#99 – When Bob Talks, Eli Listens

As odd as it sounds, if my brother hadn’t spent so many weekends yelling at Eli Manning, he’d probably have a fourth wall in his family room by now. Instead, Frank can expect at least another week with his unwanted airy view.

Frank loves football. For as long as I can remember he’s been a diehard New York Giants fan, and an emotional one to boot. He anchors himself in front of the TV for every game, yelling at the set as if the players can actually hear him. Since 2004 he’s directed the bulk of his verbal assaults toward the Giants’ quarterback, Eli Manning. He relentlessly rides Eli, cursing him out as if he’s the worst quarterback in the franchise’s history and not a two-time Super Bowl winner.

Frank’s wife Ellen refuses to watch football. But that doesn’t mean he’s alone on Sundays. Since the 2004 season, the couple’s parrot “Bob” has watched every game with him. 

Bob is one smart parrot; and he’s amassed an impressive human vocabulary in his seven years. From Ellen he’s learned endearing phrases like: “Hello Honey” and “Who’s a good boy?” From Frank, he’s mainly picked up bits and pieces of the emotional diatribes leveled by his master at the Giants generally, and Eli Manning particularly, while watching football together.

Last Sunday, Eli threw a critical interception and his team lost the game. Frank ramped up his verbal assaults to their nth degree. As he told me yesterday, Bob faithfully echoed those insults during the game and kept imitating them straight through Monday morning.

Ellen and Frank are currently renovating their house. What began (in Frank’s mind) as a simple shelving installation in their family room somehow (i.e., Ellen) transformed into a one-third expansion of their entire living space. One wall in the family room was demolished to make way for an addition, and the shell for the new space went up a week ago.

Their contractor, coincidentally also named “Bob,” had promised to fully frame the family room this week so Frank wouldn’t have to watch another Giants’ game from his bedroom. But when Bob made that promise, he had no way of knowing his framing guy would suddenly quit on Monday. Now the contractor has informed Frank that his family room’s enclosure will suffer an indefinite delay, pending Bob’s hiring of a new framer.

Frank became mighty pissed on hearing the bad news … until his contractor explained why the framer had resigned. In another bizarre coincidence, the framer happened to be named “Eli.”  When Eli arrived Monday morning, he and contractor Bob greeted each other. The parrot must’ve thought Eli’s “Hi Bob” was directed at him. Understandably, when contractor Bob answered with “How’s it going Eli?,” the parrot mistook the framer for the Giant’s quarterback, and proceeded to regale the framer with Frank’s abusive highlight reel from Sunday’s football game.

Even my brother could hardly blame the guy for losing his cool after a three-hour harangue, featuring: “you suck, Eli!”; “get your head out of your ass, Eli!”; and “that’s not what you’re getting paid for, Eli!”

Bob and Eli

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