OK. So Monday was Labor Day and I thought I would go to the zoo.
I didn’t actually go to the zoo, of course. I just thought about going to the zoo. I also thought about doing some laundry.
It’s a lot more fun to think about going to the zoo than it is to think about doing laundry.
And I was weighing the pros and cons of going to the zoo, I started thinking about my previous trips to zoos.
The first zoo I remember going to was the zoo in Jackson. I was about 8. The thing that sticks out about that trip was that somehow I wound up with animal poop all over my shirt. I don’t know how that happened. Things like that happen to 8-year-olds. If you have kids, you know what I mean.
The next zoo I remember going to was the Audobon Zoo in New Orleans, which is an excellent zoo.
By this time, I had a boy of my own. Corey was about 3, I think, when we first went to the Audobon Zoo.
The thing I remember most about that trip was when we happened to stop in front of the bison exhibit.
There we were - me, my then-wife and my son, Corey - standing by the fence. Well, since Corey was only three, I had to point out what animal it was that we were supposed to be looking at. Otherwise, he would focus on some interloper, maybe a bug or a frog, and look at that.
So I said enthusiastically, “Corey! Look at the buffalo!’’
Well, as soon as I said that, this guy next to us, butts in and says, in sort of a snooty, condescending voice, “Actually, it’s a bison.’’
Don’t you hate know-it-alls? I mean.
I never really understood why people are like that. First, who cares? Second, do I know you? Third, Have I asked you for your expertise on the weighty issue of buffalo vs. bison? Fourth, do you realize that I’ve done hard time in prison and can snap at any moment? Of course, at this moment in history, it will be about 30 years before I actually go to prison, but I’m still a dangerous man.
So, that’s my main memory of the Audobon Zoo. Bisons.
The next zoo I went to was the San Francisco Zoo. You may recall that the San Francisco Zoo is where the fences at the Tiger Exhibit are about, oh, three feet high. A while back, a couple of drunken teens started taunting the Tigers, who inexplicably decided to quit being mellow Bay-Area Tigers and attacked the teens. Nobody taunts the Tigers there anymore.
By the time of my visit to the San Francisco Zoo, I had another child. Abby was about 4 when we all went to zoo.
It is a very nice zoo when the Tigers stay in their enclosures.
The highlight of that trip was around lunch time. Corey and Abby were STARVING, of course, because they hadn’t eaten anything in about five minutes. So we stopped at the little food court and bought hotdogs, chips and a soda for the four of us, which cost approximately $842.
Well, sweet little Abby was standing there, minding her own business, eating her hotdog. She had taken about one bite, when suddenly this pigeon dive-bombs her and snatches her hotdog right out of her little hand.
The expression on her face is difficult to convey in words. I’d say it was a mixture of shock, fear and confusion, followed by very loud crying.
“It’s OK,’’ I said. “I’ll get you another hotdog. It’s all right.’’
Poor child. Soon as she got that hot dog she went directly under the picnic table with it.
I’ve been to the Phoenix Zoo many times. The orangutans eat their own poop, by the way. I don’t know if that’s just a Phoenix thing or not, but it is highly entertaining, especially if you are a pre-teen boy. Or me.
That’s pretty much my zoo memories.
Animal poop on my shirt. Bison experts. Thieving pigeons. Orangutans eating their own feces.
I recalled all these fine experiences as I was thinking about going to the zoo on Labor Day.
Which maybe explains why I only thought about going to the zoo.