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US Turkeymania

Here is an abridged version of a Thanksgiving greeting from Les Robinson:

"A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. Finally John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer.

The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said, "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior." John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?" "

This set me to thinking about the contradictory uses of the word "turkey" in the US. To talk turkey is positive, even more than "Where's the beef?". On the other hand "that play's a turkey" is the harshest criticism. I think the comparison is with a Thanksgiving turkey. People make a great fuss about it, and suddenly it's history. No one would eat a useless, inedible eagle, so "eagle" has a positive connotation. Moral: don't be edible.

Ronald Hilton - 11.16.03