For over four years, I’ve kept a pair of lovebirds in my home, Merry and Pippen. Yes, I am aware of the spelling mistake, but that’s how I’ve always spelled his name in my head. I don’t write about my birds often.
Lovebirds, for the uninitiated, are not ideal pets. They are incredibly loud, quite messy, and they don’t take easily to training. Complicating matters was the fact that these two birds had a long precedent of not having been trained before I got them, and they were incredibly closely bonded to one another. See, a singular lovebird is a charming, personable friend. Two lovebirds form a clique, and if you happen to lack feathers, you are not invited to any of their best parties.
Still, they have filled my apartment with chirpings loud enough to occasionally wake the neighbors and a lot of strange, distant affection for a number of years, and I appreciate their company.
Today, Pippen died in my hands. Though I had only had him for four years, he was a pretty old lovebird. The previous owners had him for some seven years, and the average lifespan of a lovebird is between ten and fifteen years. So, to the best of my knowledge, he was eleven, and had a good run of things.
The event has made me understandably a lot upset. I was really fond of the little guy, and he was by far the friendlier and more intimate of the birds. He was a total sweetness and I really enjoyed having him around. I’ll miss him.
So… What does this have to do with games and gaming? Not too terribly much, actually. I considered making this an existential blog post about how death works in the current D&D cosmology, and while that would certainly be a decent article, I think it’s a bit much for me at the moment. I also considered writing a post about how the deaths of player characters are handled in role-playing games (a phenomenon categorized by “Oh, he or she is dead. Moving on to the next room”). Which also has some meat on it. Or I could talk about the deaths of animal companions in D&D, something we typically neglect as nothing more than a rules inconvenience. Any and all of these would be great articles. And maybe someday, when I’m not feeling like a sack of smashed assholes because my bird just died, I’ll get around to writing them.