Rico was a quirky pet parrot. While it is common for a male parrot to compete with other males in proximity, Rico did love his owner, my dad—at least at first. It wasn’t until my dad’s roommates in college tormented the bird that Rico really turned against men. Rico was potty trained and would fly back to his cage, but the roommates would block his flight path. They became more and more amused by their coordinated efforts to succeed, unfortunately breaking the bird’s training. But you see, Parrots have a good memory. Not only can some use it to speak a handful of words and phrases, but in this case to tease the offspring of his owner, and get revenge.
My parents had all boys: six to be exact. As soon as our voices changed Rico saw his opportunity. No longer could you pet Rico without him snapping at you. One of my brothers spoke like a girl whenever he was around Rico. One of my uncles told us the bird tricked him into petting him and then after a second try proclaimed, “that dumb bird bit me.” Fool me once?
Well Rico had another trick. My favorite! When we came home from school we would often yell, “mom, where are you?” When she wasn’t home Rico would answer. “In here.” And then you would go back and forth through the two entrances of the laundry room, shouting for mom and receiving the perfectly mimicked reply. Sometimes you didn’t catch on until you heard the distinct laugh of the parrot. Of course, pride takes over; rather than telling your brothers how you just got pranked by a bird, it’s more fun to wait, watch, and laugh when it happens to your brother who imitates a girl’s voice.