I had quite the weekend. There was much on my planning plate for Saturday. I had it all laid out: Zoo, Museum, Dinner, Movie. Then my family arrived. The plan became: Zoo, Arcade at Movie Theatre, Dance Dance Revolution, Movie, Dinner. No problem; I’m a flexible guy.
It was a good day, but one thing truly stuck out in my mind. There was really only one thing that was worth writing a comedic commentary on, and that was “The Passion of the Christ”. Whoa – what a funny movie! It was like a return to slapstick Charlie Chaplin movies. It was even entirely in German and French, which is unusual.
Aside from that, though, the funniest thing was the Great Plains Zoo (GPZ), in Sioux Falls. There is nothing more trashy looking then a South Dakotan Zoo in the winter. Most people don’t think we have running water up here, let alone wild animals kept in cages. GPZ seems to help reinforce that idea by giving Zoo Walkers very little to hold up their expectations.
You start by walking through a museum. A museum is a lot like a zoo except that everything is already dead. That and you “learn” things at a museum, supposedly. I learned is that their messed-up version of pangea is way wrong and misshapen. There is no way to get that thing into one land mass. I also learned what color carpet one can expect to find in the Rocky Mountains, the Amazon Rain Forest, and the Sahara Desert.
Off to the zoo. First thing you see out the doors is the rhino. Rhinos are scary by virtue of their large size, quick temper, and poor eyesight. You know that TRex on Jurassic Park? You remember when he rams the side of the jeep as it drives away? That was modeled after rhino behavior. Yeah – TRex, boys. TRex.
The TRex, I mean rhino, was pacing back and forth. He wasn’t just walking back and forth; he was doing figure-eights. Like a bad figure skater trapped in hell, he just went around and around, panting quietly. I, noticing his ethnicity (he was African), asked him if his being African American made him feel oppressed by his white slave drivers.
In response, he slipped and, in trying to regain his balance, kicked a fine spray of dirt and feces onto my coat. I guess he can take care of himself.
The next cage featured these birds that we all mistakenly dubbed Emus, but who were really stupid whatsits from another country. Bryce began taunting one of them. Minutes later, after wrenching his shaking body from the out of their reach, we surmised that these Emu-wannabes didn’t care for taunting and name calling, as such. We decided, however, made a decision to piss off each type of animal there was at the zoo.
This promise extended into the penguin area. Penguins, you would think, would be one of the most interesting creatures to see at a zoo in the winter. They’re used to winter, you know, so they’d feel at home and relaxed. We got to the tank and realized that penguins are always uninteresting. They stood there, silent and unmoving, facing all different directions like RISK armies. They just stared off into whatever random direction they happened to have been placed. Despite the appealing pool designed for the utmost in penguin leisure, very few of the tuxedo wearing birdish creatures were enjoying a swim or a bathe. The only excitement came when one of the penguins began moving forward. We all cheered it on. Everyone, follow Billy’s lead! Then it bent over and shot some crap out of its butt.
Next were the bears. They weren’t as interesting. When I got to that pen, one of the bears was on a rock about 20 feet below us. My parents had apparently coaxed him over to talk fish prices, but, after my arrival, he declined to stay there much longer. He began a slow, boring walk back to his cave. I turn to Megan to admire the way the sunlight gently frosts its golden beams around her, and I hear a ruckus. The bears were having a fight, but, as soon as I turned their way, they stopped. The bears, sensing an inability to get along, walked to seperate corners of the pen.
A short distance from the bear pit is the tiger track. I love tigers. Tigers are nature’s Fonzi. Cool and strong and covered in fur, though. If you don’t believe me, try putting a tiger next to a jukebox. He’ll tear it to shreds if you hang meat around it – just like Fonzi used to do. No wonder Ron Howard turned to directing! The funny thing about the tiger was that he was doing figure eights, too. The not-so-funny thing about the tiger was that he was limping. :( Pobre tigres.
Then there was the falcon/eagle cage. Most of these birds had been removed due to the violent, horrible nature of a South Dakotan winter. The ones that remained stared at us with a cool demeaner. They seemed to say, we may have one side of the cage that we launch our poop through, but we can launch it at you just as easily. Seconds later, Bryce, Lindsey, and Tony found a dead squirrel which they buried next to the road.
RIP, Mr. SnappyPants, Esquire.
The highlight of the zoo, however, was definitely the monkey arena. We went inside first. Inside there was a mommy monkey and a baby monkey. The mommy just stared at us through the glass. The little one kept climbing around and playing and being happy. He’d come up to his mother and gently pull her hair a couple times, swing around some more, and then the momma would smack him, grab him, and bite him. What a sweet mother.
Then, suddenly, she began moving. She climbed the ropes and ledges and came as close as she could to the window. Hanging there on her fingers, she stared at Tony, stared at him. Maybe it was love, but what happened next, I can’t tell you here : e-mail [email protected].
Then we went outdoors. I was standing there, waiting for some of the other people to walk out, and I had taken time to look at a monkey. As more people filed out the doors, we all turned to look at the monkey. He had been lying on his back, slightly turned away from us. Then he stood up. Right there was the biggest, pinkest monkey boner I have ever seen. Everyone’s eyes got huge, and we tried our best to turn away. It was horrifying.
We couldn’t stay any longer. The girls were scarred. The rest were skerrd. My parents were angry, seeking legislation to calm our woes. As we stood in the parking lot, Brenna just shook, her eyes fixated on a primate penis that was no longer there. My parents went to present me with a cake, but no one was hungry. In fact, no one was anything. We just stood there – dead in our hearts – and lamented this day, the day we lost our monkey penis innocence.