This article is part of the The Bradford Exchange series.
The eagle. For centuries now this great bird has stood for American values. Noble and courageous, the eagle swoops in low to right wrongs and deliver harsh justice to the eyeballs of evildoers. The eagle is the all-powerful spirit of every American, only with feathers and the ability to fly. Bold, striking, and not afraid to cry in the wake of tragedy. During 9/11, the eagle openly wept, scarcely able to clutch his 13 arrows and olive branch, so weakened by the pain was he. Tenured resident of the American Olympus, the eagle is forever perched on the shoulder of Dale Earnhardt in the Pantheon of American Gods.
Americans love eagles. It's not just because of the work of tireless eagle lobbyists or a billion dollar PR blitz financed by Big Eagle. I think it's because we see our reflection in the mighty eagle's determined eyes. We look into those two blackened pits and see our own potential to rise above the petty things and grab the salmon of opportunity. The eagle, mostly because it can fly, symbolizes our own boundless upward mobility.
Still, not everyone loves eagles. Famous American hater Benjamin Franklin once tried to defame our heroic mascot in this letter he wrote to Penthouse:
"For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him."
Thankfully, men like Benjamin Franklin are dead and forgotten, now no more than mere ash in the great furnace of history. Their harsh words cannot hurt the eagle anymore. Not that they could even hurt such a majestic creature, whose feathers may well be bulletproof and impervious to fireballs and liquid nitrogen freezing attacks.
While Americans cannot yet transform into eagles at will, we can do the next best thing: We can decorate our homes with the finest quality eagle memorabilia available for order. It is through the accumulation of eagle merchandise that we show our true skin color, which is not white or black, but rather red, white, and blue. All Americans are at heart a Neapolitan mixture of these three colors.
Artist Ted Blaylock understands our pain and uses his extensive talent and priapism for eagles to make beautifully inspiring art. I thought I might showcase some of that art for you folks today. I remind you that it is never too early to start Christmas shopping.
Perhaps the one great weakness of the eagle is its inability to play guitar. The nature of the guitar makes it unwieldy for creatures that do not have hands. Furthermore, the eagle's sharp talons would likely cut through even the hardiest of guitar string. I think we can all agree, however, that the eagle's awe-inspiring spirit can be heard in many classic rock songs. This guitar, which doesn't have any strings and cannot be used to play inspiring songs such as "Free Bird," does not even need to. Its very existence serves to play a kind of music that transcends sound. This is the music of the spirit, and it rocks. It's also the perfect decoration for your SUV's mantelpiece.
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
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