I had just finished up a support call and was feeling pretty good about things in general. That’s usually when things decide to go very wrong. I noticed I had forgotten to plug my camcorder in to charge up. It was still sitting by the computer from last weekend when I dumped footage from Daniel’s football game in to be edited. I didn’t notice it was still attached to the computer via a FireWire cable. As I picked up the camera, the cable moved and knocked over my glass of Diet Pepsi.
There was only about an inch left at the bottom of the glass, but through a confluence of tidal forces from the alignment of the earth, moon and sun along with some thermal inversion layer and just general bad luck, that single inch of Diet Pepsi managed to spill across half the room. It poured under the computer and my scanner and dripped down the side of the desk onto the carpeting. My videotapes were spattered. Their paper labels soaked up the liquid better than any sponge I’ve ever seen. I think I have about 400 CD’s crammed into a case that’s supposed to store 300. Somehow Diet Pepsi managed to squeeze itself between each and every case. It covered my notes for work. It soaked some precious documents I had piled up to be scanned. My blog notebook with its near illegible entries written in felt tip marker were rendered even more illegible.
Normally I don’t have Diet Pepsi in a glass. I go to the gas station most mornings and get a big old pop with a nice tight top. Even then, I don’t keep my drinks right next to the computer. I have a coaster that sits on my file cabinet across the room. It’s over there to prevent this sort of thing from happening. In short, it was my own stupid fault. That didn’t prevent me from being angry. I believe George Carlin had it right when he said you don’t want to misuse profanity. If you drop f-bombs in everyday conversation, what do you have left in your vocabulary when that bowling ball rolls off the top shelf in the closet onto your bare toes? However, this was a ripe moment for the f-word. Daniel was at school (so was Meka for that matter). In my own words, I f%^&ing started to f%^&ing clean the f%^&ing spill with a f%^&ing towel that wasn’t f%^&ing picking up a f%^&ing drop. I took all my f%^&ing tapes out and f%^&ing spread them out all over the f%^&ing bathroom floor so they would dry the f%^& out. I had to f%^&ing pick up my scanner and f%^&ing clean up the f%^&ing clots of dust and f%^&ing Diet f%^&ing Pepsi that had f%^&ing coagulated under there in less than a f%^&ing minute. What the f%^&?!
I roared through the house, carrying items to be cleaned and dried. As I walked past Meka’s room for the sixth or seventh time, I noticed an odd echo. It was Pepper, our backup parrot (in case of primary parrot failure). Pepper is an Amazon parrot, colored bright green and yellow. Amazon parrots are not as good at mimicking as African Grey parrots. She’s also quite old, pushing fifty or sixty. Akane is the African Grey parrot downstairs. She’s copied not only Meka and Daniel’s words, but she can speak in their voices. It’s eerie. Pepper – on the other hand – mumbles. She does say words sometimes, but she mostly copies the tone of the conversation. That’s what she did with me. As I stormed past, she eyed me from her cage by the window and started mumbling in my tone and sounded just like Yosemite Sam.
“Fribber de gibber de brugg frib dib de frum ni wah…” I stopped. I stared. Then I had to laugh. Pepper looked at me quizzically then joined me with her gooney laugh. That made me laugh even harder. I wiped the tears from the corners of my eyes and finished cleaning up my mess. When I was done, I went back to Meka’s room to offer Pepper a peanut for making my morning. She blinked, then turned her back to me and dropped a load onto the newspaper at the bottom of the cage. Her timing was perfect. It set me off laughing again. Priceless.