“Mean Zoo.”

Went to the zoo with some little kids.

To amuse them during the car ride I told them a story. It was called “Mean Zoo.”

I said: hey kids, imagine a zoo. If kids are bad they get put in the cage with lions.

The kids stopped fidgeting. They liked this. They wanted it to get even meaner.

I said: then mean zookeepers make the bad kids have a poo fight with the monkeys. If the kids lose, they have to clean it all up.

The kids hooted. Our drive to the zoo was bearable because they were distracted.

When we got there, I found myself in the ape house looking at a gorilla.

He was up against the glass. They don’t have bars any more, just glass. I was inches from this gorilla.

I looked at the thick salt & pepper hairs on this guy’s head. I looked in his eyes. They said he didn’t care about me.

He didn’t care about much.

I think he’d been driven insane years ago in his small room, this animal that had evolved to move in forests. A small stench-filled room.

With me looking in his hopeless eyes.

Mean zoo, I thought.

What does this have to do with birds and bird watching? I have two answers.

One: there were birds in enclosures at the mean zoo, too. They were meant to fly, but couldn’t. That was pretty mean.

Two: Not everything on this website is about birds. Not everything on this website is two-fisted, either.

The gorilla was a two-fisted wrecking machine, but he wasn’t wrecking anything, no matter how big his fists were.

Not in the mean zoo.

10 Responses to ““Mean Zoo.””

  1. norm schaefer says:

    Great insight on zoos. I think I would miss them if they were not around……but not that much.

  2. bob faber says:

    When I was in college (SIU) I spent a summer working at Lincoln Park Zoo. While working in the primate house I was told never look the gorilla in the eyes- it was a sign of aggression. Sure enough, I looked the big male in the eye while working behind the cage and the next time I passed by the back of the cage I received a direct hit. The gorilla rolled some poo in cabbage leaf and with an underarm fast pitch nailed me in the chest. Mean zoo.

  3. Jim K. says:

    I like the post: Mean Zoo!!

    Someday, plan a trip to Rwanda and see the gorillas. Easy to research this on the web.

  4. susan says:

    mean zoo. why do we need to stare at animals in cages pretending it’s their natural habitat. what’s natural about it?
    maybe you saw the planet of the apes movie that was out this past summer. beware!

  5. Rob L says:

    Two-fisted birdwatcher: not always two-fisted, not always about birds, but ALWAYS about the watcher, in you and all of us…and that’s the best part. I know at least one monkey with salt and pepper hairs on his head, but unlike the monkey in this story, he’s doing exactly what he’s born to be doing – amusing little (and big) kids with stories.

  6. Dale Ball says:

    Zoos are sad places. I loved them as a kid and even took my kids to them when they were young, until the resigned, sad looks on the animals’ faces and finally, the elephant hobbled with chains anchored to a cement floor made it unbearable.

  7. jeff says:

    what i like about reading two fisted birdwatcher is the good read on the surface. entertaining, interesting, enlightening. but what i love about it is the hidden stuff. sometimes easy to see, sometimes a bit harder. and i’m not just talking about the monthly hidden bird contest.

  8. Marc D. says:

    A beautiful posting about the animal and human condition.

  9. Lita Sollisch says:

    I’m with you Two-fisted. The sadness in the gorilla’s eyes was palpable. Makes me sad.

  10. Harvey says:

    A moving photo. You have real feeling for this being and others. That ain’t mean but it’s strong.