I started telling people I was a falconer.
Not even in a “game” way; I just got so sick of the fucking question. I just spent sixty hours “doing” what I fucking “do” and now I’m trying to enjoy a beer in my hairsbreadth of free time and you’re making me think about the merciless glare of the computer screen; my cruel, sniveling boss; the phone constantly ringing with bullshit every two god damn seconds so that even in my dreams I hear the bleating of that ringer like the call of some horrible demon bird. It’s the first question boring people ask every single motherfucking conversation and it’s rude. So I gave them a bullshit outlandish answer as a way of telling them to fuck off for even asking.
But the girls always believed me. They would get excited and intrigued and ask engaged follow up questions, way more than they would about my actual job, which is as a weenie Hollywood “development executive.” Even though my real job is supposed to get you laid (it does not). So I kept padding it out. I am genuinely interested in falcons. In raptors at large. Nothing delights me more than seeing a kestrel alight on a fence post. Than seeing a mating pair of goshawks performing aerial acrobatics together. Where I’m from seeing a red tailed hawk waiting on the phone lines for a squirrel to get run over is a red letter day so the embarrassment of riches w/r/t falcons, hawks, owls and eagles here in SoCal has been a great boon to me. I would regale the girls with knowledge about these birds.
I told them I skipped college to apprentice under a falconer who handled birds for films and TV and that now that’s how I earn a living myself. How it’s not a calling I would recommend to young upstarts because of the crushing regulatory and licensing burdens imposed by the California Fish and Game Commission and the art is dying anyway, at least in movies, because most birds you see now are computer generated. How, when invariably asked if they might have seen any of my work, that I did some scenes in the Harry Potter films with my snowy owl “Cracker” filmed against green screen at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank; that “Cracker” portrayed Harry Potter’s beloved owl “Hedwig” in certain key scenes. To a one, they had had a tearful response to the death of Hedwig in the films. I jokingly comforted them with the knowledge that the “real” Hedwig was very much alive and had enjoyed a dinner of live rats the previous evening at my rookery in Calabasas. In reality, it would be pretty cruel to keep a snowy owl built for the Arctic in a shed out in the fucking desert where it gets to be 115 degrees. “Cracker” was part of a clutch mothered by an owl removed from Logan Airport in Boston, in my story, because I had seen a newscast in my youth about how a family of snowy owls lived on the runway there. They helped keep it free of pigeons and other vermin. I felt the need to explain how I had attained a snowy owl.
They asked, always, if the birds were like pets to me. Of course they were not; a bird of prey is solitary for its whole life except for three or four months where they fuck and then share a little bit of parental responsibility. Otherwise they are monomaniacally dedicated to scaring their kinsmen off their hunting patch. The best you can hope for is kind of a detente with them where they won’t actively try to rip your face off. I was pleased to learn later from a reddit AMA about falconry that this is essentially correct.
Girls absolutely ate up every motherfucking second of this line of bullshit about being a falconer. They would pull other girls aside and introduce me and say “hey, this guy’s a falconer blah blah blah Harry Potter” and they would invite me to come with them to the next party and get my number and generally react as though I had told them that I was Sufyan Stevens. Or howeverthefuck you spell it. But part of the big falconry lie was that I lived on some piece of cheap property way outside of town where I maintained fields and sheds for my birds and so I never figured out how to bridge the lie with the reality of taking them back to my one bedroom apartment right up the street. Plus, you know, lying. Lying to get pussy. Never sat right with me. So I would end up trying to let them down easy, tell them: “you know I’m not actually a falconer, right?” Some of them laughed it off but a bunch of them clearly felt really fucking dumb and I felt bad.
Anyway, if I ever have a son, I’m gonna take him out to some cliff and steal a haggard from a nest and get him running around with a hooded bird on a gauntlet like the cover of that Roxy music album. Falconry is apparently the most ass-getting gig in the world.