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Feeding birds at Sunset Park: Benign hobby or Machiavellian power trip?

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You pitiful things; you’d probably wait around all afternoon for me. Lucky for you I have plans tonight and have to wrap this up soon.”
Photo: Rick Lax

Been to Sunset Park lately? Of all the former horse breeding grounds-turned-public parks*, Sunset has to be the most beautiful, especially now that the renovations are complete. The splash playground is new, the walking paths are bigger and cleaner and the pond’s stonework has been redone.

Lately, I’ve been hanging out at the pond a couple times a week. Big ol’ thing; 14 acres, 12 feet deep, stuffed with rainbow trout, channel catfish, bluegill, redear sunfish, black crappie and bass. Alos, Easter Island head decorations.

Here’s my ritual: I drive to the dollar store, pick up a loaf of white bread, drive to the park and feed it to the pond’s geese and the pigeons. Which means one of two things: 1. I’m a secret octogenarian, or 2. I have power issues.

There’s a twisted joy that comes with having the exact thing another being wants—needs—and shelling it out as I see fit. I decide which geese eat and which geese starve. Or maybe I toss a piece of bread between two ducks and let them fight it out. Or maybe I just hold out for a couple minutes, staring the pigeons down, my hand in the bread bag, thinking, You pitiful things; you’d probably wait around all afternoon for me. Lucky for you I have plans tonight and have to wrap this up soon.

Or maybe I just want to feel needed.

*According to Living Las Vegas, the park space was a functional cemetery before it was converted into a public recreation area.

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Rick Lax

Rick wrote the books Fool Me Once: Hustlers, Hookers, Headliners, and How Not to Get Screwed in Vegas and Lawyer ...

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