Thursday, February 16, 2017

Charlie, My New Roomie

My life is for the birds. Well, one bird anyway--a tiny blue and white parakeet that I rescued from the county shelter two weeks ago. I had contemplated getting a pet to keep me company, but quickly discarded the idea of a dog (it would need to be walked and cleaned up after) and a cat (I’d have to deal with a litter box). Hence, a bird named Charlie fit the bill (no pun intended).  

I once wrote an article called, “I Gave My Husband the Bird.” Fred loved birds, so for Christmas one year I gave him a yellow cockatiel. She was part of our family for many years. This bird, which Fred named “Bird,” had the run of the house. A ladder from her cage to the floor gave her easy access to anywhere she wanted to go. She turned out to be my bird as she only acknowledged Fred during football season. Once he settled in his chair on Sundays with a bag of potato chips, she would hightail it over to him to beg for a chip.

Otherwise, she followed me all over the house, into the office, the kitchen, and at the dining room table where she’d grab a corn niblet off my plate. Her demise came one day when Fred moved to the right to avoid stepping on her and she moved to the right to avoid being stepped on. Talk about a perfect storm lining up!

After that, the house was way too quiet with two adults but no little four-ounce ball of fluff. Within a week, I dragged Fred to the bird store and we bought another yellow cockatiel that looked just like Bird. We named this one Crash because she slammed into the walls every time she took flight. The ladder was removed so she couldn’t get down to the floor as easily as her predecessor. When we moved from California, we gave Crash to a friend, assuming it would be better than moving her across the country.

It’s been over three years since the move. I realized I missed the chirping and personality of a bird. Not finding any cockatiels for sale in the area, I found Charlie, the first parakeet I’ve owned since high school. He’s still getting used to me and his surroundings and only occasionally chirps. Mostly, he sits on his perch, a very quiet roommate.

The shelter named him Charlie assuming he was a male; time will tell if they’re right. We thought the cockatiels were males, too, until they both started laying eggs.

So now I no longer ramble around the house alone; there’s someone else to talk to and whose needs I have to consider. I guess you could say I gave myself the bird--his name is Charlie.

Quote of the Day: My heart is like a singing bird. Christina Georgina Rosetti

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Job I’ll Never Get

Since this column is supposed to have something to do with writing, I'm confessing that I want to write commercials. Please allow me to vent for a couple of minutes as to why I say that.

I want to rewrite all the prescription commercials that bombard us day and night. I didn’t buy a television set to have it blare at me endlessly about diarrhea, constipation, impotence, light days, adult bed wetting, and on and on, ad infinitum.

During my career as a legal secretary, there was a time, back in the Dark Ages, when the Bar Association’s Code of Ethics said it was unbecoming for an attorney to advertise on TV or anywhere else. Maybe such advertising wasn’t unlawful, but it was frowned upon as leaning toward sleaze.  Then suddenly ethics went out the window and attorneys were allowed to advertise.

As strange as it seems to me to now see attorneys promoting their services, their ads are nowhere on the same level as those for drug prescriptions. Half the time you don’t know what the ailment is they're supposedly curing, but somehow you’re supposed to know you need the product. And since it’s only available by prescription, you are told to “ask your doctor.”

Aye, there’s the rub.  Since you must see your doctor to get the prescription, why in heaven’s name can’t your doctor tell you its horrendous side effects? Why do we have to hear that Product X can cause dizziness, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, impotence, diarrhea, bleeding, bruising, and every other horror you can imagine, ending with, “and possibly death.”

I can agree to hearing the adverse reactions of over-the-counter drugs since a buyer probably won’t take the time to read the enclosed instructions. But I’m talking about a drug that you can only get from your doctor and that doctor is supposed to tell you what might happen. If he or she doesn’t, then the pharmacist who fills the prescription is charged with explaining those dire facts to you.

I have a recent Woman’s Day magazine that has 140 pages; thirty of which are ads for prescription drugs. That’s nearly one-quarter of the magazine. It’s not cheap to advertise in magazines and on television, so perhaps if they omitted such ads, they could lower the price of their drugs. What a concept!

Let me write the ads. They would read: “Your doctor is far more educated than you, so tell him or her you have a problem, ask what medicine is recommended and what the side effects are.” Period.

That, I could live with. How about you?