Durychka our yellow parakeet (Durychka is Russian for "stupid little girl") is remarkably insightful for a small beast. She uses a 3-note song I taught her as my name; when I come home and she hears my my keys, she calls me. This bird is very attached to me, and when the Mrs hugs me she jealousy hurls herself against the bars of the cage like a desperate woman in prison.

She must know I am too big for her, but that doesn't matter because her utility is to own my intentions. It is amazing how the entire female emotional phenotype lives in a brain the size of a lentil.

Recently Durychka learned about money and friendship. Months ago I noticed she calls back to birds she hears outside, so when the weather is nice I hang her cage in the apricot tree near the patio. One day the shrub across from her happened to be loaded with berries, so there were dozens of hungry robins jumping all over the yard. Many of the wild birds came to check out the yellow girl in a cage, and she was very enthusiastic about all the attention. But the next day the bush had been picked clean, and gone were all her fat fair weather friends. Now she sat lonely in the tree, wondering how she had offended them.

Durychka has lots of toys in her cage, many with mirrors. She spends hours looking at herself - frequently pecking and licking her image. Parakeets are social birds from Australia, where they live in trees by the hundreds in close quarters. When they are solo in captivity, they appear to be executing a futile program of socialization - recognizing another bird in the mirror. Even though the feedback from the reflection must fall short of the real thing, she can't fight the hard-wired attraction.

In many ways, gambling and markets, especially volatile ones, flush out our deepest dispositions and serve as reflections of ourselves. Perhaps a hard-wired need for self-reflection explains why, if we have a medium or long-term opinion, we invite irrational solace/punishment from short-term moves which are irrelevant to the big picture. And why we come back to the mirror, again and again, as if this time something will be different.





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