Legal Drugs/Man vs. Swan


IN my experience, swans are assholes. Just THE worst. They’re like the pretty girl in high school who knows that she is attractive enough to forego the formalities of socialized ethics, so is just a raging bitch until she enters her twenties and realizes the rules are different out there.

The problem is, being swans, the fowl die before they reach their twenties, and never reach this level of moral maturity. So they’re just in heinous bitch mode their entire lives. And people put up with it cause they’re so darn…gorgeous.

People put up with them to the degree that, when non-wild swans are about, signs must be placed around telling people not to feed them, because the bastards are so goshdarn sexy that everyone is prepared to turn out their pockets at the drop of a hat.

Swans would make excellent homeless people.

…and they’re not even grateful. It’s as if a homeless person, upon receiving a dollar from a passerby, would stare at the dollar incredulously, then start following the philanthropist down the street, pecking at their calves for even more cash.

Oh wait. That IS what homeless people do.

palace of fine arts

The Palace of Fine Arts, Presidio, San Fransisco

Some of these signs were placed at regular intervals around the Palace of Fine Arts near Presidio in San Francisco. The Palace looks like the realm of the philosopher-kings—massive columns trunk upwards through lush, draping flora towards the sky, and a dark moat circles the place to keep the plebeians out. It’s a place to recite poetry; to read Blake; to try to pet the swans.

I walked to the Palace with my friends Omar and Ninette, fellow NY transplants I used to live with in merry ol’ New Paltz.

I had copped a medical marijuana card as quickly as I could upon entering California, purchasing it at the Medical Cannabis Cup in Richmond. The process had been light on regulation. Some stoner who had been provided scrubs helped me to ‘properly’ fill out the paper work, after which I was ushered to ‘the doctor,’ a geriatric with mad scientist-hair and a labcoat who paused in his reading of High Times long enough to scrawl his signature on a form.

Legally purchasing marijuana is like slapping a cop in the face and having him smile back. It’s THAT good. Before heading to The Palace, I had gone to the Oaksterdam shop in downtown Oakland. The place feels like a very exclusive jewelers. You walk through tinted double-doors to a small, white room where a man is perched behind a high desk. He scans your ID, checks a couple things on the computer, then buzzes you in through a thick security door. You enter a clean, white room that is mostly bare space except for a few items housed under a long, attractively-lit glass case. The samples are in small, crystalline dishes and look like they should be on the cover of Bon Appetite. The available stains rotate several times throughout the day, and cost between 20 and 44 dollars an eighth.

Needless to say, I was pretty baked when the man with the kids tried to pet the swans. He looked like a Central American tourist, and the first sight I got was the man slowly stomping towards the swans with his hand dominatingly stretched out. This was gonna be good.

I imagine the man to be the most abusive dater ever. The swans were just not interested, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. The three of them (he was just kinda non-specifically trying to pet SOMETHING) half-squatted from the man’s pet and waddled a couple feet away. This obviously was the swans’ way of saying “thanks, but no thanks,” but this just seemed to insult the man’s masculinity, and, with a threatening, determined look on his face, he half-squatted to their level and continued to stomp-squat after them. His kids thought this was the greatest thing ever. That their dad was the greatest GUY ever. He finally got his hand on one of the swans and started molesting its back. Surprisingly, the swan didn’t attack, but just squatted down farther and waddled a few more feet away. With a steely, furious look on his face (NO one says no to the GRAN amante!) he stomped up to them again. This time, his kids followed and both gave the swans a couple hearty back-thumps.

The swans, who I had applauded up to this point for their noticeably un-swanish reactions, had had enough. One of them turned, hissed, and began to try to peck the children’s toes off.   

Stunned by their reaction, the man thrust his hand out as though swans understood traffic-cop signals.

“Para!” He commanded.

The geese didn’t para.

“Stop!” he yelled, trying English.

Apparently, the geese spoke only French, so they kept advancing, though not in a particularly aggressive manner. More like, c’mon guy…we were having such a pleasant waddle and don’t wanna do this.

Every option now exhausted, the man made the only decision available to him: he grabbed the biggest swan by the throat.

The swan didn’t like this one bit, but still did not attack. Instead, it continued to attempt to maturely and non-violently disengage from the situation, squirming uncomfortably in the man’s fist. The kids were ecstatic: their father was winning! Showing that godless swan who was BOSS!

The group of swan-admirers were too shocked to say anything for a few seconds as the man put the uppity swan in its place. Finally an Indian girl yelled:

“What are you DoinG?

”Stop et! It cAn’t BREATH!” Her friend joined her.

The man gave the two a murderous look, then released the swan and sauntered off, shoulders rolling. He was boss.

The kids scurried behind, shrieking and skipping.


When Omar becomes frustrated, his insides twist and ball until the words spasm out.

“Just like, you wonder why kids get fucked up. It’s because their parents are so stupid they don’t get simple cause-and-effect. The guy’s like, “I dunno…” Omar did his dumb human voice “…what did I DO to DESERVE this…” And the kids are just fuckin following him behind and are gonna grow up like that. Fuckin stupid parents.”

As Omar spasmed out his frustrations with humanity, we walked back to his and Ninette’s place in SOMA.

I see Omar being a pretty good dad one day.

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