I took a couple of days off last week. I work an office job (although with lots of remote work, thanks to COVID and the "new normal"), and while an office job may be less physically demanding than, say, construction work, it has the singular disadvantage of being a mental pain in the balls.
For instance, I once worked for a boss who had the habit of getting extra hours out of employees by waiting for 4:45 pm, then unloading an "important" task on them that had to be completed before leaving. This is a management technique known as "being a gigantic fuckface" and it greatly contributed to the Great Escape-style atmosphere of the place, eventually resulting in this glorious workplace sentence:
Can you make a distraction? I'm going to make a run for it.
Another boss used to gaslight the shit out of everyone, proudly telling other managers that, "If I'm totally unpredictable, everyone will be too afraid to do less than stellar work." This was generally agreed to be a useful and workable attitude, although the people who generally agreed were all dictators at the time.
Bosses aren't the only ones who can cause you to snap at the office. Coworkers are notoriously good at this, often causing workplace incidents that require the National Guard to quell. I worked with a guy who turned to me one day and said, "Watch this."
What he wanted me to watch was him hitting the Reply All button to an email that had been sent to the entire company. Within 5 minutes the replies started rolling in:
Please do not use the Reply to All button on company announcements.
You mean like you just did?
I can't let everyone know not to hit Reply All unless I reply to all!
Can both of you guys knock it off? I have productive shit to do, and everyone is getting an email notification Every. Single. Time. you hit Reply All.
That was a message to two people, but you hit Reply All!
...and on and on and on, until the only things you could hear in the office were the incessant beeping of new email notifications, and the gnashing of teeth. My coworker friend rocked with silent laughter.
So from time to time it is important to disengage from the office and engage in activities designed to make you forgot how awful things are going to be when you go back to the office. And things will be awful because your evil coworker has legally changed his name to Reply All and, in all seriousness, you should start seriously considering homelessness as a viable option. This is how I came to be at the zoo on Thursday.
I live in the Phoenix area, and although it doesn't have a zoo to match the San Diego Zoo, it's not bad. The worst zoo I've visited (Municipal Division), is the Tucson Zoo which had exhibits such as the Neurotic Elephant Walking in Circles in a Small Concrete Enclosure Exhibit, or the Petting Zoo, which was renamed Toddlers Pet Some Fat Goats, and later, COVID Superspreader Event #41. The Phoenix Zoo is better than that.
Digression: I don't count the Tiger King-style private zoos, which are bullshit, and wrong, and cruel, and always result in people saying things like, "I had no idea how much lions ate, so yeah, I fed them Spaghetti-O's. But let me tell you something: I fed those Spaghetti-O's to those lions with love and compassion!"
Now, I know I refered to getting baked at the zoo, but due to Arizona law, which requires all marijuana consumption to be done on private property, I actually ate some edibles at home before leaving. Edibles are great because they kick like a mule and last 4-6 hours, but you have to be very careful because eating too much is a Very Bad Move. You become paranoid, scared, and wind up calling your employer to tell them that you are stuck in time:
I'd never seen this video with the snarky comments attached. A little bit of empathy is called for here, I think, because I have taken too many edibles before, and it really, really sucks. One of the reasons it sucks is because you start getting paranoid and fearful, which can cause chest pain, which then gets erroneously translated as heart attack symptoms, which makes you even more paranoid and fearful, and thus a Downward Fear Spiral is established. And while this is going on, your brain will wage a war with itself over whether or not you need to go to the hospital. You know that 99.9% of all ER visits involving edibles will result in some poor, stoned bastard being laughed at by ER personal, and in all likelihood, other patients as well. But... What if you... really are having a heart attack? [Editor's Note: You're not having a heart attack.]
So I ate some edibles and hopped on mass transit, which was cool, because it was like a Human Zoo on wheels with behavior only slightly below par when compared to a real zoo. (I am thinking here about the gentleman across the aisle from me who every few minutes would jam a hand down his pants, pull the hand out, then look closely at the tip of his index finger. For fuck's sake, dude...)
After a short walk and a quick mental reminder to never use mass transit again, I was at the zoo, and at just about the right time too, because the edibles were kicking the fuck in. I stood in line for security (because if Al Qaeda murders our petting goats, then the terrorists have won),reached my destination and immediately began reaping the benefits of going to the zoo baked. Namely:
Zoos are large, spread out affairs with multiple walking trails and far-flung events which not only makes going to the zoo fun, it makes it physically demanding as well! While it is a sad reality that some of us are unable to get around easily, zoos have thoughtfully provided trams for the elderly, the very young, the infirm, the people so fat that they'll be buried in piano crates, etc. These can be used to view the animals at the speed of continental drift while giving customers an opportunity to ask questions of a Fully Licensed and Bonded Zoo Professional such as, "Why are all of the animals asleep?"
The answer to that question, by the way, is easily determined using my State of the Art, Patent Pending, I Will Have Your Legs Broken if You Try to Steal It, Nobel Prize-Winning Idea: Greg's Zoo Activity Axiom, which states that:
The activity of a given zoo animal (x) is in indirect proportion to the entertainment value of said activity (y)
x = 1/y
In other words, if the animal is boring as shit, it will be awake. If it is the most amazing animal in the history of the universe, it will sleep 25 hours a day.
Exposure to Many Wonderful Animals, All of Which You Would Have Gassed if You Found Them on Your Property!
There is some seriously dangerous shit at the zoo, yo. Yeah, you've got cute turtles, and flamingos, and giraffes, but you also have 15 foot long fucking alligators that mentally refer to your children as "To Go Meals", hippos that would rip your head off for grins, and pythons that would squeeze you into a fine paste. Lots of fences at the zoo, which is a good thing if you happen to be walking around after playing with edibles.
You also run into a lot of horrific shit at the Insect Life exhibit, which attracts 7 year olds and apparently people who like to sprint out of Insect Life exhibits, flailing wildly and making desperate shooing and/or itching motions. The latter category was exemplified by a young woman I saw who looked at the tarantula exhibit and made the following observation:
Oh, hell no!
...and away she went, shaking imaginary tarantulas out of her pant legs.
My personal favorite are the Doomsday Animals, the ones with traits straight out of the Geneva Convention:
The Spanglebacked Tickle Snake is known for its adorable looks, aggressive nature, and toxin so lethal that it is estimated that one airborne droplet of venom would cause the immediate eradication of all life within a 6,000 mile radius. Incredibly rare, these are the only two known specimens in the world.
...and you're thinking, "Sweet! We just gas these nasty little fuckers and we're done with them," but people are actually trying to save these slithering time bombs! If you were to even suggest that a Spanglebacked Tickle Snake be looked at sideways, well then Big Conservation would track you down, tie you to a chair, and beat you with an armadillo in a pillowcase. We don't fuck around with Big Conservation, do we? DO WE?!?
Meet New People! Different, Possibly Criminally Insane, People!
Of course there is always one other animal at the zoo, the human being, and let me tell you something, those fucking things have escaped. They are everywhere, and some of them are nuttier than squirrel shit.
I make this statement based on an individual I saw at the giraffe exhibit who spent an extraordinary and inappropriate amount of time asking the giraffe to kiss him. I know, because I spent an extraordinary and inappropriate amount of time watching him. But I had the excuse of being stoned, which is to extraordinary and inappropriate as water is to ducks. This guy, though... I dunno. Maybe he had a giraffe fetish that had hitherto been satisfied in the parking lots of various (and now abandoned) Toy R Us stores in town.
Enrage the Animals!!!
I remember being wildly entertained by an anecdote about a small midwestern zoo that had a gorilla enclosure that allowed you to stand right next to this massive wild animal, separated by what looked to be a 3/4" pane of, one would hope, very strong security glass.
As luck would have it, this exhibit was discovered by a minor league baseball team that made it a regular practice to go to the zoo for the express purpose of enraging the gorilla to the point that it would fling itself at the glass, which would cause the players to squeak in girlish fear to the amusement of all but the now-concussed gorilla.
I was wildly entertained, not at their animal cruelty, but at the idea that this practice would likely continue, often enough that one of these days, that gorilla is going to break that pane of glass and graphically mount a backup shortstop while swinging a left-fielder around in circles by the ankle.
But then, you know what? I caught myself baring my teeth at the baboons in the baboon enclosure. I didn't expect them to hurt themselves, or run headfirst into the glass, but I didn't do it expecting them to be thrilled about it either. I just wanted to see how they reacted, a common enough desire to judge by the people around me. I guess there's a little of those asshole baseball players in us all, huh?
So I tossed a life-sized doll smeared with bacon grease into the enclosure to liven things up a bit and went to see the tigers. They were sleeping.
See the Wonderful and Mysterious Egress!
There's an old anecdote about eternal hustler, P.T. Barnum, who had a problem with people not leaving the circus after the show, making it difficult to prepare for the next. So he began to hawk a new exhibit, "See the wonderful and mysterious Egress!" he would boom to the assembled throng. "But, please! Only a few at a time."
This last would all but assure that the crowd's interest would be piqued. Then they'd arrive at the Egress and discover that the word "egress" means "exit", and enraged, the circusgoers would fall upon P.T. Barnum and rip him to shreds.
I may have misremembered that last part.
Anyway, I was kind of wishing for someone to be hawking the Egress when I decided to leave. I was still pretty high, and the route to the exit wasn't obvious [Editor's Note: It was obvious] , and I wound up walking in a big circle twice before consulting my map, which pointed out that the exit was about 25 feet behind me. Really confusing. [Editor's Note: Not confusing.]
So, what did I learn? Well, I learned that going to the zoo stoned is fun, but I already knew that. I knew it before I'd even tried marijuana, thanks to an interview I'd once read with absolutely hilarious comic-strip artist Joe Martin, who, when asked how he prepares for work each day answered, "I get stoned and go to the zoo." In my estimation (then and now), he has the best job in the universe.
I also learned that some people really, really, really like giraffes, but that's not exactly an earthshaking realization. The world is full of Weirdos & Derelicts, and a guy who wants a kiss from a giraffe is positively quaint compared to the kind of shit you know is going on in Iowa.
A three year old wandered up and informed me "dat's a burd" while pointing behind himself to a garbage can. Unfortunately, his mother scooped him up before I could get confirmation on the "burdness" of the trash receptacle, so I can't really say I learned anything there...
I guess I didn't learn much, other than on that particular day it was way better to be stoned at the zoo than it would have been had I spent it at work, where they may not be trying to molest giraffes or provoke a violent gorilla charge, but do regularly engage in behavior much, much worse. (Spell-check annnnnnd... Reply All).
Page statistics of no interest to anyone, including myself
- Favorite word to type: Hitherto
- Best sentence: "I fed those Spaghetti-O's to those lions with love and compassion!"
- Number of monkeys shown to be smoking pot: 1
- Number of monkeys I actually smoked pot with while writing this: 4
- Usage of verbs: Confirmed