By R.R. Holster/PetStation

    Every parrot has six jobs.
    Six jobs that it takes very seriously.
    Six jobs that must be attended to every day.
    These six jobs are to --



    The enlightened keeper likewise takes these parrot responsibilities seriously, and provides ample opportunities for each particular duty to be fulfilled throughout the day. The keeper who has not the time, energy or patience to provide for the parrot to fulfill its responsibilities will be severely rebuked by the bird in due course. The unenlightened keeper will then blame the bird for the consequences.

    Consider the sad tale of Mr. Q, a quiet, unassuming sort, who upon bringing his baby macaw home regaled the entire neighborhood with a celebratory bash. Everyone attending could tell Mr. Q was quite proud of his new bird, almost as proud, but perhaps not quite, as he was of the burled maplewood armoire that his ancestors brought with them upon the Mayflower.

    The weeks passed and the bird grew into a very large macaw. Mr. Q was very conscientious about providing his macaw with plenty of food and water, and even the occasional bell-toy. Mr. Q's fatal error was in failing also to provide plenty of "destroyables" for his young macaw to chew upon. One day Mr. Q opened the door to his abode only to find the macaw sitting proudly atop a pile of sawdust and splinters that once had been the beautiful, ancient armoire. Oh well, it was old anyway. Unfortunately, Mr. Q didn't quite perceive it that way, plunging into a deep despair. His macaw now visits him regularly in the Mid-Counties Sanitorium, where the friendly staff always provide plenty of wooden toys for it to chew to pieces.

    Next, ponder the horror of Mrs. V, whose treasured cockatoo always let her know when it was poop time by doing a little bend-at-the-knee thing. Mrs. V would then dutifully take the cockatoo back to the cage area to do its business. Except for the time one evening when the ladies card club was engrossed in a particularly interesting hand. The cockatoo, perched upon Mrs. V's shoulder, attempted to hail her attention, wiggling and waggling, but to no avail. Mrs. V's mind was in canasta-land. It quickly returned to real-time when the cockatoo spewed forth a green and white mess that in no way matched the front of Mrs. V's mauve blouse. Suffice to say, though memorable, the evening was not a success.

    Finally, reflect upon the dour fate of Miss F, whose motto was, "Love me, love my lovebird." It was back in 1945 that Miss F and her lovebird, in her own words, "missed the last bus leaving." That would be the weekend her penpal sweetheart came a-calling. He was a G.I. coming home from the Big One, a fellow she never had actually met. But when she opened the door to see him standing there on the porch in that big green uniform, her heart soared. He was an ugly sort... just right for her. She invited him in and they got to know each other over glasses of lemonade. It was love in the making. Then entered the lovebird.

    Ever doting on her precious bird, she brought the tender thing out for her long lost sweetie to see and hold. "It's a funny little thing," the army man said, poking fat fingers at the bird's beak. "Look at them skinny legs," the man piped, thumping the scaly grey limbs. "Kinda pretty, but me, I prefer cats," he guffawed. At that the lovebird had had enough, crunching the man's fleshy thumb in its beak, drawing blood and a titanic scream from the poor fellow. He jumped up, wildly flinging his hand, but the lovebird -- parrotdom's version of the Tasmanian devil -- held on tenaciously. The little bird only let go as the man went running out the door, hollering all the way as he passed from view up the street and over the hill.

    And that was the last time any man came courting Miss F. Already 39 when that incident occured, she knew the bus had left without her. Last we heard she was still going strong... but still an old maid. Good thing she has her lovebird.

    So you see, parrot keepers, you'd better learn a lesson from these unfortunates who didn't keep those six jobs in mind. You know the old saying, "A bird in the hand is worth keeping an eye on."


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