Day 124: Buy a parrot…

“…and train it to say some unpalatable truth that you cannot voice yourself in society.”

Aside from the fact that I don’t have the money to buy a parrot, the big problem with today’s task is that there are no unpalatable truths I’m unable to voice.

We’re all going to die. Most babies are ugly. Nobody gives a shit about anything. Mowing your lawn is a waste of time. Bad things will always happen to good people. None of you eat enough vegetables, but that’s okay, because there aren’t enough vegetables to go around. Politicians are liars and crooks, even the nice ones. I’m rocking out to this song. By the time you figure out what’s going on, it’s much too late. And, because it bears repeating: we’re all going to die.

Why would I bother training a parrot to say any of that? Much better to train my kids – and other people’s kids – to say such things.

If I was going to go to the trouble of training a parrot to say anything, I’d teach it John Cleese’s lines from the “Dead Parrot” sketch – except the parrot would refer to itself in the first person, where Cleese refers to it in the third:

I’m not pinin’! I’ve passed on! This parrot is no more! I have ceased to be! I’ve expired, and gone to meet my maker! I’m a stiff! Bereft of life! I rest in peace! If you hadn’t nailed me to the perch I’d be pushin’ up the daisies! My metabolic processes are now history! I’m off the twig! I’ve kicked the bucket, I’ve shuffled off my mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible! I am an ex-parrot!

That’s existential comedy gold, that is. Really makes you think about the human condition, from a parrot’s point of view. It’s absurd, but it makes sense: it hits you, hard, right in the gut, like a dead kitten. It’s a parrot, and it’s alive, right, but it’s so aware of it’s own death that it can return itself to the pet store, which is obviously a metaphor for … uh, something. Anyway, it’s brilliant.

Sam Beckett never wrote anything half that good.


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