Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Bird is the Word




And now, live from Planet Freak Show, we bring you the Case of the Purloined Parrot.

I usually hate to preface a story with the words "this is true" but a recent case out of Florida makes this little disclaimer mandatory.

It seems this woman down there was so enamored with a classic car that she swiped an exotic parrot from her employer, stuffed the bird down her bra (!?) and tried to swap the little bugger for the vintage vehicle.

The deal went south, however, when the car's owner turned out to be a good friend of the parrot-napper's boss. It really is a small world after all.

"The circumstances of the case are the most bizarre I've ever encountered," said veteran wildlife investigator Lenny Barshinger. Where's Long John Silver when you need him?

I recall an old Monty Python bit about a bogus news program that focused only on the news for parrots. So there would be stories like "No parrots were involved in a 5-car pile-up on the M-5 today."

And then there was John Cleese's classic dead parrot sketch where he plays an irate customer returning the parrot what he bought store not two hours ago turned out to be dead. He gives the store owner about a dozen alternate expressions for death before finally shrieking, "this is an ex-parrot!"

Beautiful bird, the Norwegian Blue. Lovely plumage.

I can't imagine stealing a parrot for any reason, and if I did, I really can't imagine stuffing the thing into my clothing. I would think having an animal with a beak anywhere near your breasts would be dangerous for both parties. But I am a little jealous since that bird was getting more action than I've had in a long time.

And what kind of business deal is this? I've heard of oil for food, and guns for hostages, but a bird for a card is a little out there. Now you can't drive a bird, but a car doesn't talk. Unless it's that car from Knight Rider and I think that might have been a fake.

What makes people do this? Is it a strange sense of entitlement, a failure to know right from wrong? A feeling that they are above the law? Or are they just fucking stupid?

Or maybe it'll catch on. I was walking by an Asian store in my neighorhood that sells vegetables and fish when I saw a sign that I thought said "We Accept Catfish."

Hmmm, I thought, now there's an interesting pay structure. What if I brought in a trout or even a parrot? We could have a whole animal bartering economy and finally move on to the cashless society I've been hearing so much about.

Weasels, anteaters, boa constrictors, gazelles, chipmonks and armadillos could all do double duty as currency. Now it could get a little messy and the wallet and pocketbook would need a radical-design, but that's a small price to pay for getting back to nature.

I noticed that sign actually says "We Accept Food Stamps" and they only sell catfish. For money, not woodchucks. So another great idea goes down the tube. But it never hurts to keep a few parrots around the house just in case.

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