Two Cans

Wilbur was a mathematician who lived, breathed and ate thorny problems in geometric shapes and spatial relationships, his beloved speciality. His second-most love was a pair of exotic tropical birds he’d fondly named Dolly and Polly, after two of his favourite doting aunts. As a child, Wilbur remembered his aunts loved to have outdoors snacks, which resulted in Wilbur’s slyly noting to himself that they had thus become picnic aunts. (However, Wilbur was also wise enough to never tell them that to their faces.)

In honour of his now-deceased aunts, Wilbur fed Dolly and Polly each different kinds of diets matching their namesake’s food preferences. Also in honour of his aunts, the birds were incessant chatterboxes, jabbering about anything and everything.

Alas, as brilliant as he was a mathematician, Wilbur knew nothing about aviary dietary requirements. Polly’s diet soon had her so constipated she became sick and died one fateful night.

The following morning when Wilbur discovered Polly in her cage motionless, her little legs sticking straight up into the air, he looked at Dolly with tearful eyes and asked what happened. With gentle wisdom and sensitivity belying her colourful feathery plumage, Dolly couldn’t just blurt out that his diet had killed the poor bird. Instead she softly replied,

“Irregular Polly gone!”

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