I have always been a terrible impulse shopper, but when I brought home a pair of Australian Grass Parakeets last weekend, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Psychologists would argue that I bought it as retribution for an unfulfilled desire from my early childhood; and I would most certainly agree.
You see, when I was in the fourth grade, a kid brought his pet parakeet to show-and-tell. In my mind, he had might as well brought in E.T.
The parakeet, whose name was Ferdinand, could dance, perch on his owner’s hand most surprisingly and speak on command. It was fascinating. I had never met a talking animal before. The kid had even trained Ferdinand to tell a joke.
Ferdinand was much more entertaining than Mr. Lee, my pet hamster, whose only claim to fame was that he could run backwards in his little green hamster wheel.
After school that day, I could not wait to get home to tell my mother about Ferdinand and to ask for a pet parakeet of my own. The conversation went something like this:
“Mom, can I have a pet parakeet to play with?”
“No, play with your hamster.”
“But my hamster can’t talk.”
“Talk to your brother.”
My brother was too big to perch on my finger and he didn’t like to dance or tell jokes; back then, I would have gladly traded him for Ferdinand.
There are times as a child, when your parent denies you a thing, and you never forget it. For girls it may be a pony, for boys a BB gun.
For me, it was a pet parakeet. That night, before I went to bed, I swore to myself that I would have a parakeet one day, when I was big.
That was nearly 13 years ago, and I had actually forgotten all about it until I saw a parakeet sitting in a pet shop window in downtown Austin. In an instant, all those memories came rushing back.
Suddenly, I realized that I was an adult, and there was no one to stop me from owning a parakeet except myself. Emboldened, I marched into the shop and bought not one parakeet, but two.
In retrospect, I guess I should have cleared it with my roommate first; who, unbeknownst to me, is deathly allergic to most types of exotic reptiles and birds.
Secondly, it would have been wise for me to actually research the animal before grabbing them up and taking them home.
That kid left out a few key points about parakeets in his show-and-tell presentation, things, which I had to learn through experience.
Here are a few fun facts about parakeets.
Parakeets poop every 12 to 15 minutes.
Parakeets pluck out their own feathers when bored.
Parakeets chirp incessantly, only pausing for a brief moment between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m.
In the past week, I’ve also learned that some things in life are worth having, while others are only fascinating from a distance and still others are better left at the show-and-tell table.
I’m not sure if my mother knew all of this when she refused to buy me a pet parakeet back then, but she’s about $85 richer for saying no.
This is not a column but an advertisement.
Wanted: a loving home for a pair of the most enchanting Australian Grass Parakeets you may ever meet.