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Subject: Porker Report

Management sends a memo to African grey Parker to watch his language when he's around people.

Patricia Sund

Porker Report

Memo: To Parker & Pepper
Dept: African Greys
From: Management
Subject: Porker Report

I wanted to congratulate you on a job well done at the fund-raiser last week. You were beautifully behaved at the airport operations area raising money for sick and injured flight attendants. I’m sure the foundation appreciated your efforts in "turning tricks for charity.”

You both diligently performed your tricks for a buck each, raising money in short order for a very worthy cause. Crew members were captivated with you and thought you were both very amusing birds. You turned around, introduced yourselves, waved and gave the "high-four” to anyone with some cash. You didn’t roll your eyes when someone asked; "Do they bite?” I know that question ticks you off as much as it does me.

Several of the Flight Service Managers stopped by to say "Hello,” including Howard and Nora who absolutely adore you. Apparently you had some fans in the crowd who had read about you in BIRD TALK and wanted to meet you. (We can do without any attitude arising from learning of this — I’m only filling you in.)

However, there was one tense moment. I’d like to discuss it with you so we can try to avoid it in the future.

Parker, you know very well what your name is. You know how to pronounce it and you know how to say it promptly when you are cued with the words, "What’s your name?” You’ve been doing this for years.

 I realize our friend, Pamela, has been making some humorous comments about your appetite, and it’s all in good fun. I think it’s wonderful that you aren’t one of those picky birds that will only deign to eat when the moon is full and even then it has to be imported, heirloom, organic and hydroponic. You’re a decent little chow hound. So as a joke, Pamela began calling you "Porker” instead of "Parker.”

This does not mean that you may substitute that word for your name when you are introduced to a flight attendant with a weight problem. I almost fell through the floor when you said "Porker” to that woman.

Parker, she doesn’t realize that you have no understanding that the word "pork” refers to swine and she certainly isn’t about to stand there and listen to me recite some lame reference about verbal cognition. She didn’t know that Pamela has been using that word around you and she doesn’t really care you didn’t understand you were calling her a pig.

I know you couldn’t possibly comprehend that the woman has a thyroid issue and is battling a weight problem. Nevertheless, she doesn’t need to be reminded of this from someone who only weighs about one pound, either.

The worst part of it was when you got a laugh from the other people around you. She was a good sport about it and laughed as well. I think I was more embarrassed than she was. I’m sure she’s aware of her physical appearance, but I didn’t think it was appropriate for you to laugh at your own joke. Just because other people laugh doesn’t mean you need to. If another grey jumps off a cliff, does that mean you have to as well?

Let’s try to be a little bit more sensitive during public appearances and stick to the script, shall we? Your consideration is appreciated. 

— Management

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Posted: January 16, 2014, 4:00 p.m. PDT

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