In celebration of Thanksgiving, a genteel widow went to a pet shop to buy a parrot. She found a rather splendid one, but the manager warned her it had been raised by a sailor and had a foul mouth. The woman was confident she could reform him, so she took him home, where she soon discovered just how foul a mouth he had.

Not a person to be trifled with, the woman took that bird and locked him in a dark closet for half an hour. Then she put him back in his cage and addressed him solemnly. “Now have you learned your lesson?” The parrot was unbowed, and responded with the same curses as before.

Back to the closet he went, this time for an hour. Again he was asked, “Have you learned your lesson?” And again, undaunted, he squawked his curses. With that, the woman opened the refrigerator door and thrust the parrot inside. When at last she pulled him out, he’d turned blue, his feathers were frozen stiff, and an icicle was hanging from his beak. “Well, now,” she asked triumphantly, “Are we going to say those words anymore?”

“N-n-oo, m-m-ma’am!” said the parrot humbly and with the greatest courtesy, “B-b-but could you please tell me, ma’am, what the turkey in there did?”

Source | Dennis R. Clark, SUNDAY MORNING: Reflections on the Word
(Sheed and Ward, 1996) Cycle B
First Sunday of Advent


Here is another version of the same story

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity.

John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to “clean up” the bird’s vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder.

John, in desperation, threw up his hands, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing that he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s outstretched arms and said, “I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behaviour.”

John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behaviour, the bird continued, “May I ask what the turkey did?”

Source | Frank Verano, All Kinds of Humor
(Xlibris, 2012) page 45


Some parrots are very slow learners. And so are some people – probably most of us. We are creatures of habit and it takes a lot of work, time and will power to change a habit. What does it take to shift your attitude?


%d bloggers like this: