Thank your lucky er... guano

Bill Bryson in Dunedin in 2007 with several Dunedin high school pupils after the author had survived a ''bombing'' by a seagull. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.Good 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 poop.

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 around?

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 Boys'.

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 conversation.

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 luck.''

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 experience.

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 him alone.

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 $100,000.

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 119,000 results.

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.

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