Benny Jay: White Owls in Chicago

December 15th, 2011

Lying on the couch, reading an article about the Bulls, when my wife comes in all excited about this bird she saw while walking with her friend at the beach.

Oh, brother….

It’s not that I don’t give a shit about birds, but — I don’t give a shit about birds!

Plus, I want to read this story about the Bulls.

I say: “Wow – a white bird.”

I think: Stop talking about that bird so I can read about the Bulls.

And she says: “Not a white bird – a white owl.”

I say: “Oh, nice….”

And then she’s off with the details….

“Susan and I were walking along the pier at Montrose Harbor….”


“At first, we thought it was a seagull….”


“But then we get closer – we realize it’s an owl!”

“Wow,” I say, hoping that’s the end of the story so I can get back to the Bulls.

The white owl looked a little like this….


But, no….

“And, then, it turned it’s head completely around….”

“You’re kidding….”

“It must have come from the Arctic….”

“Must have….”

“I took a picture on my cell phone — want to look?”

“More than anything….”

She shows me the picture.

“Wow, great picture,” I say, while sneak reading about the Bulls.

Lesson break for younger readers….

If you’re thinking about getting married, as many of you are, it’s important to realize that you won’t be fascinated by everything your husband/wife has to say.

As hard as that may be to believe.

So it’s important to learn how to listen to just enough of whatever it is that he/she is saying in order to avoid the accusation that you’re not listening to whatever it is that he/she is saying.

Get it?

By the way, my wife mastered this trick years ago. For instance, she’s got this secret sensor in her brain that triggers an automatic response of —  “oh, that’s nice” — whenever I start talking about sports.

Works like this….

Me: “The Bulls are about to sign Rip Hamilton!”

Wife: “Oh, that’s nice….”

Just talking about the Tribune makes me think of this….


Anyway, fast forward to the next morning….

I’m back on the couch, reading yet another article about the Bulls. When….

“The bird was white!”

It’s my wife talking about that owl again!

Only now she’s on the cell phone with her sister, walking around the living room watering the plants as she talks.

Same old details. Thought it was a seagull. Turned out to be a white owl. Like the one in Harry Potter. Then it turned its head all the way around. And how I’m an insensitive nature-hating brute cause I don’t care….

You know, like I did something wrong.

Then that white owl conversation’s followed by another, and another, and probably one or two more after that — I’m telling you, that fucking white owl’s taken over our lives!

But, wait….

In yesterday’s Tribune. On the front page. What do I see, but….

You guessed it!

That mother-bleeping white owl!

Okay, don’t know if it was that exact same owl. Point is — a bunch of white owls have invaded Chicago’s lakefront.

And it’s front-page news!

My wife’s ecstatic. Telling me – “I saw the owl. You didn’t see the owl!”

Well, I got to give her credit. She was into that whole white owl thing long before it was fashionable — definitely scooped the Tribune.

Not that that’s so hard to do….

In fact, I find myself telling a friend.

“You know that white owl on the front page of the Tribune?”


“My wife was telling me about it days ago.”

You know, like I did something….

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