The Gauntlet / An apology to campus seagulls - The Gauntlet
Illustration by Tricia Lim

An apology to campus seagulls

By Calum Robertson, March 22 2019 —

The University of Calgary is a place that promotes harmony, with the many staff and students fostering spaces for all. Occasionally, someone may say or do something that causes damage, a crack in the glass of tranquility.

I have been guilty of spreading hurt directed at a specific demographic on campus. This article is my attempt at healing those wounds and bridging the rift now created between myself and my victims.

Last month, I wrote an article detailing how the seagulls here on campus are evil emissaries of the end times. It has since been made clear to me that that article was hurtful to the seagulls here at the U of C. We share our campus with these noble trash-eaters. They are each beautiful in their own way and not at all sinister or even remotely connected to the evils of humanity.

Recently, I found a copy of my article pinned to the ground with critiques written in white dung detailing how I have damaged the campus seagulls’ reputation. The gulls suffered low self-esteem and hatred from not only humans, but other birdlife too. Many campus seagulls now reside in hiding on top of the Social Sciences tower, where they hope to be free from persecution. Some have taken to living inside the Arts Parkade, hoping to find relief from hate-speech in exhaust fumes and cold concrete.

I am ashamed of the hurt I have caused. I can no longer stand idly by while antagonism of seagulls unfolds on campus — hostility that I am responsible for. I want to be an agent of healing between the winged and the armed, the trash-eaters and the trash-makers.

To do this, I went in search of a campus seagull that I could apologize to. I began my hunt outside the ICT building. Amongst all that drab concrete, I was sure the seagulls would flock to the little trees. Although I waited away a Thursday there, I encountered no seagulls, open to dialogue or otherwise. I did see a live magpie feasting on the carcass of a dead magpie and two rabbits fighting a squirrel — savage violence which was clearly a result of the unintentionally anti-animal propaganda I had written. As Friday began, I went in search of seagulls elsewhere.

I reached the roof of Social Sciences out of breath, my legs heavy with exhaustion, but I did not let the infinite staircase defeat me. I threw open the door, proclaiming my apologies loudly to the gathered seagulls. I heard a flurry of wings and shrieks, but none sounded like forgiveness. I stumbled, blinded by the fury and the feathers, slipping and sliding in a sea of bird droppings. I regained my footing some moments later but found that the seagulls had fled, leaving behind more yellow-white feathers — evidence that they had once been there and that I was not hallucinating from desperation.

My third attempt was even less successful. The seagulls outside the Dining Centre turned aggressive, dive-bombing me before I even had a chance to open my mouth. They left me bloodied and bruised, but I still forgive them. The hurt I caused them was much worse than any peck or talon can administer.

Though I am disheartened by these failures, I live in hope. U of C students, I ask of you this simple request — go forth and tell every seagull that we as a campus can move beyond this. Let’s move to a brighter future full of harmony between seagulls and humans.

This article is part of our humour section.



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