It’s All Happening At The Zoo.

When I saw the video below of a very foul-mouthed cockatoo the first thing I thought of was a joke. A guy has a cockatoo that won’t stop swearing. He tries everything but the bird swears like a sailor, curses up a blue streak, and does a hilarious George Carlin impersonation. At his wits’ end the guy tells the cockatoo “If you don’t stop swearing I’ll stick you in the freezer!” The cockatoo responds with seven choice words you can’t say on television. The guy grabs it by the feet and shoves it in the freezer. After a minute he pulls it out.

“Okay, okay, I give!” screams the cockatoo. “I promise I won’t swear anymore! Just tell me one thing. What’d the turkey do?”

It’s funny because the birds don’t really know what they’re saying. They’re just repeating what they’ve heard which reminds me of a story about Mark Twain. While playing pool at home he missed an important shot and let loose with a stream of invective that turned the curtains blue. His wife, who’d asked him repeatedly to stop swearing, marched into the room and calmly and quietly repeated back every word he’d just said.

“Your vocabulary is exemplary,” said Twain, “but your intonation is abysmal.”

It’s funny because the birds don’t really know what they’re saying. Wait. What I mean is, the cockatoo reminds me of the time my wife and I were at the zoo. We walked by a parrot who said, “Hello!” with cheery intonation. We thought that was cute and tried to get it to say something else but it remained tight-beaked until an older couple walked up. Then the parrot started saying, “Oh shit! Ohhhh shit!”

So what’s your favorite swearing animal story? Or your favorite swearing story. Or just your favorite animal story, but if it’s sans profanity prepare to have your intonation mocked. Now gather your kids around or if you’re at work crank up the volume on the swearing cockatoo.

19 Comments

  1. Ann Koplow

    It’s funny because I don’t really know what I’m saying, Chris, but I swear I love this post.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      What’s even funnier is you reminded me of something I read many years ago that swear words may be an automatic response to stress. That means when someone uses them in a dire situation they really may not know what they’re saying.

      Reply
  2. M. Firpi

    Here’s my favorite swearing story, but it’s from a human zoo: Faye Dunaway is the media witch, and Peter Finch is the mad psychotic, in the movie ‘Network’:

    https://youtu.be/dib2-HBsF08

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s very fitting–it seems to be a lot of people behaving like parrots.

      Reply
      1. M. Firpi

        However, parrots mimic, which is in their nature, humans do things ‘wholeheartedly’, knowing deep inside right vs, wrong…

        Reply
  3. Martha waldrop

    I remember a little boy in Me Blue’s class who told her that he didn’t know what shot meant but his mommy used the word all the time. Love you! Mom

    Reply
    1. sharon mccomb

      sharon mccomb–that is exactly what i thot of

      Reply
  4. Gina W.

    I couldn’t watch the video until I got home from work. As soon as I heard the parrot “speak”, I remembered the video I saw a couple of days ago featuring the same cursing bird:

    https://youtu.be/XM8aBESf8EI

    I think it’s hilarious. And if I had been in public and heard a the words “Oh shit” spoken to an elderly couple, I would have probably collapsed in the floor in hysterics. I may be a bad person…

    Reply
  5. halfa1000miles

    I am very grateful my dog cannot talk. Or my car.

    Reply
  6. Spoken Like A True Nut

    I grew up with a cockatoo. She never managed to pick up human speech, just a few whistles, but after over 40 years of everyone assuming she was male – until the day she surprised us all by laying an egg – I bet she’d kill to have had a few choice curse words to hurl at us.

    Or maybe just the vocabulary to say, “Um, excuse me, I’m a LADY,” forty years earlier.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      In a way she did develop the vocabulary to say “I’m a LADY”. She just didn’t do it with words.
      I also have a terrible suspicion that was her way of also saying, “My biological clock is ticking.”

      Reply
  7. Jay

    I think I’m the sweariest animal I know. Sean is a weirdo who doesn’t swear – he’s not super against it, he just doesn’t. A long drawn-out “Shooooooot” is about as far as he’ll go. His whole family is like that and my whole family is on the blue side of sailor. However, with a bunch of recent additions with big ears, we’re trying to curb our language, which has proven difficult for one of my sisters with two sweet kids who must be minutes away from being foul-mouthed like their mom.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s hilarious. In high school a friend of mine would never swear. If something really upset him he would yell, “Shoot! I swear, you guys, this really ticks me off!” And we would purposely try to make him angry and then try to restrain our laughter while saying, “Look out! I think he’s getting ticked off!” because teenage boys are jerks.
      For some people swearing just seems to come naturally while for others it doesn’t. If it does for you let it flow.

      Reply
  8. Gilly Maddison

    That’s hilarious. Especially the turkey joke. The bird made me laugh out loud too. My favourite sweary thing is, I love hearing upper class Brits say fuck off in a cut glass accent.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That is always funny. When I was in Britain I knew a guy with a very upper crust accent who’d sometimes say “fuck off” and I could impersonate it exactly. He thought it was very funny and said, “Is that really what I sound like?”

      Reply
  9. Michelle

    Hahahah…this is awesome!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you but I’m a little disappointed you didn’t declare it fucking awesome.

      Reply
  10. Elyse

    I have a close friend who is a bird lover. She’s having a very bad day. I think you just improved it for her because I’m sending her this video, pronto.

    My favorite swearing story involves my then 14-month old son, Jacob. We’d just gotten a puppy, Charlie. Jacob loved to play in Charlie’s crate. But this particular time, when Jacob stood up, he hit his head. He clasped his hand to his head, looked me right in the eye and said “SHIT!” His intonation was perfect.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      As much as I love the story of Jacob swearing I’m happier to know your bird lover friend’s day might have been improved by the cockatoo video.

      Reply

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