Friday, February 19, 2010

That's Michael Mouse to you.

Animal Kingdom Wildlife Park

In the spirit of recycling for conservation, I often use odd snippets of conversation that I overhear. I keep a list of odd names that can be used for characters. But I long ago gave up collecting the stupid things people say or do while watching animals in zoos. It's too easy.

The breaking point for me was a visit many years ago to the Bronx Zoo (if I recall correctly, although it must have been before the Congo Gorilla Forest was opened). A ghastly boy of about ten had decided that the funniest thing he'd ever managed to do in his life was to sit in front of the glass frontage of the gorilla exhibit and give his not-so-distant cousins the finger for several minutes, looking around all the time with a rictus of self-satisfaction on his stupid, inbred face, clearly expecting as much delighted approval from the surrounding zoogoers as if he'd discovered cold fusion in his underwear. And the saddest thing of all is that, twenty-odd years later, that particular specimen of homo sapiens has probably yet to surpass that single act of wit.

So we were very happy to stop for a while and, quietly and in stillness, take in the dignity and beauty of a young silverback gorilla sitting thoughtfully beside a waterfall in Disney's African exhibit. As for the whoops, screams, and foolish comments of a minority of the passers-by -- well, I'll merely say that they're supplying more coffin-nails for the intelligent design heresy. Unless God is a gorilla.

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