There’s a longstanding myth that Benjamin Franklin proposed that the turkey, not the bald eagle, be the national bird. This is not, in fact, the case. Rather, upon seeing the depiction of the eagle on the new Great Seal, he wrote a letter to his daughter saying it looked more like a turkey, followed by musings about how brave and noble a wild turkey actually is and how bald eagles are jackass scavengers. Put differently, Franklin was, in the best and most enduring tradition of America, mocking something done by the United States yet basically going with it.
Still, if Franklin had argued for the turkey and if his arguments had been successful, perhaps we wouldn’t have had the scene we had at Dodger Stadium yesterday. The scene: two bald eagles from the Los Angeles zoo being released in a pregame swoop-by from the top deck and trained to land in the outfield, where they’d be collected by their trainer. They both soared regally enough, but one of them — the male, naturally — went off-script and flew right out of the ballpark through the gate in center field:
Like most dudes, his big talk about “freedom” didn’t contain much in the way of follow through. Rather than becoming a free citizen of the world, unshackled by the tyranny of his captors, he landed near the zoo van and waited for them to take care of him.
Can’t say I blame his impulse to escape, really. He probably had to fly while accompanied by that bad Lee Greenwood song or something and that’d make me want to bug out too.