Monday, October 11, 2010

At the Zoo

At the zoo today a man was wearing pink Crocs. Looked like a perfectly normal dad in every other respect: shorts a little too high above the knee, ball cap, T-shirt, shades, popcorn to munch, a normal looking wife, two normal looking kids, and … pink Crocs. The guy's long, thin, sun-starved legs and large feet highlighted his unique choice in footwear. What a shame.

My paper sported pink comics today. The NFL players donned pink armbands, and some wore pink cleats. Wal-Mart devoted end cap space to pink items, like envelopes, for instance. Friends on Facebook put all their correspondence in a pink hue. All for breast cancer awareness. I’m all for breast cancer research in the hope of finding a cure, but the pink thing is going too far in my book. Especially a guy wearing pink Crocs.

When I told my son about it later, he pointed out that maybe the guy's choice of pink Crocs had nothing to do with breast cancer awareness. So I guess at this point, I hope it was a breast cancer awareness thing.

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At the zoo today the orangutans were unusually active. That is to say, their eyes were open, and they were moving. The signage indicated these large orange animals nurture their young longer than any other animal (human beings excepted), some 13 years. (How’d you like to turn your kids out on their 13th birthday? Wouldn’t work well, though, since, if other parents are correct, puberty actually makes people dumber for 5 to 15 years.)

The zoo also provided a receptacle for donations to aid distressed Indonesian orangutans, distressed being defined as “orphaned” and “homeless.” The zoo provides many of these kinds of receptacles, apparently aware that after we have paid half a mortgage payment to enter the zoo, plopped down a car payment to rent a wagon, and bought water bottles for the same amount we pay the city each month for their water, our wallets still weight us down with useless cash. Isn’t there somewhere we can lighten our load? “Why yes!” says the zoo. “Help poor suffering animals around the world.” “Wonderful!” we exclaim.

Now maybe I’m just ignorant (undoubtedly), but a homeless orangutan? In Indonesia? How does that happen? One just stumbles into Jakarta one day, sleeps on park benches at night, does acrobats on the streets during the day for pocket change and then blows it on Bintang Beer? And his story is he can’t return to the jungle—excuse me—rain forest, because he lost his job, and his tree was foreclosed on?
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How is an orangutan homeless? If he stumbles out of the jungle, throw him back into it. How much does that cost? If he keeps coming out, then disorient him (no pun intended); get him drunk on Bintang, blindfold him, spin him around several times, and take him back into the jungle. He'll get the blindfold off once he's sobered up.

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At the zoo today Callie and I rode the Sky Safari, a ride that takes you up over the African portion of the zoo so you can see the animals down below. Only the animals aren’t down below, and they won’t be unless they somehow manage to escape the pens far to the north of the ride. Now I know why they don’t take you over the lions, hyenas, pelicans, and zebras; they want to protect the animals from stupid humans dropping stuff that could hurt them in one way or another.
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Another reason: what if a person fell out of the ride into one of the animal pens? They don’t want their lions choking on bad food.
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Another (lesser) reason that may have surfaced briefly in a Sky Safari planning meeting: it wouldn’t look good if one of the animals hurt someone who fell into one of the pens.

So Callie and I rode the Sky Safari. We observed the mowed grass beneath us, the trees, Parks Automotive to our south, where we get the van repaired, Wells Street to our east. And to the north? A couple pelicans and the back end of a hyena … we think.

1 comment:

MMR said...

Yeah, the sky safari is no fun.