definitely deceased

You can’t beat the classification of human mortality by the master coffin maker Bezenchuk. Ditto the classification of avian mortality by Monty Python.

We used the famous sketch in the intermediate English class during the CELTA course I attended in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The students were asked to — and did — find all the words and expressions related to the poor bird’s state.

Customer. Hello, I wish to register a complaint… Hello? Miss?
Shopkeeper. What do you mean, miss?
Customer. Oh, sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint.
Shopkeeper. Sorry, we’re closing for lunch.
Customer. Never mind that, my lad, I wish to complain about this parrot that I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.
Shopkeeper. Oh yes, the Norwegian Blue. What’s wrong with it?
Customer. I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it. It’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it.
Shopkeeper. No, no, it’s resting, look!
Customer. Look, my lad, I know a dead parrot when I see one and I’m looking at one right now.
Shopkeeper. No, no sir, it’s not dead. It’s resting.
Customer. Resting?
Shopkeeper. Yeah, remarkable bird the Norwegian Blue, beautiful plumage, innit?
Customer. The plumage don’t enter into it — it’s stone dead.
Shopkeeper. No, no — it’s resting.
Customer. All right then, if it’s resting I’ll wake it up. Hello, Polly! I’ve got a nice cuttlefish for you when you wake up, Polly Parrot!
Shopkeeper. There, it moved.
Customer. No, he didn’t. That was you pushing the cage.
Shopkeeper. I did not.
Customer. Yes, you did. Hello, Polly, Polly! Polly Parrot, wake up! Polly! Now that’s what I call a dead parrot.
Shopkeeper. No, no, it’s stunned.
Customer. Look, my lad, I’ve had just about enough of this. That parrot is definitely deceased. And when I bought it not half an hour ago you assured me that its lack of movement was due to it being tired and shagged out after a long squawk.
Shopkeeper. It’s got to be pining for the fjords.
Customer. Pining for the fjords, what kind of talk it that? Look, why did it fall flat on its back the moment I got it home?
Shopkeeper. The Norwegian Blue prefers kipping on its back. Beautiful bird, lovely plumage.
Customer. Look, I took the liberty of examining that parrot, and I discovered that the only reason that it had been sitting on its perch in the first place was that it had been nailed there.
Shopkeeper. Well of course it was nailed there. Otherwise it would muscle up to those bars and voom!
Customer. Look, matey, this parrot wouldn’t voom if I put four thousand volts through it. It’s bleeding demised.
Shopkeeper. It’s not, it’s pining.
Customer. It’s not pining, it’s passed on. This parrot is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet its maker. This is a late parrot. It’s a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. If you hadn’t nailed it to the perch, it would be pushing up the daisies. It’s rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-parrot.
Shopkeeper. Well, I better replace it then.
Customer. If you want to get anything done in this country you’ve got to complain till you’re blue in the mouth.
Shopkeeper. Sorry, guv, we’re right out of parrots.
Customer. I see, I see. I get the picture.
Shopkeeper. I’ve got a slug.
Customer. Does it talk?
Shopkeeper. Not really, no.
Customer. Well, it’s scarcely a replacement, then, is it?

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