When people ask who wears the pants in the family, most answers are “The Man” or “The Woman.” In our household, however, the true answer—which is on the tip of our tongue and tickling in a maddening way like a tiny, stray feather—is “The Parakeet.”
Oh, yes, it’s true. Sad, but true. And yet perhaps that is just an indication of how birdbrained we have become. The Parakeet not only wears the pants in the family, she also dictates to the other two parakeets. In actuality there are three parakeets in a triumvirate, meaning we have three avian rulers wearing tiny Roman togas and speaking a dialect of Parakeetish which is unintelligible to English speakers.
The names of our inimitable parakeets are Parakeet Superior Sprite N. Scoldilocks the First, Popsicle, and Periwinkle. For ease in typing and speaking without a lisp, Parakeet Superior Sprite N. Scoldilocks the First will hereafter be called Sprite. We pay homage to her Royal Highness’ estimable character (“stim” being Irish for a very small amount; however, it’s NOT advisable to refer to Sprite in the diminutive, or she will stand as tall as she is able to—5” from feet to tip of head on a good day—and give you the equivalent of a crusty look which will rival the unavoidably piercing stare of disapproval from your significant other for leaving your slightly soiled socks on the sofa. But I digress.
We all thrive under the wise and able dominion of our little yellow and green spitfire Sprite. However, it’s necessary to interpret, or rather, in-CHIRP-ret the dialect of Sprite and the other parakeets in order to achieve perspicuity (and doesn’t Perspicuity sound like the name of a deodorant for teenage girls?). But there is more at stake than simple clarity of communication, for if we fail to understand and respond to Sprite’s every whim, we may find a small mound of tiny green-black and white parakeet droppings in our fuzzy slippers in the morning. Or under or even ON the kitchen chair. And then you are left to wonder, how DID those darn parakeets get OUT of their cage last night?
So for you parakeet owners and those who simply long to in-CHIRP-ret their friends’ delightfully obtuse parakeets, I present the first edition of Parakeetish for Dummies, now available for $14.95 plus $3.99 shipping and handling. You know what, that handling part I never have understood, because every time I get a package in the mail, there is no handle attached. Here is a sample page of Parakeetish for Dummies, to be accompanied by a memento of Sprite herself—no less than a genuine smear of parakeet droppings (she scolded us every time we asked her to hold a pen in her mouth to autograph ANYTHING).
Chit = What? (With a downward inflection= Hey!)
Chit-chit = What the—? (Or with a downward inflection= Hey, you!)
Chit-chit-chack = What the heck? If your bird was purchased in Utah, take it as “Oh my heck!” If it sounds angry, the bird is saying, “Listen up! You’re in my personal space and unless you want me to spit birdseed hulls in your face like a miniature Gatling gun, move your little, feathered keester out of here!” If said to a human, substitute “gargantuan” for “little, feathered.” And then the human should invest in a stair-stepping machine. Like the same day already.
Chit-chack-chit = “And I mean it, too!”
Chirp = Yup! (or) Hey! (See also “Chit” with downward inflection.)
Chirrup = I am happy.
Chirrup, chirrup, chirrup = I am blissfully happy!
Chirrup, chirrup, chirrup chit chack = I am happier than you, niener niener!
Chirrup, chirrup, chirrup, chit chack chit = I’m so happy all I have to do today is preen my butt feathers!
Chit chack chit chack = Colossal human nearby needs to preen his/her butt feathers!
Chit chit chack chit = Go to your own corner; I need to think!
Chit chit chit! = Darn it, the parakeet perch fell down! I shall now be forced to cling to the side of the cage because I forgot there’s another perch on the other side.
Again, for the ridiculously low price of $14.95 plus $3.99 shipping and handling, you, too, can learn to speak Parakeetish. Amaze your friends with your bilingual talents! And if you act now, before midnight tonight, Sprite will even send you another royal dropping memento. It’s two for the price of one!