Memo: To Parker & Pepper
Dept: African Greys
Subject: Depositing Your Basketball In My Beer
Parker, we had a wonderful lunch at the Kings Head Pub not too long ago. You always love to sit outside in their tented courtyard to get some fresh air. The "Queen of Hearts” salad was delicious. Tamara the manager and Mr. Richard the owner are so kind to you. They offer you shredded carrots when you arrive. They also give Mattie dog cookies; nice, hospitable touches for a British Pub, don’t you think?
Everyone always enjoys seeing you. You have lots of friends at the Pub; you have been going there on outings since you were a baby.
You obligingly perform all of your tricks with the props I carry for you in your backpack kindly supplied by a rum company from the duty-free shop at the Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Everyone loves watching you play basketball with your ball and your little basketball hoop. It’s a great trick, and you enjoy the positive reinforcement of an almond bit and the attention you receive when you "shoot hoops.” Such high praise and applause!
However, you are turning into a little attention hound. It isn’t enough that you make a basket through the hoop that I paid an arm and a leg for. You can’t simply perform the behavior the way I taught you. Oh no! You have to make a spectacle of your self and start tossing the ball into my pint of beer. Sure it gets laughs. Sure everyone thinks it’s funny. And yes, everyone applauds you. But it’s when you start laughing at me that really brings the house down.
Did you ever ask me how I felt about it? Did it ever occur to you that I now have to fish your basketball out of the pint of beer I paid $4.50 for? Did you ever once think that now that your basketball is covered in beer, Tamara has to run it though the dishwasher? That is a lot of trouble for a cheap laugh and even though everyone thinks it’s funny, I end up being the butt of your joke.
Parker, I realize that what you did was called "generalizing a behavior.” You took a behavior or a trick you knew how to do, and you put a creative twist on it that happens to be very funny. Instead of shooting a hoop into the basket, you decided to be a "smarty pants” and lob it into my beer.
While I appreciate your creativity and sense of humor, it creates a mess. You heave it into the pint glass and my nice glass of Belgian beer gets full of your crud, the beer runs all over the table and you’re laughing.
I have thought about this and I have made an executive decision. I could simply remove my beer to another table when you are playing basketball. But I’m not going to because, personally, I think it’s one of the funniest things you do. It’s worth the mess and the trouble because people love it and you get an enormous kick out of the attention.
Parker, when it comes to you, I choose my battles and this really isn’t one of them. It’s worth it to me to see you perform this behavior, because you thought it up on your own. And as long as you aren’t actually drinking my beer, I guess it’s all right.
Here’s a toast to you, Parker. We’ll go back to the Pub soon.
Read more Memo to Parker & Pepper here.