If I Ran the Zoo VI

Sylvia Wasson

I also work in a zoo - and what a zoo it is! 

In the zoo in which I work, the animals look very diverse, but they all make the same sound. Those who can not or will not sound alike face punishment -- ranging from isolation ("you can't eat from the same trough anymore") and name-calling ("you are obviously not an elephant, but a creepy snake") to being thrown out of the zoo by the zookeeper ("I just don't like your kind of animal"). Since self-preservation is vital to endangered species, most animals try very hard to produce the required sound. Others have simply fallen silent.

If I ran the zoo, I'd encourage each animal to cultivate its own, unique sound. The more authentic the sound, the more praise I would lavish on the animal. The trough would be large enough to accommodate all the animals, no matter their size, shape, sound, or stripe. Attacking a zebra just because of its stripes would not be tolerated. I would not call it a hate crime though, only an inexcusable violation of my primary zoo code: the code of civility.

In the zoo in which I work, dark-skinned animals are preferred over light-skinned animals. Animals of the female gender and those exhibiting exotic sexual behaviors enjoy automatic privileges as well.

If I ran the zoo, I would be colorblind, and equality for all animals would be the rule of law.

In the zoo in which I work, the zookeeper (a.k.a. president) has been warned by a grand jury to stop cultivating his own "petting zoo" and to stop discriminating against animals on the basis of immutable characteristics. But so certain is he of the power over his politicized zoo that not even grand jurors can stop him from cracking the whip. The animals have become ever more obedient, the sounds they make more uniform.

If I ran the zoo, the zookeeper would have long been told to leave or else be locked in the lion cage.

This is all for today about "The Life in the Zoo in Which I Work." Although I have been expelled from the zoo before and have been targeted for extinction, I will continue to protest the zoo’s stifling monoculture in hopes of rousing the wrath of a largely clueless, zoo-supporting taxpaying public.

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