I think this classifies as genuine irony. Not the funny kind that's just a humorous coincidence like you see on Seinfeld. The real kind: some uncanny coincidence that tells you something about life and human nature.

When I read this node the first time yesterday, I thought it was a strange coincidence. Somebody's pet parakeet - beautiful blue little thing - had escaped. It had wound up inside the building I work at, but nobody would touch it. Finally, it had managed to make it outside. When I came downstairs to smoke a cigarette, I saw it sitting on a wicker chair. I wasn't even sure if it was real - but it was breathing. It was weak and scared, so it wanted nothing to do with anybody there. I looked and noticed it's tail feathers were clipped, so it had been somebody's pet. But there were only two places it could have come from - the condos next door, or one of the trucks that was making deliveries here that day.

Despite it's edginess, with a little bit of coaxing, I was able to get him to climb onto my hand. I found a box big enough so that we wouldn't fly off and get himself killed, and took him upstairs to my office. We gave him a few crackers and pieces of bagel (this is an office - it's the closest thing to bird seed we could find), and some water, hoping he would eat and drink. He ate some of the crackers, but not nearly enough. Didn't drink at all.

I went next door to the condos and left a note that somebody may have lost a parakeet. The receptionist there said only one resident had a parakeet and she was pretty sure it was green and was still there. But she checked anyway. Green parakeet, still there. She did express interest in adopting the bird if nobody claimed it so I gave her my phone number.

I went out to where I found the bird and left another notice w/ my phone number, but by about this time, I realized nobody was going to claim it. I program computers for a living, but the building I work at is almost entirely rented by interior decorators who are in and out of homes, loading and unloading trucks constantly. So who knows where that bird was from, or how long he'd been in a truck. When I got back upstairs, he was asleep. I went back to programming, and briefly swung by E2 and happened to read this node. "No, I won't tell anybody about this weird coincidencet. This bird is alive."

I got permission to leave work early so I could take the bird home to try to nurse it back to health. I was worried about him trying to fly off, but my boss brought him to me and I was slightly concerned when the bird was barely moving. So we put him in the box, placed a flannel shirt down so he wouldn't slide around, and I took him home.

By the time I got home, he was twitching, stiff and his legs were sticking out behind him, but he was still alive. He died a few minutes later. My brother, more familiar with caring for birds than I am, suggested it probably died of one of the following: starvation (most likely), dehydration, plain-old shock or poisoning (least likely). The thing that concerns me most is the last one. I didn't think to check the box I kept him in. I don't know what was in it - when I got him home, I noticed some crusty green powder around his beak that hadn't been there when I found him and I could only think maybe it was inside the box I had kept him in and it was poisonous... (my brother assured me this was the least likely scenario, and I trust him.)

So there's the irony. That bird would have died if I had just ignored him, but for all that I went through trying to help him, it didn't help one bit. He'd have been just as well off (or maybe even better), if I'd just walked away and left him to die. I feel bad, but not too guilty because I have enough dead bird stories that I realize sometimes there isn't anything you can do about it, and that there's never anything you can do once it's died.