Sunday, April 09, 2006

So I went to the zoo on Sunday...

... and since I got in free, I thought I would relive this magical experience and bring along all of you, my cheap, faceless cynickites, at no charge.

I did pay $8 for parking, however, so we'll have to work out an appropriate way in which each of you can reimburse me.

How on earth did The Cynical Idealist manage to slip into southeastern Wisconsin's premier collection of exotic wild beasts forced into undersized exhibits for the amusement of fat, homely children of all ages without paying, you ask? Simple. Mrs. The Cynical Idealist read somewhere that it was Family Free Day at the Milwaukee County Zoo, as sponsored by Some Stupid Capitalist Conglomerate.

INSENSITIVE CYNICKITE: But Matthew, you and your wife hardly constitute a family. Christ, you don't even own a dog.

Good point, dicklick. However, I believe the "Family Free" appellation was chosen based solely on its alliterative merit, and therefore selfish DINKs and hellbound single mothers are as welcome to gape dumbly at kangaroos as your more acceptable nuclear family of overfed automatons.

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So ... what kind of people can one expect to encounter on free admission days at your local, bureaucratic menagerie?

1.) Cheap S.O.B.'s: My wife does not enjoy spending money. This works out fairly well for us since the wages I bring home from my glorified acting/writing hobby and lucrative stint as a zebrafish caretaker make a mockery of the word "income." Unfortunately, this also means I am resigned to choking down Wal-Mart's store brand of fruit bars and visiting the zoo along with the indigent population of South Milwaukee.

2.) Minorities: You can call me whatever you want, but "wrong" ain't one of your choices. Nobody appreciates free shit like minorities. And if the White Devil wants to let the oppressed races feed dirty pellets to disturbingly small goats -- free of charge -- you can damn well bet your Great-Aunt Enid's pewter spoon collection that those greedy buggers will line up fifty deep to feed the fuck out of those mutant farm critters.

TANGENT ALERT!: Uh, memo to hateful minority groups ... I know you've been striving long and hard to find an acceptably insulting derogatory term for the white man -- cracker, honky, whitey, Casper, Republican, boss -- but "White Devil?" I'm sorry, but "White Devil" sounds cool. Like, 'wish-I-had-that-nickname-throughout-high-school' cool. Really, mega-uber-cool. So don't call us that. Cause I don't think it's having the intended effect.

3.) Republicans: If there is one kind of person on this planet who can enjoy not paying for something even more than a minority, it is a card-carrying member of the Grand Old Party. Republicans love dollars. The only thing they love more than dollars is not spending those dollars if they can possibly help it. On anything. Now, combine the concept of not injecting money into the local economy with the smug sense of superiority a reactionary conservative receives when gazing down at an imprisoned, defenseless Thomson's gazelle, and you've got the ideal RNC-approved family (i.e. one male father, one female mother, children not to exceed three in number) outing.

Unless Dad can kiss his boss's ass enough to score free tickets to a Brewers game. Cause free sports events featuring drug-addled young men in skintight pants trump everything in a Republican's family day wet dream.

Yeah, I don't get it either.

4.) Kids: Those psychotic motherfuckers are everywhere during free admission days. I don't think they even bring their parents. I think they get together with the other neighborhood kneebiters, down a couple hundred pixie sticks between 'em, then run the 17 miles to the zoo in just under 45 minutes. Nobody notices that these little bastards are without supervision because we all assume the nearest exhausted, heavyset adult is the asshole incapable of controlling their unruly offspring. And that tubby babymaker is too tired dealing with their own shit to notice your dirty looks.

This all works out perfectly for the kids in question. That is, until they make their way to the massively-overpriced gift shops around 3pm and realize they can't buy that fucking pole with a crocodile head on top that snaps open and shut because they don't have any money, the useless, ungrateful little societal black holes. Nothing is sweeter to my ears than the plaintive wails of a spoiled, towheaded, ten-year-old ugmonkey whose daddy won't buy him that stuffed snow leopard he so desperately and irrationally craves. Welcome to capitalism, half-pint! HAHAHAHAHA!
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In a previous entry, I really laid into the stereotypical mobile turd dispensers that clog your average mall come the holiday season. Well, not only do you have several of these recyclable airsuckers to contend with in a relatively open air environment such as a zoological garden, but there are several new species to watch out for. And here they are. For reference.

1.) Bitch with stroller: I cannot tell you how many strollers I saw being pushed around that contained zero -- count 'em, ZERO -- children onboard. Oh, there were plenty of soft drink cans, foodstuffs, camera cases, and gift bags, but a startling absence of any child-type creature. Mind you, I'm sure Devon/Mason/Taylor/Jordan/Logan was off happily banging on the Boelen's python tank, but I also have a certain paranoid, but not unjustifiable, suspicion that some of these stroller jockeys are actually childless masterminds who rent those heel crushers simply for the sake of having an eight-foot-wide plow with which to clear a path through the unwashed masses. And for that ...

I applaud them. The clever little assburglars.

As for the actual parents with strollers, maybe we can work out some kind of mandatory driver's education class to be taken prior to hurtling unsteadily through the common throng like some inebriated forklift operator.

2.) Big black mama with kids of various ages: I actually have to admit that I like this zoo regular. Normally gregarious and good-natured, just watch her long enough and you can be sure that some errant member of her large brood will royally piss her the fuck off. And once that happens, just sit back and watch the free fireworks, folks! Cause, unlike her pussyfooting, ineffectual, permissive-parenting white counterparts, I can assure you that this badass will get to whalin' on her misbehaving miscreant with the unrelenting fury of an invading American armed force. And what voyeur doesn't love to watch an unrepetant public display of familial violence?

3.) The human ping-pong: Ye gods, is this guy a-fucking-nnoying. The human ping pong hasn't even the remotest concept of personal space or his/her proximity to other objects, animate or in. They are busy looking at all the pretty animals, not where they're going, and they bounce from person to person without so much as an "Excuse me" or "Whoops! Sorry about that" or "Please forgive me, I'm just a dick." Now, some of your HPP's are simply lost in a benevolent daze, like my wife, and don't mean any harm in their careless meandering. Others are outright self-involved egotists who can't be bothered to observe even the most basic niceties such as, oh, say, not fucking touching me. Ever. Fortunately, the vast majority of HPP's are noticably smaller than I am, and bumping into me is not far removed from slamming into a retaliatory brick wall for them.

4.) Ugly people: For those of you from other parts of this fine country, or, indeed, from other countries entirely (Benvenuto, Citizens of the World with an Irrational Hatred of All Things American! Go fuck yourselves! Arrivederci!), Wisconsin is the North American continent's dumping ground of hideously repulsive westerners. Seriously. I am not exaggerating here. We Wisconsinites are, without question, truly and grossly repugnant creatures, and the fact that we're even allowed to exist on this planet says a great deal about the success of the liberal's Pity Party movement. And we're only getting uglier.

Don't believe me? Visit our zoo. I can guarantee you that the warthogs won't be the vilest things you see on display here.

Okay, so a large number of Wisconsin residents are irredeemably dogfaced. That's all well and good as far as I'm concerned. I mean, you tend to acclimate yourself to this 'ugly' realization as soon as you're old enough to see what a really attractive person looks like once you venture down to Great America or, well, anywhere else on the planet. The problem I have is with two specific subsets of Ugly People:

The woman baring her midriff who should never -- EVER -- bare her midriff: Sweetheart, come on. Did you really fail to notice the seventy ripples of Ding-Dong-descended fat when you put on your two-year-old daughter's "I'm a Snotty Little Fucking Princess" T-shirt this morning? Of course you did. Therefore, I can only surmise that you're subjecting the civilized world to your voluminous folds of flab for one of two reasons: a.) you're an independent womyn who's proud of the way she looks and wants to thumb her nose at the unfair standards conventional society demands that its women live up to, in which case I think you'd be hard-pressed to find even the staunchest feminist to support your belly-busting wardrobe choices, or b.) you're hoping to land a man who likes his women on the 'not-ashamed-to-make-a-public-spectacle-of-herself' side. And this 'man' invariably turns out to be ...

The guy wearing a muscle shirt who doesn't possess the musculature to warrant wearing a muscle shirt: You all know this pint-size He-Man. He's usually pasty, dangerously malnourished, and tends to sport a mullet, unkempt facial hair, or both. And, of course, his licorice arms are dangling embarrassingly from beneath his 'muscle' tank top. Size Small, of course, which is STILL three sizes too big for this little feller. Guys, here's a simple rule of thumb to use before showing off what you believe to be your bulging biceps: If you can't bench press at least your own body weight for several reps, let's leave the muscle shirt for at-home use only, shall we? Because you probably don't have the muscle tone required to carry a coin purse let alone attract a member of the opposite sex (or same sex. Whatever floats your proverbial boat).

And for the record, this criteria does, in fact, entitle me to wear muscle shirts in full public view. I'll be looking for you, ladies.
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Since I'm on a roll with this list thing, why don't I keep it going by sharing a deep, personal recollection of the many of God's awe-inspiring creations that I encountered while strolling through an unnatural, man-made prison of our biological inferiors?

1.) Chickens: These were special chickens because they were gold-colored and had heavily-feathered feet. Ooooo!

2.) A rooster: Yes. An honest-to-gods rooster. He even crowed! Like every fucking rooster I've ever seen in my life! In or out of a zoo!

3.) The domestic cat: Oh, yeah. You read that right. There are people paying upwards of ten dollars, not including parking, to see a normal, pointless, domestic fucking goddamned housecat in a cage.

AN EXCLUSIVE T.C.I. TIP: If you go to your local rescue shelter, you can see them for free.

4.) Cows, pigs, and a horse: All there. All boring.

5.) The newly-renovated Big Cat "exhibit": When the Milwaukee County Zoo decides to remodel an outdated, poorly-designed animal enclosure, it ultimately translates to one thing and one thing only: "We're going to throw some rocks in there and paint a nice mural on the back wall."

Which they did. Bravo, wildlife lovers.

In their defense, at least they resisted the strong temptation to place a housecat in the Big Cat Building.

6.) Black rhinoceros (male): The black rhinoceros differs from its African brethren, the relatively placid white rhinoceros, in being far more standoffish, stubborn, bad-tempered, destructive, and prone to uncontrollable fits of violence.

There's a joke in there somewhere, but I'm not about to dig it out. Though I do feel a little guilty for always having preferred the white rhino to the black one.

In any case, the male black rhino at the M.C.Z. kicks ass. That fucker's got an anterior horn bigger than most of the kids staring at him, and isn't it nice to see an animal impressive enough to keep even the most obnoxious, undisciplined crapsack from thumping on the pane?

7.) The Reptile and Fish House: Dark, humid, and eerie, the reptile house is any truly heterosexual male's single favorite part of the zoo experience. Where else can you find spitting cobras, bone-crushing pythons, snake-necked terrapins, caimans suffering from ennui, Amazonian tetras larger than your wizened grandmother, and an octopus guaranteed to make the some chick in pink squeal "Eek! It's got so many legs!" all congregating in a young boy's glorious dream garden? Hell, this place is what my garage when I was eight-years-old would have looked like if I had lived in the tropics and had access to an extensive array of tranquilizing weaponry.

8.) Monkeys and Apes: Monkeys and apes bore the shit out of me. They always have, they always will. If I wanted to stare at an ape, I wouldn't leave my bathroom mirror in the morning. Or, better yet, I'd go to the nearest cafe and watch the zoo patrons shovel fries into their oral cavities with the use of their stubby opposable thumbs.

9.) Bears: Sleeping.

10.) Giraffes: They were "on vacation" in Ohio while their enclosure was being 'remodeled' (see #5 above). This begs a large number of questions, but I don't particularly feel like asking any of them.

11.) The Aviary: Interestingly, this was both the most fascinating part of our visit and the most depressing. The wetlands portion of the birdhouse is, along with the Amazon River basin section of the Reptile/Fish House, the closest the Milwaukee Zoo comes to low-level magnificence. The various storks and ibises on display were strenuously locating reeds and grasses to add to the nests they were building among the rock formations, not to mention combing the shores for food and tenderly grooming their mates. Informative, beautiful, and compelling ...

... until the fact strikes you that these poor bastards can't fly ten feet in a straight line without slamming into a sky-colored wall. I guess most visitors can get past the cruel irony of the most freedom-embracing nation in the world 'clipping the wings,' so to speak, of the masters of true flight, but it always leaves me feeling more than a little hypocritical and ashamed.

But mostly because it proves just what a big fucking pussy I must be.

12.) The Small Mammal House: Ahh, the human ping-pong's hallowed ground. For those of you who aren't aware, half of the small mammal house is composed of a black hallway with seriously confused nocturnal insectivores scrounging around under romantic blue lighting. That's right. The hallway is practically pitch black. You think you have trouble avoiding strollers in broad daylight? Just wait till you get to this ambulance chaser's paradise. Still, the bushbaby was bouncing around like a pot-smoking paranoiac, and bats are never not cool, so that was a minor highlight of our visit.

13.) Moose: Despite the fact that the artiodactyls grazing in the caribou enclosure were clearly marked as such, not less than three people passed by helpfully informing others that the "caribou" we were peacefully observing were actually called "moose." I sincerely hope these same eminent zoologists took the time to cross to the opposite side of the road to correctly identify the poor, confused moose-like creatures lurching about in the enclosure marked "Moose."

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And how about the other, non-tetrapodcentric portions of the zoo?

1.) The Dairy Farm: Believe it or not, the bleachers facing the dairy milking station were filled to capacity as my wife and I walked by on our to get ice cream -- er, I mean, a manly dish of roast anaconda innards.

"People, people," I had the strong urge to yell in the crowded dairy simulator, "you live in Wisconsin, for Christ's sake. You really have no idea how this whole milk thing works? And, barring that, you really care? Oh my God, leave the barn 'exhibit' immediately and go see the goddamned jaguar, you sad little urbanites! They tend to be much rarer in these parts than, say, a cow."

2.) The gift shops: When I was a child, this was one of the best parts of getting to go to the zoo. As I have matured, it is comforting to know that this has not changed. I still like the gift shops, although my child-like awe is now tempered by the brutal constraints of a limited budget. Therefore, it was with a heavy heart that I left the zoo today without a rhino-emblazoned shot glass or a street sign helpfully warning that rhinos were, indeed, likely to cross at any time.

3.) The zoo train: Uh, yeah, we didn't go on the zoo train.

4.) Eating a honey mustard chicken, ham, and swiss wrap at The Chancery in Mequon afterwards: Where chickens and pigs truly belong ...

TANGENT ALERT!: It has very recently come to my attention that the second 'H' in "The Chancery" is a rather vital consonant in that phrase. I don't recommend leaving it out.
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So there you have it, my faithful, patient cynickites. Doesn't it feel as though you'd been to the zoo with me?

UNAPPRECIATIVE CYNICKITE (shrugging shoulders): I 'unno.

Well, do you feel listless, unfulfilled, and maybe a little peckish?

UNAPPRECIATIVE CYNICKITE: Yeah, I guess.

Then my work here is done. Prick.



In closing, I like the zoo. Just not most of it.
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THE CYNICAL IDEALIST'S HATEFUL HINT #231 (Kids' Edition!): Hey, kids! Is that stupid polar bear just taking a nap when you want him to get off his ass and jump in the pool? Or how about all those mean-looking fishies and snakes and alligators who just won't do anything? And who does that mangy lion think he is, not roaring, the lazy sissy?

Well, here are several T.C.I.-approved methods of gaining the attention of any calm, relaxed, inoffensive animal not pulling its weight when its sole purpose on this plane of existence is to entertain you and your spoiled, half-literate twin brothers, Montana and Dallas. It's really quite simple.

If you can reach the glass separating you from the animal's enclosure ... POUND THE EVER-LIVING FUCK OUT OF IT! The stunned dumb beast will have no choice but to react to that brilliant maneuver. And if you're really lucky, the stupid thing might just up and die of stress and shock. Yay!! You're the Great White Hunter, only much lazier and less impressive.

And if only a fence, moat, or trench keeps you from being rightfully trampled by a herd of vengeful elands, use that shrill, unpleasant, nasally voice your chosen god "blessed" you with. SCREAM AT THE POOR DAMN BASTARDS! If history has taught us nothing else, it is that the world will drop everything and listen when being barked at by a bratty, effeminate boy from across the way.

And if all else fails, throw things at them. Throw soft foodstuffs such as marshmallows only if you are a little pansy bitch. Rocks, sticks, Hot Wheels cars, strollers, digital cameras, and weaker siblings make far more effective attention-getting devices. Tossing your little brother into the polar bear den, in particular, should make for an unforgettable future family story.

However, keep that whole sticky "What goes around, comes around" saying in the back of your mind. Because if Uncle Matthew ever catches one of you trying to nap quietly or eat fruit roll-ups in peace or watch your SpongeBob undisturbed, fully expect me to rap you roughly on the side of the head, scream profanities into your face, and throw Tonka trucks at your teeth.

"Look! Look, now the little shit's moving! I told you this stuff works!"

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3 Comments:

Blogger The Fourth Earl of Excelor said...

The bears are much more exciting when they are either humping or swimming. If they are humping while swimming then you know you've really got your moneys worth. No penguins? I understand; you can only enjoy watching penguins when it is accompanied with the smooth, melodic, tranquil voice of Morgan Freeman.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...

Yes, I have seen bear humpage and bear swimmage, though never concurrently, sadly. More often than not, year-round dormancy seems to be the name of the ursine game.

Interestingly, I had actually told the wife my abduction plan concerning those little jackass penguins (World's Best animal common name, by the way) they keep tantalizingly within reach of any passer-by. Or are they Humboldt penguins...? Who gives a shit. The ones in the main area when you just come in. Those ones.

Anyway, as I was saying, I didn't see Morgan Freeman anywhere.

The End.

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you know a lot of big words. I haven't been to the zoo in over twenty years but after your insightful tour I can skip it for 20 more.

OH,And people suck!

Sgt Mellors

8:34 PM  

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