So 1,000 birds simultaneously fall out of the Arkansas sky and the state government's answer to that oddity is "fireworks". True story. I was listening to NPR this morning when the segment turned to the freak dead bird story that has been the "water cooler" news de jur. They interviewed Arkansas State Veterinarian George Badley who is convinced that these birds were just all "discombobulated. Black birds were frightened by fireworks and the entire group of 5,000 simply got confused and began crashing into solid objects, like houses and trees. The idea that they were sick or otherwise affected by some mysterious toxin is "non sense" according to Badley. Look, I don't know what happened to the birds and the 100,000 drum fish that went belly up around the same time just over 100 miles away in the Arkansas river, but if it wasn't a various or some mysterious environmental toxin, as the Arkansas state fish guy seems to believe possible, then I'm going with Aliens or an apocalyptic sign from God.
Back in the day, I attended a Church of Christ elementary school. Such fundamentalists didn't mess with angels, sensing that Catholics owned the angel franchise, part of their dim smoky world of bead-rattling and hocus-pocus and lugubrious statuary, so instead in school we focused on the Holy Spirit who dwelt in all of us true believers and told us what to do and what to say, which is convenient for people with plenty of self-confidence. You read some Scripture and work up a sweat over it and stand up in the sunlit sanctuary, no dinging or chanting, no costumes or choreography, and you open your mouth and out comes Truth, such as the doctrine of Separation from the World, which was appealing to those of us with no social skills - if people didn't like you, it was proof of your righteousness.
The idea that I was right and most other people were wrong stuck with me through my cocksure youth, but then comes the perilous passage of life when a woman lies awake in intensive care thinking about breathing forever with one lung and if you will ever bare another child, and your interest in Truth fades a little compared to your interest in winged beings who might come and rescue people in serious trouble. Nowadays I think more about angels. And sometimes I slip into a silent church to sit and commune with any resident angels and to light a few candles. Because if I know anything, it is that too often this world defies all scientific knowledge and human logic and that more often than not, the best answer to the question is "I don't know."
After reading the above, I feel compelled to add that I have no idea, nor do I pretend to guess the religious leanings of Mr. George Badley. I just see two sets of people who are completely sure of their answers and I stand in awe struck wonder of their certainty.