I hear it again, "Cheap!" I stop.
"Hey," I say. "Who you callin' cheap?"
"You, human. You've got money --I heard you discussing "dollars" with your wife. Dollars is money, right?"
"Well, us birds have seen you spraying dishsoap on eggplants. According to my instincts, dishsoap is harmful to hornworms, mites, aphids, cutworms, lacebugs and flea beetles. Those are among our favorite foods. We wonder what's so special about eggplant that you'd spend dollars to run these delicacies off the property?"
"Well, Norma likes eggplant and the bugs take over if we don't spray soap."
"Does every human like eggplant?"
"Dear bird, admittedly many don't --I don't, but she does. You see, most grown people don't mind eggplant but it nearly always makes children cry."
"What about you, human?"
"I eat it to be polite but then repair to another room to sob softly in private."
"Ok, here's my deal: You just spray water on the eggplant and we birds will handle the pests. You take dollars to the market and buy eggplants for Norma. Win-win?"
"Brilliant solution, bird! How'd you come up with it?"
"We think simply and fundamentally, educated by instinct, form, appetite and our parents' example. How did you learn things?"
"Well, I went to school until I was upwards of 20 years old."
"Then what?" Asked bird as he hopped down to hunt bugs.
"Then I ventured away from curriculum..."
"It's what they teach us humans in school about our place in the world."
"Sounds intriguing. How did you feel when you got out?"
"Bird, oh bird, to my horror I found out I was an idiot!"
"Join the club, human, but remember to go easy on the bugs."