morning. I thought, to mark the solemnity of today's major
news event, we should conduct a cerebral and in-depth
discussion on the ramifications of the Budget ... but, on
second thoughts, I've opted instead for a column about bird
I'll leave it to your vivid imaginations to draw a
connection, if any, between the two subjects, but the main
reason I've chosen bird droppings is because, unlike the
Budget, it's actually something I know a little bit about.
Can I start by asking how many readers believe in karma, deja
vu or the popular phenomenon of what goes around comes
I've always been more of a fatalist, to be honest, but after
yesterday's experience I'm now having second thoughts.
You see, it was my lunchbreak and instead of a window-gazing
wander up and down the inner city shops I headed out to the
suburbs to watch some schoolboy rugby, King's v Waitaki
No sooner had I found an ideal spot near the touchline on
halfway when a passing seagull took dead aim and scored a
direct hit to the side of your correspondent's face (10 out
of 10 for accuracy, although, to be fair, my head is a fairly
large target!)The chap standing beside me, no doubt thanking
his lucky stars, confirmed my worst fears as to the identity
of the warm splattering but quickly assured me how being
bombed by a bird was, in fact, the greatest of good luck.
''Make sure you buy a Lotto ticket this week, mate,'' was the
comforting advice from the bloke next to him, once he'd found
out the cause of my discomfort.
But, as I wiped off all I could find of the muck, I suddenly
had a guano flashback to another time, another place and
almost certainly another bird, but a very similar
It was February 23, 2007, and I was out on Otago Harbour on
the Vivienne J, a charter boat: just me, the crew, the
editor, a photographer, six Dunedin high school pupils and a
chap by the name of William McGuire Bryson - yes, Mr Bill
''Walk in the Woods'' Bryson, one of the truly great authors
of modern times.(But enough of name-dropping, back to bird
droppings.)During one of our chats on the deck of the
Vivienne J, the world famous writer was also the victim of a
local seagull's deadly aim.
And what did I do? I immediately assured Mr Bryson: ''that
means good luck, Bill; no, really Bill, it really means good
But, as it turned out, it didn't.
You see Bill, as well as providing some inspirational advice
to the young writers gathered around him that grey, bleak
day, was also trying to catch a salmon and, after two hours
of cruising up and down, he went home salmon-less but with a
jacket smeared by a smelly souvenir of his harbour fishing
Some time later I got a letter from Bill which, he said, was
written on his laptop while flying over ''Outer Outer
Mongolia'' in which he thanked me for a memorable sojourn,
confessing ''I enjoyed every bit of the day but the bird
shit!'' - and promised to return to Dunedin some day when,
hopefully, the sun would shine and the seagulls would leave
The curious thing is I've always felt a little bit guilty for
telling the world, on the ODT's front page, that Bill Bryson
had been ''bird bombed'' from a great height, despite his
magnanimous attitude at the time.
So, yesterday's incident felt like a payback moment.
Or is that just me being ridiculously superstitious?Speaking
of which, how much truth is there in the belief/myth that
being hit by bird droppings is somehow good luck?
Well, when I typed ''bird droppings + good luck'' into
Google, there were 48,700 references, one of which said the
idea was based on the odds of it happening -''it's like 1 in
a billion which is almost the same as winning the lottery. So
if you are statistically able to get bird poop on you, then
you should also be able to win the lottery.''
As further ''proof'' there was even a story about a Bay of
Islands man who, in 2011, spent $5 on an Instant Kiwi
''scratchie''after being splattered by a bird and won
But, as I was mulling over some more of those 48,700
references I suddenly had another, more serious thought, and
typed into Google ''Bird droppings + diseases'' and got
Now, that doesn't sound too lucky to me!
If you've had any good luck/bad luck bird poop moments, we'd
love to hear them.