My parrot, Oscar. You might think he has a drinking problem, but it’s a bit more playful than that.
You see, I can’t really take him out for walks like I do with my dog, Rack. In order to do that, I’d have to trim the toenails first.
If you have ever heard the rather sarcastic stories on how to bathe a cat, it’s similar. Imagine talons as sharp as a sewing needle being thrust into your flesh as a beak that is like a pair of diagonal cutters being wielded by a man with intent to maim are coming at your body.
I stopped trying to keep his toenails filed down years ago when I realized it made me look like an extra in a slasher movie.
Don’t try to teach a pig to dance, it won’t work and only annoys the pig.
I can trim his flight feathers. He allows that, although he complains about it. I got very good at getting him so that his flight was a controlled descent. I stopped doing that too since my departed dog, Lettie, was a bit too interested in him. I figured that if a 45 pound McNab dog was quick on her feet, old Oscar needed to be quick enough to fly away.
I don’t think Lettie saw Oscar as prey, more like an unruly bit of the flock that needed to be herded.
I didn’t want to take that chance.
Since then I have tried to make sure that Oscar has plenty of toys to exercise his mind. After all, if he’s chewing on a hard plastic ring or preening a piece of cotton rope, he won’t be shrieking at the music that is playing here.
All bets are off an hour after dawn or the hour before dusk. That is the Call To Flock time, and well, they call to the flock to make sure they’re all back in the trees. Turn the music down, mute the TV and especially commercials, and hope for the best.
Those toys are gathered from strange sources. Green bamboo cut from the backyard gives hours of fun, and it is kind of interesting to watch him turn the sticks into toothpicks, then later splinters. It also saves my woodwork.
Any time we have a street festival, I look for something that might be interesting to him, or Rack. The beach ball serves as a road block for Oscar. He doesn’t like it because Scary Ball Eeek! but he and Rack both like to preen the Hedgehogs I keep.
Plush toys the size of your fist are a winner here, trust me on that. If Beanie Babies were more sturdy, I’d have let them play with those years ago.
One of the strangest things that you find here in Wilton Manors are drink chips. You folks who come from all over the world, sometimes travelling days to get here like to drink. You usually travel here to drink with your phone in your hand looking at things that your friends you left behind are doing instead of finding something to do here.
Once bored with being online with your friends back home, you get bored with the bars. You wonder why you came all this way just to sit in a dark and noisy corner when nobody will talk with you.
Here’s a hint, Sunshine, Put. Down. The. Phone.
You slide your precious little fetish device into the pocket, along with your drink chip, and you stagger out to the cars.
Yes, you do, we notice. We, being the locals. Don’t drive impaired, because if you do, I truly hope that you’ll get stopped.
As you get to your car, you reach into your pocket. Here is when Oscar gets a new toy. Sliding that phone out of your pocket, your precious drink chip that you saved promising yourself that you’d come back tomorrow because that corner perch wasn’t so bad and even comfortable, and that person over there by the window was cute when you got smiled at… falls on the ground and rolls under your car.
Yeah, the car with Ohio Plates.
You curse and get in and drive off.
The next morning, or perhaps even evening, we’re out on our dog walk. The little green chip is spotted and goes into my jeans pocket. If it’s a “Good One” it goes into the bowl with the others that will probably never get used. If it isn’t, and I have found chips from bars that had closed 5 years before, it goes to Oscar.
I’ll set them on the counter next to his cage as he spots it. His eyes will pin shut in excitement, and he will begin calling to his new toy. Eventually I let him out and he explores. Walking over to it he tries to pick it up.
The only thing left after mankind’s society falls will be Cockroaches and Drink Chips.
These things survive everything, including a curious parrot’s beak. That’s a good thing since I get them for free, even if the original owner paid five bucks for that drink that was secretly watered down.
Unfortunately for me, it means that I keep a bowl with chips in it that is sitting in plain view. Like those magazines that you swear you are “Reading for the articles”, the chips are “For the Parrot”.
You may not believe it, but at least I have proof, and a happy parrot is the payoff.