Letters

Gallery of the Midnight Sun, Yellowknife, Northwest Territory

To Whom it Concerns at the Gallery of the Midnight Sun,

Please be advised that you are in receipt of a letter from the Bureau of Letters of Consumer and Social Concern.

It recently came to the attention of the DLCSC (Department of Letters of Consumer and Social Concern) that your gallery is practicing poor bird feeding techniques.

I was recently in Yellowknife with a colleague and, as we were passing your gallery, noticed a large group of Ptarmagin crossing the road, making their way to the front steps of the Gallery of the Midnight Sun (we had also noticed someone sprinkling birdseed moments earlier, consequent with the arrival of a bus full of tourists and visitors of the gallery).  My colleague and friend immediately identified the threat the gallery-birdseed-situation posed to the beautiful Arctic birds.  For they were very unassumingly crossing the road to the established feeding place of your front steps, and zone for silly tourist photos and cooing and cawing of people looking at the cute birds.  And then something not-cute happened: a ptarmagin was struck by a large truck as it made its way across the road.  The weight of the truck split the bird right open, exposing its breast and causing a small explosion of blood in the road.  The truck did not stop and the bird was left flapping broken wings and turning incoherently in broken circles.  I noticed tourists looking on in a confused way, as though this was not necessarily part of the plan.  I walked out into the road and said a prayer for the bird you mortally injured, and then picked up the poor thing and wrung its neck to put it out of its misery.  (And now tourists were really not sure about the bird feeding plan, as blood pinwheeled out of the bird when I wrung its neck.)

We then went inside to explain the catastrophe you have crafted for the Ptarmagin to a woman at the front desk who explained that the bird seed is “actually for traction on the front steps, for visitors of the gallery.”  (She has an English accent.)  She came out with the explanation so quickly that it was immediately apparent to me (as an amateur psychologist) that she had this explanation prepared.  Of course, some people are stupid enough to receive an explanation like this as proper logic… but those who may be gifted with higher luxuries of thought would quickly conclude that there are other substances (besides birdseed) which can be used for traction over snow covered steps, such as GRAVEL.  And (I am also an amateur biologist) birds don’t eat gravel, at least not enough to merit that road crossing.

It would behoove you as a business owner, sub-Arctic patriot, and member of your community TO STOP PUTTING BIRD SEED ON YOUR FRONT STEPS BECAUSE INSTEAD OF MAKING A CUTE SPECTACLE FOR TOURISTS YOU’RE ACTUALLY KILLING BEAUTIFUL BIRDS.

As the director of the Bureau of Letters of Consumer and Social Concern I am obliged to share my discoveries with local media outlets and–if necessary–government devices.  If I do not learn from you directly that you have ceased and desisted this onerous activity of bird killing I will transmit the findings of the DLCSC to the local Yellowknife newspaper, the wildlife ranger, game warden and sheriff.  That your employee had a rehearsed explanation for the birdseed-on-the-steps situation means (using logic) that you are already aware that you are killing birds.  If you feel that this behavior is justifiable because the preliminary cuteness of the Ptarmagin on your steps brings in more business and therefore merits the collateral damage of the birds getting road killed, I strongly feel that your thought process should be brought into question and re-evaluated.

With most sincere wishes that you start using gravel,

Yours,

Benjamin Shook