Al> Tell me about yourself if you wouldn't mind. You are the first ostrich that I've ever met, to say nothing of interviewing. First of all, how did you get the name, Oedipus?

Oedipus> My owner, Nick, gave the name to me. He was making a literary allusion to the character in the Greek tragedy, Oedipus Rex. Oedipus denied that he had an incestuous relationship with his mother. To Nick, this denial reminded him of the folklore that ostriches bury their heads in sand to avoid problems.

Al> Oedipus, where did ostriches come from?

Oedipus> Well, ostriches originally came from the African Savannah, and we've been around long before human beings. We were imported to America in the last couple hundred years. Today, they say that there are more Ostriches in the United States than in Africa. People have killed us for our feathers and our leather. Did you know that we can produce three or four pounds of feathers per bird. Nick will probably want to show you a and some eggs and a hide. I don't like that personally, that kid was a friend of mine. People even grind-up our feet and use the powder as an aphrodisiac. Fortunately for us, Viagra has cut down of our being used to enhance male sexual prowess.

Al> Viagra has certainly saved the day for all ostriches.

Oedipus> Well, Viagra might have saved some of us, but even more destructive to us was the way you human beings got into a health kick of lowering your cholesterol and fat intake. Ostriches are a wonderful source of low-fat and low-cholesterol red meat. Nick likes to say that we are the meat of the new millennium. If that gets around, I'll lose more friends and faster. However, you should see him out on his Harley delivering the ostrich meat to his customers. It would be funnier if they weren't my friends that he was delivering.

Al> Oedipus, you mentioned that Nick names you because of the folklore about ostriches sticking your heads in the sand. What are your suggestions regarding denial and not sticking ones head in the proverbial sand.

Oedipus> My suggestion, which is based upon personal experience, is to face the music. We all tend to try to avoid painful situations whether ostriches or people. However, when we do that, it merely compounds the problem. It is like just paying interest on a credit card bill-the debt merely gets larger as time goes by.

Al> That makes sense, but it is hard to be proactive about problems. Whenever I confront a painful situation, I often pull away from the problem-hoping that it will go away.

Oedipus> Well, that is a natural response for all animals. However remember what Mark Anthony said in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, "Cowards die many times before their death, the valiant taste of death but once." I'm not denying the pain, but not facing the pain merely causes you to absorb the pain each time you think about it. Suppose you are afraid to deal with a problem at work. Facing the music may be painful. However, each time you worry about it, you suffer the pain again and again. If you postpone confronting a problem for a week, you could have inflicted the pain upon yourself dozens of times by procrastinating. Had you just dealt with it quickly, you would have saved yourself a lot of grief.

Al> Sounds like a good idea, but I just don't like having to face problems.

Oedipus> I know what you mean. I use to dread seeing new problems come my way, but I learned to welcome problems. Problems are merely assets-opportunities for success. The problem became a blessing. Take a problem that you are facing and assume that it is a blessing and not a curse. If you do, you will find opportunity to improve your situation. Try it; you'll like the results. I promise you.

Al> Okay, I'll do that.

Oedipus> But make sure that you start your problem solving with the belief that it will work for you. Henry Ford said, "You can believe you can or you can believe you can't, either way you will be correct."

Note: Oedipus wouldn't appreciate this, but you can order ostrich meat from Nick Stama, Wild Dream Ostrich Ranch, 10332 Singer Lake Rd., Baroda, MI 49101. His telephone number is 1-616-422-1211.

This article appeared in the Dixon Telegraph on 8/14/00.