Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Impossible Desires Made Simple

After giving it a lot of thought, I finally have an answer (that I can remember) to one of those generic questions that puts you on the spot during stupid situations like icebreakers, organized parties, religious gatherings or post-casual sex. And that question is:

If there is one thing you could do in life, what would it be?

And that, quite simply, would be to pet a baby tiger. Or a lion cub. Or a cheetah cub. I'm not picky. The idea is to be able to spend time with one of the big cat cubs. At least four hours. And maybe feed it with a bottle too.

And this desire has become a bit of an obsession for quite some time, being fUnemployed and all.

Whenever I hear Beck's "Paper Tiger" off of his album, Sea Change, I can't sing along without changing the lyrics to, "I want to pet a baby tiger..."
I've fantasized about throwing myself a surprise birthday party where I blindfold myself and drive off to the zoo where I've managed to arrange special access with the zookeepers for myself. They take me into the cub nursery, take off my blindfold and I see five little
tiger cubs tackling each other and then turn, suddenly curious about me, their new visitor. The zookeepers keep their distance, not chiding me like a child about the dangers of these predators, probably because I've given them the evil eye for keeping these cats cooped up and because they see that the cubs like me much better than them, which kind of makes them jealous and wondering if they picked the right career path. They hate cleaning up tiger shit anyway. And by the end of the visit when someone says, "Time's up," and all the cubs are lying against me either napping or purring, and the mother hisses at them when they try to pick me up off the ground with the cubs, they decide to offer me a job, playing with the cubs everyday.

I've hated the "one thing you could do in life" question because it implies the impossibility of ever getting to do that thing. Maybe I won't get a job playing with cubs, but my desire seems simple enough to me. It doesn't call for the accumulation of millions of dollars on anyone's part and major zoos (usually housing one kind of big cat or another) always seem to at least be within a couple of hours distance. So why is it so hard for me to fulfill my wish without developing a terminal illness to enlist the sympathies of the caretakers? Just short of becoming a celebrity or buying a tiger cub I'm not sure what I can do about "doing that one thing in life." Except for, maybe writing a few letters to some zoos. It just might be the perfect fUnemployment project...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:24 AM

    I used to say that heaven was a room full of puppies, good Indian food, and oral sex.
    I hope you can see how that relates to what you've written, because I really can't.
    Anyway, the lure of the big cats, especially the baby versions, can not be denied. They are cuddly and cute. However, if I am going to play with something that is cute, wild, and endangered, I definitely want to play with a baby gorilla. When I visited the Columbus zoo, they had a baby gorilla in an exhibit, and it had all kinds of human-toddler toys. Plus, in there with the baby was some guy in scrubs, whose job it was to *play* with the baby all day long!! At one point he even blew zerberts on the baby's stomach, and the gorilla smiled and giggled and it was amazing! Best day at the zoo ever.