A man walks into a bar and orders three beers. The bartender raises his eyebrows, but serves the man three beers, which he drinks quietly at a table, alone.

An hour later, the man orders three more. This happens yet again. The next evening the man again orders and drinks three beers at a time, several times. Soon the entire town is whispering about the Man Who Orders Three Beers.

Finally, a week later, the bartender broaches the subject on behalf of the town. “I don’t mean to pry, but folks around here are wondering why you always order three beers.”

“It’s odd, isn’t it?” the man replies. “You see, I have two brothers, and one went to America, and the other to Australia. We promised each other that we would always order an extra two beers whenever we drank as a way of keeping up the family bond.”

The bartender and the whole town was pleased with this answer, and soon the Man Who Orders Three Beers became a local celebrity and source of pride to the town, even to the extent that out-of-towners would come to watch him drink.

Then, one day, the man comes in and orders only two beers. The bartender pours them with a heavy heart. This continues for the rest of the evening – he orders only two beers. Word flies around town. Prayers are offered for the soul of one of the brothers.

The next day, the bartender says to the man, “Folks around here, me first of all, want to offer condolences to you for the death of your brother. You know – the two beers and all…”

The man ponders this for a moment, then replies, “You’ll be happy to hear that my two brothers are alive and well. It’s just that I, myself, have decided to quit drinking.”

Source: Unknown. Retold as remembered


“I gave up beer for lent and the whisky is killing me.”

In the Christian Tradition today marks the beginning of the season of lent, a privileged time to revision and perhaps reimagine your life.  It some ways, it is a season for dropping and embracing: dropping things and habits that are harmful and embracing and reaffirming choices that are life-giving.

What do you need to give up and what might you embrace for a healthier lifestyle?



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?


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