Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," holistic help for your hellish dilemmas! Got a vexing problem? Bring it to Auntie Anne.
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Do you know anyone who got from the age of 15 to the age of 30 without making a terrible mistake along the way?
Usually it's a bad marriage, or experimenting with drugs until addiction sets in, or running up massive credit card debt, or plunging your car off a cliff after a long night in the pub.
These things can be cured. You can go to rehab, AA, get a divorce, find a payment plan, and generally settle down into a sane, reasonable life.
Anne made a mistake in her 20s that can never, ever be rectified. This terrible mistake will outlive her and be a burden to her children, possibly even her grandchildren. It's a mistake that haunts her daily, with piercing ferocity. It cannot be fixed in any humane fashion.
In 1987, Anne bought a macaw. The macaw was a baby, a little chunk of pink flesh with no feathers.
The macaw (I'll call him Decibel) can talk. A few words. What he does best, however, is SCREAM HIS FOOL HEAD OFF TILL HE CAN BE HEARD DOWN THE BLOCK. (They say you should use capital letters only to indicate screaming.) When this bird starts, he sounds like someone being assaulted slowly with a very deadly weapon.
He has spent 20 years in a cage, removed from his kind and his homeland. Every time I see him, guilt pierces me worse than his noise. I wish I could find some happy bird sanctuary for him, but 9 out of 10 people who buy macaws wish the same thing. Sanctuaries for captive-bred macaws do not exist.
Lately I've been working away from home, long hours. When I step through the door he goes nuts, screaming and whistling so loud the jet pilots overhead can detect the racket.
There's no turning back time for me. But consider this little entry your Birdaholics Anonymous testimonial.
Do not buy a captive bird. Birds are supposed to live outside, in the trees. They are social species who make lots and lots of noise.
The next time you hear a blue jay or a crow calling to its cohorts, imagine if that sound was coming from a creature sitting right next to you in a cage.
The bored gods are going to send me back for another round of hell on earth for buying and keeping a caged parrot. And I'll deserve it too. No complaints uttered, it is my forever sin.
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS