Crossing The Parrot Line

Here’s a pretty good rule of thumb:  if you feel you need to have a parrot announce something to make it more interesting, the announcement is necessarily so intrinsically boring that even a squawking parrot won’t help.

470ff7460e14467f854bcb5bc442ac98So it is with the NFL draft, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have announced that their fourth-round pick will be delivered by a parrot — a Catalina Macaw named Zsa Zsa, to be precise — from the fake pirate ship in the Buccaneers’ stadium.

It’s just the latest effort to try to jazz up the draft, which is the single most boring televised event in the history of organized sports.  For most of the history of the NFL, the draft wasn’t televised, because the NFL Commissioner and team owners correctly concluded that there was nothing remotely telegenic about it.  They wisely recognized that watching men think about which college player they should select, and watching players fidget while they wonder when they’re going to be picked, falls distinctly into watching-paint-dry territory, and seeing the selections appear on stage to don ball caps, give a grip-and-grin with the Commissioner, and display fake jerseys isn’t really any better.  It’s hopelessly dull stuff.

But when the endless quest for more televised sports activities caused someone to decide that the NFL draft should be on TV, too, the seemingly endless quest for ways to make it more interesting to watch began.  After all, even the most diehard NFL fan, whose entire life revolves around his team, can’t bear to watch uninterrupted hours of a yammering Mel Kiper, Jr. and his curious coiffure.  So gimmicks were developed, like having picks announced by former players or fans, or remote cut-ins of player families reacting to the news that their family member was drafted.  The parrot is only the latest, and most pathetically desperate, cry for attention.  Next thing we know, the Browns’ selections will be announced by a guy dressed up like the Grim Reaper or read by the team’s garbage hauler.  One the Parrot Line is crossed, anything is possible

If somebody asks me on Monday whether I watched this weekend’s NFL draft, I’ll think of the parrot and say:  “No, because I have an actual life.”

Parrot Purgatory

Last night we went to a seaside bistro that featured a parrot to give the bar area a distinctive, tropical, piratical feel.  It was a beautiful bird, large and colorful, with that kind of wise look around the eyes that parrots always seem to have.

I felt sorry for that beautiful bird.  I’m sure it would rather be back in its nest in the jungle, but its wings were clipped, and it was confined to its perch with only a dish of peanuts before it.  Worst of all, some old guy was constantly in its face, repeating the same annoying whistle, over and over and over again, in hopes that the bird would imitate it.

But the bird didn’t.  It squawked and flapped and, I think, tried to ignore the guy.  Maybe the bird was just not interested, but I preferred to think that the bird was knowingly refusing to be some cheap entertainment for a boozy codger in a ball cap.  I’d like to think that parrots have pride, even in what must seem like parrot purgatory.