4.25.2008

Don't poison the primates!

We had a fun trip to the zoo the other day, with a family from church.

It took some careful arrangement, but we were able to fit everyone AND the quad stroller into the doopah-mobile. I felt quite bad for my poor friend who was stuck sitting in the 2/3 of a seat that was left over next to the carseats, but I was very glad indeed that we carpooled. For one thing, I learned how to navigate the HOV lane, and avoid rush hour traffic--it's more complicated than you'd expect. You know how in California they have carpool lanes? Well, in Texas, they say HOV (short for high-occupancy vehicle) and there's only one per highway, and it changes directions with traffic flow. So in the morning it goes south, and in the afternoon it goes north. But don't worry, it's closed during mid-day, so I presume everybody's had time to clear out before the cars start going the other way. I hope. Anyway, it can save an awful lot of time, but it's also something of a gamble, because if anybody breaks down, the whole line of cars is stuck--I would have assumed that in such an urban setting, one would be immune to the hazards of one-lane roads, but apparently not. However, nobody broke down in front of us this time, and we happily zipped past the bumper to bumper traffic.

Once we got to the zoo, however, we had to circle for nearly an hour before finding a parking spot--another reason I was glad we were carpooling. Such ordeals are much more bearable with good conversation--and who knows how long it would have taken to find TWO parking spots.

But the zoo itself was a good deal of fun, particularly the reptiles and primates. The giant pythons were truly spectacular, and the baby chimpanzee was heart-meltingly adorable.

And somewhere in the primate section (I think it was in front of the howler monkeys, but I'm not quite sure) I found some food for thought.

There was a big educational display describing the dietary habits of some species or other--again, I think it was howler monkeys, but it doesn't really matter, because it was mostly about what it means to be an omnivore. So the monkey (or whatever it was) has his preferred foods, but if they aren't available he'll eat just about anything. There was a display of the foods they eat in the wild--they can't digest the cellulose of mature leaves, but they love tender young greens, as well as sundry fruits--and next to it, a display of their zoo diet. At the zoo, they feed them corn, and carrots, and lettuce, and fruit, and eggs... a nice assortment in fact, of optimal human foods. But then there was a third display, full of danger foods--soda pop, corn dogs, candy bars, etc. All things that this omnivorous creatures would greatly enjoy, but would make them sick. And all sold at the zoos numerous concession stands, for human consumption.

The irony was striking, and I remarked that perhaps the advice was generally applicable to ALL primates.

My friend was a bit shocked that I would refer to humans as primates, but really, I wouldn't dream of suggesting that there is not a very great distinction between man and the rest of God's creation.

I merely suspect that perhaps the image of God deserves at least as much respect as the howler monkey.

Or whatever omnivorous primate it was.

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