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Subject: Kamikaze Pilot

Management sends a memo to African grey Parker, asking why he keeps "kamikazing pilot" on the other members of the household.

Patricia Sund

Kamikaze PilotMemo: To Parker & Pepper
Dept: African Greys
From: Management
Subject: Kamikaze Pilot

Parker, I am aware that you are a bird, more specifically a parrot. Technically, you are a "Psitticus erithicus;” commonly known as a Congo African grey parrot. You are also a pain in my keester. What I don’t know is where you got your latest flying skills. Did you sign up for lessons from a pilot surviving the Pearl Harbor attack?

When you were a baby, I taught you to fly. I find this ironic, as I myself am incapable of the exercise. No matter, within five minutes of my placing you on a chair back and letting loose with a volley of idiotic baby talk, you flew to my hand. At the time, I thought it was a miracle. You are built to do this, but only weeks before I found it amazing that you were able to waddle across the length of the oriental rug.

Within days of this lesson, you were flying to the office and landing on the window sill. You flew for about a week when I declared enough was enough. When you began scaring me with your careening around, I had your wing feathers trimmed.

Despite periodic grooming, this hasn’t prevented you from making a flying leap from your play stand and zooming down the hall for a smooth landing onto the day bed in the office. I don’t know how, but you manage this flight just fine. I realize you simply want to be with me, but Pepper has a cow when you leave her alone in the living room. Because of this, I have been spending more time in the living room with you. That worked because lately, you haven’t felt the pressing need to "buzz bomb” the office.

Instead, you leap from your play stand onto the top of Pepper’s cage and bang the corner of the artwork hung above it. We all hear, "Bang. Bang. Bang-bang,” which leads to my bellowing, "Parker! Knock it off!” This is followed by silence and the sound of a perfect "raspberry:” "Pttthhhhh!” 

Parker, I don’t mind your cavalier attitude and blatant disrespect, but I can’t have you chewing on that picture frame and whomping it against the wall like you were a jazz drummer for Ray Charles.

Shari does a beautiful job grooming you. She gives you some latitude with your wing feather trim: You are left with the flight feathers that allow you to gracefully loft into the air and fly a few feet before expertly landing. Yet enough is trimmed to prevent you from getting any real lift. That said, this vault over to Pepper’s cage for a quick whack or two on the picture frame has to stop. It’s giving me a headache and it annoys Pepper.

Perhaps she’s worried that you are going to poop in her cage. I’m sure she would prefer that you use your own cage to poop on. This even disturbs Mattie the dog. She wakes from her nap long enough to wander out and stare at the door wondering if someone brought her a treat. Disappointed that it’s just you banging around again, and not her friend Beverly with a dog cookie, Mattie snorts and returns to her llama wool rug for another nap.

So you can see how this erratic flying and picture-frame banging is disturbing other members of the household. Perhaps you might rethink the Kamikaze flying, as well as the pursuit of your "next career” as a percussionist. Please make appropriate accommodations for the preservation of our sanity.

— Management

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Posted: January 15, 2014, 12:30 p.m. PDT

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