Bob has gone missing and Ellen blames Frank – so my brother reported during our phone call this morning. As I’ve mentioned before, Bob is their parrot. He is, or perhaps was, a very smart bird; maybe too smart. Ellen may hold Frank responsible, but my brother points to his feathered friend’s impressive brainpower as the primary culprit. More specifically, Frank sees the vast divergence between Bob’s mental faculties and those of Ellen’s nephew as the principal cause for the disappearance.
Ellen doesn’t believe her nephew’s boneheaded conduct absolves Frank of liability. In her mind, if her husband hadn’t taught the catalytic words which led to Bob’s escape, the bird would still be preening himself on his comfy perch, rather than freezing his tail feathers off somewhere in the inhospitable wilds of suburban New Jersey.
Like most of his words learned from Frank, Bob picked up the phrase at issue while watching football games. I’ve previously talked about my brother’s passionate viewing habits: namely, his tendency to yell at the screen when viewing his beloved New York Giants. Other than riding Eli Manning’s ass, Frank shouts loudest when stupid turnovers allow the opposing team a chance to snatch victory from the certain jaws of defeat. At such times, he likes to say that the team committing the blunder has “opened the door” for the other side. He made that particular comment so many times in Bob’s presence that the parrot eventually mastered it. In recent years, whenever Frank has offered his patented view on a critical mistake, Bob has echoed the sentiment, reciting: “Open the door.” There also have been occasions where Bob trotted out the phrase without any prompting from his master — last night for instance.
For the past several days, Frank and Ellen have hosted a trio of visitors at their abode. Ellen’s sister and brother-in-law, and their sixteen-year-old son Kenneth, traveled from Chicago for their annual pilgrimage to New Jersey. Although sixteen, Kenneth is still a tenth grader, after being held back a year. I’ve never met Kenneth, but Frank told me the “imbecile” should’ve been held back a few more years. “He would’ve been too, if his parents hadn’t blackmailed the school board’s superintendent,” so Frank informed me.
After dinner yesterday, Frank let Bob out of his cage to stretch his wings, while Ellen and her sister chatted in the kitchen. Kenneth was also there, seated at the table digging into his third helping of dessert. In typical fashion, the parrot flew into the kitchen to check up on everyone. He alighted on the back of a chair beside Kenneth. Unsolicited, Bob voiced his master’s favored football expression, telling anyone and everyone: “Open the door.”
When Frank later asked the teenager why he’d opened the back door and allowed Bob to fly away, never to be seen since, the “imbecile” simply replied: “Because he told me to.”