The Eighth Page

The Cleveland Zoo

When you think feces, cages, and lots and lots of monkeys all over the place, you’d probably think of what hotel maids usually encounter after Aerosmith checks out. But I’m talking about something different, something much more grand, and probably something involving a lot more feces: the zoo. Now my readers, let me take you back to a simpler time, a time we all remember: the year 1997. What immediately flashes into my mind when considering this year, is the memory of being super-psyched for the year 2000. And also, a very vivid tale of a day at the zoo (After all, that is this week’s theme: Zoos) If you’re not familiar with Cleveland’s Zoo, I’ll simply tell you that it’s one of our nation’s finest venues for animal viewing. The only reason people don’t immediately think of Cleveland when they think ‘great zoos’ is because it’s really been overshadowed by the San Diego Zoo. For good reason too, if you may recall, they came extremely close to having a Tyrannosaurus Rex in their zoo, but the cargo ship carrying the dinosaurs crashed into the docks, and the mother went nuts looking for her baby. Long story short, the Ingen Company got screwed and John Hammond’s reputation was tarnished forever. So I was seven years old, dressed in my usual sweatpants and turtleneck combo (And, of course the sweatpants were dark blue, the turtleneck bright red) and I was headed to the zoo with my mom and a friend. As we neared the zoo, I got more and more excited. “Did you know that they have a McDonald’s there now?!?” I yelled from the backseat. It was going to be a great day. We arrived at its magnificent gates, and we were then instructed by an employee to, “Go ahead and park in the Mongoose Lot.” Boy, did I feel bad for that guy [Editor’s Note: I don’t need your sympathy, Jadler]. Once we’d parked, I hopped out of the car (That was of course, after my mom turned off the child safety locks on the sliding doors of our minivan) and tugged my mom towards the zoo entrance. Tugging around our old, beaten, red wagon filled with sandwiches, we checked out some of the animals. I acted like an expert, screaming out interesting facts at each viewing window.” After about four hours of that, we headed for our car. We had to pick up our wagon in this little ‘wagon parking lot’ where everybody left their wagons. But, it was gone. Some person, and a decent one too, because it’s not likely that criminals sneak around zoos very often, had stolen our beloved wagon. My mom shrugged the incident off, but I was outraged. My theory, that the monkeys had taken it, was shot down. “Wait til’ you come back here and those monkeys are riding that wagon to McDonalds!” I yelled. But it was no use, and we left the zoo without the wagon. Thus ended a glorious visit to the zoo. It hasn’t been the same since then, mostly because I’ve realized how filthy zoos are, and because people don’t find poop jokes as funny when you’re older. My mom still enjoys going though, now with my little sister–they actually witnessed to hippos fornicating last time they went.