Humor by Mark Bazer

Oak Park, Ill., the town -- or, excuse me, village -- that I proudly call home, is known for a few things.

For starters, there's architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who set up shop in Oak Park for years. People come from all around to take the "See the Homes That Frank Lloyd Wright Was a Jackass In" tour.

Oak Park is also the boyhood home of Ernest Hemingway; if it weren't for Oak Park schools teaching him the alphabet, he never would have written any books.

More important, the village has also long been known for being a warm and inclusive community.

That wonderful and well-deserved reputation was almost threatened.

Don't get me wrong: There was never any question of people of all kinds still being welcome and encouraged to make Oak Park their home.

But ... the village board had been considering an ordinance that called for KILLING -- or, excuse me, humanely euthanizing -- pigeons.

It appears that there is, to quote our local paper, the Wednesday Journal, "a continuing presence of a flock of pigeons under the newly upgraded Marion Street el viaduct."

Don't these pigeons realize how perilously close they are to the finest wine and cheese shop the village has to offer???

As someone who moved to Oak Park at least in part for the pigeons, this obviously had me enraged. Not enraged enough to have attended any village board meetings, but enraged.

To me, pigeons are one of the telltale signs of a great city. Name a great city and I'll show you pigeons slightly ruining the quality of life.

Now, name a, well, not-so-world-class city. You won't find any pigeons, I guarantee. When was the last time a pigeon called Toledo, Ohio (sorry, Mom and Dad), home? They'd only improve the quality of life, so what would be the point?

Some, like Oak Park Trustee Bob Tucker, wondered why Oak Park couldn't just move the pigeons someplace else.

Again, to quote the Wednesday Journal, Mike Charley, environmental heath supervisor in the village, "said it's proven pigeons return home."

So, the answer was to just kill them? What's next, Mr. Charley? Doing the same to our kids when they graduate from college without jobs?

Fortunately, the pigeons have been spared. Netting will apparently now prevent pigeons from hanging out too close to the cheese shop. They will probably find their way to my yard instead.

It's an ending I -- and the pigeons -- can live with. But it's a shame the notion of killing the birds ever came up. Oak Parkers -- and you as well -- should be thankful. Thankful that we don't have kleptomaniacal monkeys roaming the streets, like they do in New Delhi.

This, according to The New York Times: "The monkey population of Delhi has grown so large and aggressive that overwhelmed city officials have petitioned India's Supreme Court to relieve them of the task of monkey control."

The Hindu religion, the article reports, says that people should feed monkeys on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

"(Veterinary Services Director R.B.S.) Tyagi expresses impatience with residents who feed the monkeys one day, then complain to the city when the monkeys steal their clothes on another day."

One solution in New Delhi is to hire a bigger kind of monkey to urinate around your home. The urine repels the smaller monkeys causing all the problems. The one drawback: The urine also repels people.

(Mark Bazer is a writer living a few blocks away from Chicago. He also hosts "The Interview Show," a Chicago-based talk show available at The Huffington Post. He can be reached via

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