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Subject: Food Beard

Management sends a memo to African greys, Parker and Pepper, asking them to wipe their beaks after they devour their meals.

Patricia Sund

Memo: To Parker & Pepper
Dept: African Greys
From: Management
Subject: Food Beard

I enjoy watching you eat. You both have robust appetites and a keen eye for what you prefer to consume. You are somewhat selective in the order in which you consume your meal items and prefer to eat at one particular playgym or another. Pepper, you don’t care a whit whether your food is stone cold out of the fridge or if it’s been left out to take the chill off for a few minutes. Parker, you’d just as soon throw it at Mattie the dog if it isn’t a bit warmer. Such a gourmand!

Food Beards

However, if it is something unusual and especially delicious, neither one of you wait a nanosecond. For instance, the other day I served you some sautéed vegetables left over from dinner the night before. You would have thought I had served you tortilla chips, macaroni and cheese and a side of almonds! I didn’t hear a peep out of you for at least a half hour. Oblivious to everything else, you sucked down those vegetables like they were covered in cheese instead of a light sprinkling of fresh, chopped basil.

However, I would like to make a suggestion. While I realize that you loved your healthy and delicious dinner, after you are through, do you think you could possibly take the time to wipe the beaks please? You both had food beards hanging off of your faces that made you appear as if you were auditioning for the rock band ZZ Top.

If those beards got any longer, I could have scraped them off and salvaged an entirely new meal from what was hanging there.

This doesn’t mean you wait until I try to help by wiping your beaks for you. Instead of allowing me to clean you up, you leap onto my shoulder and wipe your food beards in my hair. I try to keep semi-tidy with my appearance, but when I’ve spent any time with you, I end up looking like the streets of Times Square after New Year’s Eve.

When I take Mattie out for the evening, I don’t realize I have sautéed vegetable bits smeared on the side of my head. The neighbors who take their dogs out inquire about my hair accessory, and then how do I look? Well, I’ll tell you: I look like some crazy person who has a major issue with aiming for her mouth when she eats dinner.

It’s tough enough explaining to people that my family consists of a quirky dog and a couple of smart-mouthed parrots. But it’s even more daunting to attempt to justify my appearance with a straight face when I have sautéed vegetables in my hair, parrot poop down my back, some creamed squash on my shirt and one delicate, down feather stuck to Mattie the dog’s nose.
I look as though I had just spent the day rolling around in a dumpster while Mattie was raiding a chicken coop.

Most of my friends have grown used to my occasional disheveled appearance. When pointing out a splotch on my jeans and inquiring as to its origin, they have grown accustomed to explanations such as, "Oh that? That’s parrot poop. And that one there is from this morning when Pepper decided to fling her breakfast at the dog. I guess she missed.”

I can deal with the spotted clothing, but I would appreciate it if your food beards end up on your perches rather than in my hair.

— Management

Read more "Memos To Parker & Pepper" here.

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Posted: April 9, 2014, 12:30 p.m. PDT

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