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Rubber Legs

Management sends a memo to African greys Parker and Pepper regarding their tendency to develop "Rubber Leg Syndrome" at the most inconvenient times.

Patricia Sund

Memos to Parker & Pepper, Illustration by Thomas Kimball/I-5 Studio Memo: To Parker & Pepper
Dept: African Greys
From: Management
Subject: Rubber Legs

I realize you are both extremely happy to see me when I return home from work. I’m very pleased to see you as well. Incredibly, even Mattie the dog gets up from her fourth nap of the day and walks to the door and grunts while wagging her tail to poke my foot with her paw when I arrive. Such lovely greetings!

While I appreciate your enthusiasm in seeing me, there is an issue we need to address. When I am trying to get you both settled on your playgyms for an afternoon of bell-banging, toy-tearing and mess-making, you both suddenly begin to suffer from a condition I’ll refer to as "Rubber Legs Syndrome.”

Allow me to illustrate: Parker, you cheerfully agree to step up for a ride to the kitchen trash bin so that you may "Bombs Away” rather than pooping on the playgym. You’re quite consistent about this, and I think it is, by far, your greatest talent. However, when I attempt to place you on your gym, without warning you seem to lose control of your legs and feet. They go limp, and I cannot convince you to step up.

I’ve seen this condition in children occasionally, when the parent attempts to get their child off the floor. Mom tries to get the child to stand up by holding the child with both arms over the child’s head and lifting. During this process the child’s legs go completely limp and lifeless. This is sometimes accompanied by the child screaming "Nooo! I don’t wanna!” and frequently occurs in the grocery store candy aisle or in airport boarding lounges.

Pepper, are you thinking, "Nooo! I don’t want to!” when I try to place you on your perch? I know you both missed me and want me in your sight immediately after I get home. But I don’t think you realize how difficult it is to change your clothes with one parrot on your shoulder, one on your hand and a Shih Tzu repeatedly poking you in the foot. Taking off my jacket is impossible, and I can’t even put a T-shirt on with both of you lounging around on me.

I’ve attempted to come up with some solutions to this dilemma: I’ve tried getting you on your perch using the "Step Back” cue, and I’ve tried placing your tummies next to the perch in hopes you would get the hint. No dice.

You both get all "melty legged” in my hand and your legs seem to collapse like sticks of butter in the microwave.

I’m quite flattered by your insistence on staying perched on my hand, but this doesn’t solve the problem. Guys, I still have to change out of my work clothes when I arrive home.

I have asked both of you for a solution to this pressing problem, but I see the suggestion box I have conveniently provided for you in the dining room contains nothing but dried up carrot bits and half of an almond shell somebody threw in there.

Due to your lack of input regarding the "Rubber Legs Syndrome,” and the fact that I still have to change out of my work clothes, I have come up with a solution on my own. From now on, I’m changing my clothes before I get you out. That way we won’t have to worry about this dreaded affliction, and we can get on with our day. I’m sure everyone will like this new plan, and we will all be happier. Thank you in advance for adjusting to this slight tweak in the schedule.

— Management

Read more Memos to Parker & Pepper here.


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Posted: December 6, 2013, 11:15 a.m. PDT

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