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.