I Almost Died Laughing

I don't know about your sense of humor but mine is kinda shallow :p Last night I was reading a chapter of Erma Bombeck's book All I Know About Animal Behavior I Learned in Loehmann's Dressing Room. Some of you, who have been reading this blog on and off, may know how much I enjoy Erma's humor and wit.

There was this particular passage which had me snickering for several minutes that my son had to ask me what the heck is so funny. I tried telling him the story, in between gasps for breath, and he ended up laughing too. Are we nuts or what? Go decide for yourself.


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There is an unwritten law that the more demands a pet makes on you, the longer he will live.

I once owned a parrot who spoke only two phrases, "Hello Barney" (the fool was saying hello to himself) and "Telephone." I was attracted to the pet because he was a lot like my husband. He'll tell you his name and when the phone rang would shout "Telephone!" but make no move to answer it.

Barney's Ritual was the same every day. He ate a pound of grain and went to the bathroom enough to overflow a landfill.

His life span was estimated at one hundred years.

One day I was in a pet shop and saw a speech training cassette.

As I stood in front of Barney's cage dangling the cassette in front of him, I said, "Look, big fella, for three years you have done nothing but dribble peanut shells all over the floor and occasionally fly over my typewriter and make tapioca. Is it asking too much to have you communicate? I'm not asking you to line dance -- only say something."

The instructions were simple. For twenty minutes twice a day the bird would listen to two repetitive phrases, a soliloquy from Hamlet, and arias from Carmen and Madame Butterfly.

The phrases were "Hey, I'm over here" and "I'm a bad bird."

Then he was supposed to tra-la-la along to Twenty minutes of the "Toreador" song.

By the end of three weeks I was considering making a necklace of Valium and licking it at intervals. The cassette was driving me nuts.

With the kind of care he was getting, he'd outlive me. The kids made it plain they did not want to be left anything they had to dust, finish, or feed. With Barney's limited skills he couldn't make a living. I would have to provide for him in the will.

One evening at the dinner table my husband said, "I'm a bad bird." Then he added, "I have no idea why I said that."
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