Legends
Narrative

“Parrots in the Neighborhood”

Text:

In my neighborhood, around when I was born, this idiot smuggled in a bunch of Amazonian parrots. He couldn’t take care of them so instead of doing something smart and taking them to a zoo or whatever, he just let them loose because he didn’t want to get in trouble for smuggling them in the first place. Eventually they just multiplied and multiplied and now there’s a huge colony of parrots around my neighborhood and they’re really fucking loud all the time and I hate it. Whenever someone did something dumb around the neighborhood we’d all say: “Oh, that must be the parrot guy.”

Background:

I heard that explanation from my sister who I think heard it from our backdoor neighbor. Pretty much everyone in the neighborhood knew. Nobody knew who though, we couldn’t point to a specific house or anything. I just thought it was funny, that this guy was so irresponsible with Amazonian parrots of all things. It was just bizarre.

Context:

Like I said, if anyone fucked up, we’d say “Oh you’ve got to be the parrot guy” or “Shut up parrot guy” or whatever. It was kind of our neighborhood insult, ‘cuz we used it all the time and everyone on the block would know what you meant, you know?

My Thoughts:

I think this is a really interesting story because it attempts to explain strange things in peoples’ environment. The people in the informant’s neighborhood created an origin story for these strange birds, and the most interesting part is that the truth value is so ambiguous since everyone is really confident that this happened but no one can point to a specific house or person that did it. I also find it interesting that it’s turned into a neighborhood-specific insult, which is again a good way of creating in-groups as if you aren’t really a member of that neighborhood unless you know this story.

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