Pavo the Parakeet can be a bit of a moody bird so I was not surprised to see him pacing back and forth on the bottom of his cage mumbling to himself.
“Something bothering you budgie buddy?” I asked.
“It’s that darned Phallix the cat again. He’s into watching those TV shows featuring violence and killing. I fear they’re having an undesirable effect on him.”
“Not an uncommon complaint wee one. And your concern seems to be borne out in crime statistics featuring younger TV watchers. They not only learn about violence on the tube but they get inured to it at the same time.”
“Then I wish you stop letting him watch those programs.”
“But I can’t when I’m not here. I try to prevent it when I’m around, but he’s free to roam the house when I’m out and he’s pretty much on his own about what he watches.”
“That’s my point. If you were home more, he’d watch more quality programs on PBS and less trash. You’d see to that.”
“Sorry Pavo. But business calls. I have to make a living. And with Social Security ready to pass into oblivion I have to keep my options open.”
“Then maybe you could arrange for a sitter. Someone to be here when he comes inside to monitor his TV viewing.”
“Too expensive Pavo. I’m not going to pay somebody by the hour to sit by the fire and protect a bargain basement bird,”
When I heard him gasp I knew I’d gone too far. I didn’t mean to hurt his feelings about his adoption but it just slipped out in my irritation at his pickiness. He hopped back onto his perch and huffed and puffed for a few minutes. While he was distracted I filled his dish with premium seed and tossed in a couple clips of spinach leaves to show him that I still felt the same way about him.
“I apologize Pavo. But remember Phallix is an adoptee too.”
Pavo ruffled his feathers and turned his back to me for a few minutes. I cooled my heels waiting for him to accept my apology. Finally he turned around and turned his flinty eyes in my direction.
“I accept your apology Big Guy. But that latch key cat gets too many special privileges. He has his own door, comes and goes as he pleases, and spends most of his time inside the house harassing me when you’re not around. He thinks that’s the way life should be. And it keeps getting reinforced by what he sees on the TV screen. It makes me extremely nervous. He needs more discipline in his life.”
“Okay Pavo. Next time I go out, I’ll hide the remote. Then he’ll have to sleep, sit in the window or go outside to find his amusement.”
“But I tried that last week Big Guy. I knocked the remote down the crack behind the cushion on your La-Z-Boy just before he chased me into my cage. Pretended I knew nothing about its disappearance. But Phydeaux the poodle sniffed it out.”
“Look Pavo. I can’t continue this discussion at this moment. I have to get to the liquor store before it closes. But before I go, I’ll put on a couple game shows and then take the remote with me. That way, you won’t have to worry about Phallix.”
Without warning, Pavo threw himself into a fit of hysteria, bouncing around the inside of his cage. I was totally puzzled by his reaction.
“But don’t you see,” he shrieked loudly. “You’re just playing into his hands.”
“Paws,” I corrected. “But how does Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy play into his paws?”
His shrill shriek stopped abruptly like an electronic siren on a squad car. He came over and hung on the inside of the cage door. “What shows did you say again?” he asked.
“Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.” I said.
“Those are game shows?” he asked. “I thought you were talking about Nature on PBS.”
“But Nature isn’t a game show Pavo.”
“Yes it is Big Guy. Its a big game show that features animals hunting other animals in the rain forests, the jungles and the savannas. And they always highlight cats. Phallix loves them. They’re his favorites. The more violent the better. When a cheetah brings down an antelope, he runs around the house celebrating. He says no gnus is bad gnus. And he’s happy because there seems to be an endless supply of them. He loves all that fang and claw stuff. But it makes me very nervous because he goes out of control after watching those hunting cat shows.”
“But that‘s the way nature operates Pavo.”
“But the coverage is sadly unbalanced. Big Guy. Too liberal with the coverage of big cats. We need more shows with lions, tigers and cheetahs being hunted and getting eaten. Level the playing field a little more. But I don’t see that happening. Those lions even have a movie promoting their agenda. Something has to be done about it.”
“What’s your solution Pavo?”
“Get rid of PBS. Stop supporting it.”
“But where will people go for the educational shows PBS does best?”
“If the public wants them, let commercial TV pick them up. Discovery and Animal Planet are big into sharks and assorted people eaters already. Why not get them focused on lion hunting? Got to get rid of that PBS with all its wild violence.”
“But violence will always be out there someplace.”
“Maybe so. But I’ve got to give my idea a try. So when you go out, leave the phone Big Guy. I’m calling the Weepy John in Congress to see what he can do to put PBS on the hit list.”
“Guaranteed, he’ll do what’s best for you Pavo.”