About 17 vivid years with a grumpy animal.  It sounds like it has been a long time, until I tell you it is about a parrot.  Most larger parrots can live 45 to 70 years! Oh fuck, you mean I have like 28 more years of this shit? Eh, I’m okay with it, just need children for the will.  Let us begin.

Coco, our dearest Congo African Grey, was born December… ooo I always forget the day, let me start somewhere else, pathetic his own momma doesn’t know his birthday.  Coco was hatched sometime in December 2001, he was the most special of the group of babies, but not for any good reason.  I remember the smell, just like a newborn baby, but as a bird, and didn’t smell like shit. At the time, no-name bird was chosen for our home, at the discounted rate that we would ween him ourselves.  Mind you that this is not how you should purchase a bird. This is also the reason Coco turned out so special. Trust me, you want to leave baby feeding to the professionals. I was about 13 at the time so my parents cared for Coco as best as they could. Kuddos to them.

Coco was always so snuggly as a baby.  This is quite unusual for parrots, especially Grey’s.  Grey’s are known for being stand offish. They mostly enjoy just watching the scenes and commenting on them.  Not our special Coco, he would snuggle for hours under the blanket with you while you watched TV. He would also make these strange gurgling sounds like a crab.  It was so darling.

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Something you have all probably heard is that African Grey’s are known for being the best talkers.  Well they are. Anything from my voice, my boyfriend’s, or even the dog! It is amazing the words these animals can say without lips.  Matter of a fact, you think they would pick up awesome phrases and all these cool sayings… wrongSO FUCKING WRONG. Plates clinking… What are you talking about Benny? OH, you haven’t known the worst sounds until you have a parrot.  Plates clinking is the sound I loathe the most. More so than the alarm accidentally going off in the middle of the night or the low battery alarm for the smoke detector. I’m sure you can imagine all these terrible sounds, now take them and put them into on big remix while you are sitting down trying to watch your favorite TV show and relax.  Ah just forget it, I will go sit in the closet with headphones and read a book.

As Coco grew, so did his grumpy ways.  He soon found how to keep people away (when he was most truly happy), biting.  Ah yes, the scars speak for themselves, but let us fast forward to the worst bite I have ever received from that mother fucker.  Most good parrot advice will tell you to always give full attention to the parrot when you have them out. This is of good reason.  Couldn’t have been the worst time for MJ to travel. She was stressed, going through a divorce, and good ol’ Texas roads. Now, if you are from Texas, you know that roads are always changing, but if you aren’t… the changes make NO SENSE.  Bless her soul, as she called me frantic about getting on the toll only road. I calmly told her not to worry and that there is grace for an out of state drivers. As I am trying to be strong, Coco is on the floor looking for the best way to destroy anything in his path.  I realize that my toes could be selected as a target, and I really don’t want this. So I go to pick up Coco, “Step up” I boldly commanded. Well well, it seems we are at a point that I hope most of you never experience, whether with a child or dog… but mostly definitely not with a self absorbed grumpy ass parrot.  This was not the response Coco wanted to hear. Everything was bright white and fuzzy, it took me a moment to figure out what was happening. I distinctly heard “Benny, Benny! ARE YOU THERE?!”… then it hit me. My eyes focused on what just happened, and I realized that there was blood all down my hand dripping to the floor.  Coco was sitting perfectly perched on my blood oozing hand with the most content expression. “I.. I…am going to have to call you back,” I stuttered while dropping the phone. Then I threw the bird into his cage and locked it. I ran to the sink to wash the blood and assess the damage. Blood washing away, okay it isn’t so bad… wait. Chills ran over me as I realized he had gone so deep that all I saw was this white squishy layer which I could only assume what would be a type of fat.  I nearly passed out at that moment. Was I going to need stitches? Can I get a life threatening infection from a bite this bad? My mind was spinning. I disinfected it and bandaged it. Then just sat there across from Coco’s cage… “but why?” I whispered. “Why you do this?” I questioned some more. Coco slowly looked up and said, “Coco” softly in MY voice. GODDAMMIT. This damn bird caught me off guard again, but this time it made me laugh. As I laughed, Coco giggled what can only be described as the most sincere giggle of a little 5 year old girl.  Well, that was it… I basically forgave him after that. I remind myself that these parrots aren’t domesticated, and are about only a 100 years different from their wild counterparts. Alas, that little grump master has been deemed the ”curmudgeon”. He seems to only find joy in the pain and suffering of others.

~Benny

2 thoughts on “Grumpy Should Have Been His Name

  1. I remember that whole thing. Sorry my anxiety reached through the phone to bitch slap Coco into letting out his full grumpy old man.

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