Monday, August 17, 2015

Animal Kingdom

Her name is Ever Jane Zern. She is number twelve of our twelve grandchildren. She is freshly hatched and a girl. Her parents will dress her in pink and glue bows to her head. This will cause her to grow breasts and enjoy glitter. That’s the theory.

No. Seriously. I’ve paid good, good money to hear highly educated teacher-types tell me that gender is the arbitrary result of the Target’s toy aisle labeling system. 

Sure. Sure. Then I remember that I live on a farm, and that I’ve been chased by roosters with three-inch, razor sharp spurs—not hens, which are girl chickens—but roosters, which are boy chickens with spikes on their legs, called spurs. 

Nobody glues anything to those chicken’s heads. Trust me. And they’ve never been to Target—not even once. 

Animals. They’re animals. And aren’t we animals too. Right? I know because other wildly educated teacher-types have taught me that human beings are animals just like Bonobo monkeys. NOTE: They always pick Bonobo monkeys because Bonobos are notorious for greeting each other by getting freaky and by having sex with strange monkeys they’ve just met. It’s their way of saying, “Howdy.” And aren’t human-being-animals just like that? Or should be?

Sure. Sure. We’re animals like those sex fiend monkeys. Except when we’re not and then we’re super complicated animals—so says one young college educated man on Facebook. 

We’re exactly like Bonobo sex fiend monkeys except when that theory isn’t convenient . . . like when that Facebook guy finally gets a girlfriend, and he doesn’t want her saying, “Howdy,” like a monkey.

Bunk. It’s all bunk.

On the weekend, our grandchildren descend upon our home like a pile of monkeys. There are boys in the pile and there are girls in the pile. Games are played. Fights break out. Holes are dug. People are buried up to their necks and abandoned. 

No . . . no . . . no . . . that’s not true. I digress. Besides, it only happened once.

My husband plays the part of The Poppy on the weekends. As The Poppy he is often cast in the role of monster in the Monster game. The Monster game is simple. He pretends to be a kid-eating monster as he chases a gaggle of shrieking children around the yard.

The children are getting older and faster.

The monster is just getting older.

Recently, the monster game ended badly—for the monster—when he tripped and flew fifteen feet across the yard, rolling and bouncing and bruising as he flew. He wound up flat on his back, surrounded by a tribe of juvenile monster evaders.

The boys in the crowd stared down, accessing the situation. One poked the monster with a stick. Another said, “When he recovers he’s not going to catch me.”

Still another boy said, “Is he dead?” He did not sound overly worried.

“A little respect, gentlemen,” I said. “A little respect. A mighty foe has fallen.” 

The girls in the mob reacted very differently.

“Awwww, she hurt herself,” said a two-year old girl. 

Another of the little girls got busy brushing leaves and sticks off the downed monster and helping him retrieve his glasses while the boys watched, occasionally poking at the wounded creature with a stick.

The whole incident re-enforced for me the notion that girls are not boys, and that if we let them, boys will act like monkeys with sticks, but that doesn’t make them monkeys; it makes them barbarians.

Monster update: He’s on painkillers until his ribs heal.

Linda (Howdy Do) Zern
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