the mysterious El Cotorrón

When I visit my friend, Jeff, in the Mission District of San Francisco I am exposed to all kinds of new things.  Fruit shops where the fruit looks like it comes from outer space, posh restaurants as well as delicious hole in the wall taquerias.  What mostly catches my eye are the strange posters plastered on buildings and shop windows.  They are colorful and sometimes wacky in nature, making me wish I knew Spanish a little better so I could actually understand what they are saying.  Perhaps the wackiest of them all is El Cotorrón.

I am not sure if the brand of prepaid phone card is El Cotorrón or the name of the parrot featured on it.  These posters are prominently displayed all over the place, making them difficult to miss. Something about El Cotorrón makes me smile every time I see him.  First off the drawing is completely ridiculous, depicting a smiling green parrot holding a telephone in his wing.  Then there's the wispy brown stuff on his head.  My opinion is that it is a tuft of hair.  Another theory is that it is the brim of a straw hat.  While a hat is the more pragmatic assumption, I figure if you are suspending enough disbelief that a parrot is clutching a phone it could be likely that he has hair as well as feathers.

If the aim is to have the phone card that stands out the most, the choice is clearly El Cotorrón amid the hundreds of other prepaid phone card options I see being advertised in the Mission.  Why a parrot?  I guess parrots are synonymous with squawking and talking in some instances.  And the word Cotorrón?  I've tried translation software and just scouring the internet for a possible translation but have had no luck.  I can't even find any information about the company that produces these cards.  It's a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in pancetta.

Here's to you, El Cotorrón, you wacky parrot!  Thanks El Cotorrón, for all the times just looking at you has made my day just a tiny bit brighter. 

208 views and 2 responses

  • May 10 2011, 8:41 PM
    Jeff responded:
    For what its worth, I also think its hair. I would probably say that objectively, but more so, its more ridiculous and therefore, axiomatically, must be true.

    As far the company, Cotoron is a real parrot. That's not a drawing! And he is the long-time rival of Kaiser Souze. A more typical picture is here:

    See? It even says El Cotoron in it! What are your secrets, you magnificent bastard?

  • May 11 2011, 12:18 PM
    Lee responded:
    So it has been called to my attention that Cotorrón is a Spanish name for the green parakeet. I had one of those as a child and he was nuts, hurling his body at his metal cage. All the times I wanted a Cotorrón of my own and I already had one.