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Laundry Basket

Management sends a memo to African grey Parker, asking why he takes such issue with the laundry basket.

Patricia Sund

Memo to Parker & Pepper; Illustration by Thomas Kimball/I-5 Studio Memo: To Parker & Pepper
Dept: African Greys
From: Management
Subject: Laundry Basket

Parker, I’ve noticed that ever since you were very young you have taken issue with my laundry basket. Every time I would take the laundry basket out of the closet, you’d have a hissy fit. The growling, drama and puffing up! Heavens! You go on like Greta Garbo, and I have enough drama in my life. Could you please explain to me what it is about a laundry basket that sets you off?

This has been going on since you were very little, and I’ve never understood it. There isn’t very much that bothers you, and it surprises me that a laundry basket of all things is what sends you into a tizzy. You jump on new toys like they were made of cheese, and you have absolutely no problems with meeting new people.

You had a bit of a problem on Halloween when we went to a costume party and contest at our local pub. I attended dressed as Tippi Hedren from the film "The Birds” and you accompanied me as the "Killer Parrot.” I had to introduce you to the blonde wig I wore, but you had no issue with it once it was on my head. You sat nicely on my shoulder right next to the wig and your feet were right in line with the fake blood stains on my suit that appeared to be trickling down from your toenails on my shoulder. You did try to chew the heads off some of the artificial birds I had glued all over my suit, but I just kept you away from them, and we had no problems. We had a lot of fun and we even won second place.

Since you first displayed this loathing, I’ve made some attempts to work with you regarding "The Laundry Basket Dilemma.” I have tried getting you acclimated to it by putting it on the floor away from your cage, but that simply doesn’t work. I’ve played with the basket and put the basket on my head, which only made you scream. I’ve even introduced you to the laundry basket: "Parker, this is Mr. Basket! Mr. Basket, this is Parker!”

You just gave me a bad look and walked to the back of your cage, puffing up even more.
Now what did my laundry basket ever do to you? Parker, it is an inanimate object! It has no legs, so it can’t run after you and hurt you. It doesn’t hate you, because it doesn’t have a brain. It can’t trap you underneath it and it can’t bite you, if that’s what you’re worried about.

The only thing I can think of that would ingrain this fear in you must have come from your babyhood. It must have been early because you’ve been with me since you were very young. I can’t imagine what kind of trauma occurred to have you develop this massive distrust of laundry baskets. Parker, it’s a laundry basket, not a monster. Were you kept in a laundry basket when you were little? Did you live in a laundry basket when you were a baby and resent the fact that you had to share it with your clutch mates?

Since you aren’t willing to discuss it and you refuse to see a professional, I’ve had no choice: I’ve gotten rid of the laundry basket and have now switched to a laundry bag. This doesn’t seem to bother you. And, as you have made it abundantly clear to me, if you’re happy, I’m happy. I hope you are pleased with the solution to the laundry basket crisis, and I trust laundry day will be drama-free in the future.

— Management 

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Posted: December 5, 2013, 3:30 p.m. PDT

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