Bird Droppings

Jonathan Livingston Fliegle by Hubert Bermont 54 pages; Dell; $.95

CALL ME ANDY. Why? Well, why not? After all, it is my name you know. Let me tell you about this dream I had. About birds. Seagulls to be exact. I dreamt that a band of seagulls would fly down from outer space and take over the country. I thought they would come zooming down at 70 miles perhour, 90, 120, and faster still.

It was a bad dream, thinking that something as idiotic as a seagull could sweep the country. But there it is, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, still perched in the top 10 for something like the 70th week in a row. Psychologists have had a field day in this time of Watergate and Cambodia et al., proclaiming Seagull a book of hope and comparing it to St. Exupery. But author Richard Bach is much too blatant in this expanded greeting card. He gives way to gimickry in place of the soft and the absurd. His seagull is too ambitious, and too successful.

Even more disturbing is that some quick-buckers have started on the satire routine. Here's a juicy line from Ludwig von Wolfgang Vulture: "Now one of the flock would dip down in a 61/2-point inverted roll and tear off a chunk of the festering flesh of the decaying cow or sow, the flesh already gone black, squirming with blind maggots." And here's the twist: Ludwig gets hooked on speed reading and expects a Fulbright or Rhodes; instead he gets banished. Or try this for satire: "He knew that perfect speed is never having to say you're slow." Please ban that one permanently. Of course, these days even a vulture needs a clean streak of neopatriotism, so he heads for Johnny Weissmuller's American Natural Organic Foods, Inc. and gets blasted with a shotgun in the process. End of Ludwig.

OR TRY Jonathan Livingston Fliegle*. (Kosher for Christmas) This Jewish bird is so pecked that his landings are ruined by the galoshes his mother makes him wear. She even serves chicken soup. Yonkel, the bird, decides Israel is heaven and sets out to fly there. Of the 90 lines in this bagel-without-the-cream-cheese-book, only the last two are any good, and that's a poor percentage.

Look to the skies Golda.

Yonkel is flying home.

Yes, look to the skies, Golda.

I admit semi-defeat. I can see only one benefit from these bird droppings, and that is a new fad I suppose to start right now. We merely add Seagull to the end of anyone's name whom we distrust. Try, John W. Dean Seagull III, or Senator Edward M. Kennedy Seagull '54 (D-Mass.), or even Erich Segal Seagull. Children understand.