Meet Kevin

Written By Chris Copen, For The Globe

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I’d like for you to meet Kevin. Kevin likes to think of himself as an open-minded person. He likes to think of himself as that because he’s not actually like that at all. In fact, Kevin has never actually changed his mind. Well he did once, but that was on accident and it only happened because he didn’t realize that people could search his old tweets.

Regardless of this fact, Kevin loves the idea of public debate. Kevin loves the idea of it so much that he hates the reality of it. See, real debates require a willingness to see both sides, level headedness, and empathy to see beyond your own point of view. Kevin sees these traits as weaknesses. But that doesn’t stop Kevin from feeling the need to debate every single person he disagrees with, and even some people he does agree with. In fact, you may even call Kevin a serial master debater. Now, some people might say that Kevin goes into these debates under false pretenses and doesn’t want to engage in actual debate as much as he wants to antagonize those who disagree with him. But to those people Kevin would say; shut up.

Kevin loves to go to the park. It’s a beautiful park, and maybe that’s why he loves to go to it as often as he does. But one day, Kevin notices that the park has a problem. A big one. There are birds, everywhere. Kevin doesn’t mind occasionally seeing birds. He understands that they exist and that they have just as much of a right to go through life as the rest of us. But still he can’t help but wonder, “Why are there so many birds in this beautiful park?”

Eventually, Kevin’s trips to the park become consumed by the birds. There are far too many birds and he has to be mad about it. He’s not sure why he has to be mad about it, maybe because his family hates birds and he subconsciously connects hating birds with being accepted by his family. But, he’ll never realize that, so honestly it’s not worth us discussing either. It doesn’t matter why Kevin hates birds (he would say that he doesn’t,) it just matters that he does.

One day, Kevin snaps. He walks under the tree with the most birds and yells “Go Home Birds!” They don’t move. He yells again. “Go Home Birds!” and again he gets no answer, not even a protest. This infuriates him. They won’t even debate him! “Go Home Birds! Go Home! Get Out!” he screams, effectively ruining everyone else’s quiet day at the beautiful park. Finally, after 13 minutes of screaming, a bird responds.

Birds, I’m sure you know, don’t speak English. In fact, they don’t speak any languages at all and frankly it would be inappropriate to expect them to. So when I say a bird “responded” to Kevin what I’m really saying is, to be blunt, a bird pooped on him.

Kevin was more mad at the birds than ever before. Not only were the birds ruining his park, now they were pooping on him too. So he screamed more. And the birds, in their own way, returned fire. This went on for hours, and then days, and then months. Kevin’s entire personality became built around his need to scream at the birds and being subsequently pooped on by them.

Inevitably, despite no one asking or being even remotely interested, every night Kevin would go home to tell everyone he knew about the disgusting birds that pooped on him. “See!” he shrieks “This is what birds do! How dare the birds poop on me for voicing my opinion!” he says.

But what Kevin doesn’t realize, or maybe what Kevin does realize and hopes you’ll ignore, is that birds have been pooping under this tree for decades. Long before he ever showed up to yell at them. It is a poop tree. Everyone knows this, and those who don’t wish to be pooped on simply avoid the tree. Everyone except of course, for Kevin.

So, every day Kevin will go to the park. And every day Kevin will stand under this tree. He’ll yell “Go Home Birds!”, and the birds will in turn respond by pooping all over him. Kevin will eventually himself go home, smothered in bird poop, angrier than ever at the birds and shocked at their vulgarity. But he’ll be back tomorrow, under the exact same tree, yelling the exact same thing, being pelted by the exact same poop. And every single day, when we see him coming home covered in bird poop, he’ll tell us about his terrible day, and expect us to feel sorry for him. Hoping we’ll ignore the fact that he’s been screaming at birds, under a tree, in a park, for the last 4 months.

So here, meet Kevin. He is covered in bird poop, and he would love to discuss politics with you.

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