I just read an article about an individual who died suddenly, mid-way through his life expectancy.

His death was eulogized from The Economist to the Hindustan Times. On the sixth day of every month (he died last September 6), an online community gathers to reflect about him. His significant other received some six thousand messages of condolence via email.

He must have been truly remarkable … how many of us will generate 6000 sympathetic emails when we die?

My passing (or Roger’s) might generate one thousand or so, mostly asking … “Why aren’t we getting our Agitator posts anymore?”

No, few of us will be as remarkable as this fellow.

His name was Alex … he was a parrot! Alex was the most linguistically accomplished parrot of all time.

And therein lies the conundrum. Alex’s “remarkableness” evidenced itself over thirty years of nurturing by his scientist-caretaker, Irene Pepperberg. The question remains, does same same potential lie within all parrots, or was Alex one-of-a-kind?

Can we all be remarkable? Or just a few special ones?

Sorry to bother you with this distraction on a Monday morning. But if I’m distracted, you might as well be too.

Tom

P.S. You can read Alex’s story and its fascinating implications in the May 12 issue of The New Yorker.

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