scenery! The fresh air! The rich history of women doing well in quantitative fields cause boys weren't around to make them self-conscious about their science game!
We swam and splashed like the Wormer brothers in Now and Then (clothed, but with the same joie de vivre). We celebrated independence from British tyranny(take that, lobsterbacks *cannonball*). I forced Phoebe to take a picture of me pretending to be on the cover of the Kubrick Lolita (then I made her put it on Facebook cause my arm looks skinny in it). But something near the swampy lake edge was amiss.
Was it a booey of some kind? A large white nautical garment perhaps? When I was eight, I spent seven days on an aircraft carrier going from Hawaii to San Diego and learned to tie ropes and send flares and all sorts of badass Navy shit but I forgot it all. During that time, my sister and I also played a prank on my Dad and said I fell overboard in the night. Boy was he upset. We were assholes. Anyway, for the daughter of a man who spent 27 years putting food on the table by sailing the high seas, I really should be able to recognize this shit better. But whatever, aircraft carriers don't go in lakes.
Throwing caution to the wind, I swam closer. And suddenly, the coming-of-age tale we were part of went from the innocence of Now and Then to the darkness of the corpse-finding mission of Stand By Me. When I was a kid, I fantasized about being the lone girl on that mission and tongue-kissing River Phoenix by the campfire when the rest of that ragtag gang had gone to sleep. But I digress. Here is a dead bird:
An argument over what kind of creature this was quickly ensued:
A brave soul used a stick to pry the hidden head from the underbrush. Conclusion: swan.
Now I have never done an autopsy (YET, but I am dreaming big. Dana Scully is my spirit animal, after all) but we came to the conclusion that this swan looked mad healthy and didn't die of natural causes. Julia mentioned that sometimes swans kill their own. Mere moments later, we spotted these sketchy fuckers:
The picture was taken from far away and I zoomed in on them so it looks really Loch Ness Monster-esque, which is fitting cause this family of swans is a bunch of MONSTERS. Look at them, swimming along without a care in the world, probably heading to a barbecue where they'll jam to the Boston Pops and oooh and ahhh at the fireworks while their dead friend rots near the shore.
But what were we supposed to do for this poor devil? You aren't technically supposed to be swimming at that part of the lake so alerting security wasn't a good idea. We mulled it over and decided that none of us wanted to risk the flesh-eating virus we might get if we retrieved it for a proper burial. How were we to tell the story of a swan that once lived in a lake in peace, but met an untimely end in the Summer of 2013?
I did what any decent person would do, I put that swan corpse on Instagram with a dark filter that best reflected the pointlessness and cruelty of life on this itty bitty blue planet.
We concluded our day at the lake and are hoping that corpse-swimming will not result in any sudden illness or death. Regardless, we can all agree on one thing: