Alone and Bored? Consider a Parrot!

I’m at the age that many of my friends have lost a partner. Although they might not want to get involved in another relationship, they do miss the companionship.

Toward this end, I offer “consider a parrot.”

I read that parrots live anywhere from 30 to 100 years. It made me think that a parrot might fill this gap for companionship. You could teach the parrot to talk and, if you prefer, only express opinions that you agree on.

For example, while watching the news together and something gets you particularly upset and you say, “those damn (fill in the appropriate political party for you here) are idiots,” you can train your parrot to say, “You’re right, who the heck voted for them?”

You could take the parrot out to dinner, sort of like a service dog, only it’s a service parrot. (Who’s going to argue with you? Have you ever seen a parrot kicked out of a restaurant? Neither have I. So go for it.)

Then, given that you have trained the parrot to talk, you can say, “Honey, what are you having for your main course?” and the parrot will respond with your favorite dish (not including bird seed). Then you say, “That sounds good, do you want to share a salad?”

Actually that’s not too far-fetched a question as I think some parrots do eat lettuce, although I think it might cause them to have diarrhea, and given that they do fly, you probably wouldn’t be welcomed back to that particular restaurant again.

The preferable way to take your parrot out in public is keeping him or her (well, how do you actually know if it’s a boy or girl bird unless it lays an egg and I guess if it does, it’s flown the coop a few nights there) trained to sit through a meal.

I believe proper parrot etiquette is having the bird sit on your shoulder.

Of course, I’ve actually only seen pirates do it that way, not that I know that many pirates personally, but given that I have narrow shoulders, in my situation the bird would probably keep slipping off. Not a good look for either of us.

Another option would be on a leash like a dog, but as they take such small steps, it would take forever to walk to your table. Probably the best choice is a bird cage. It would have to be pretty large but if you had one custom made, you could have a drawer in it for your keys, wallet, glasses, pills, etc. which would make it easier to have two hands free to hold the cage. And then a place for leftovers as I don’t think they could probably finish a whole meal.

Just a warning, even though red and green are nice seasonal colors, I don’t think I’d let the parrot order spaghetti with red sauce. I mean, once again, think about your fellow diners.

Probably ordering chicken or duck could be awkward given the possible species relationships, like “oh no, that’s Aunt Clara with sauce l’orange.”

I think cows are a safe bet as are pigs, so steak or pork seems OK. With vegetarian being the safest, relationship-wise.

Another possible concern. If your parrot is a rescue, meaning it had a previous owner, I don’t think it’s like erasing the hard drive on your computer when you acquire him or her. The parrot probably retained certain phrases from its previous owner. For instance, if the previous guy was a connoisseur of strip clubs (or is it habitué), if you have a wait person who is a female taking your order, there is the possibility of the parrot saying something inappropriate to the present occasion, like “take it off, take it all off,” or even something worse, and then, especially if you are a male parrot owner, it might look like you were the one who had spoken. That could be awkward. So we need to be a bit careful in that area.

As far as dinner conversation goes, even though we are not supposed to discuss politics or religion in public, parrots are very intelligent birds whose brains have evolved the same way as our brains have, so they might have some interesting insights into those areas and, as they don’t have any skin in the game (or should I say feathers) it might be an enlightening conversation all around.

Bon appetit.