Perhaps because I live alone I find it harder to find someone to blame. Except the weather.
But there’s nothing I can do about the weather. Just as there is nothing I can do about all those folks from Florida to Oregon blaming the parents, the zoo, the sun, moon stars and, of course, a 3-year-old-boy for the death of Harambe.
The problem is the only voice that really matters in all this, the only voice that couldn’t be heard, and no longer can be heard, is that of the Silverback gorilla himself. And I know what I would say if I was Harambe:
‘Free at last. For Death is the delightful hiding place for us beasts of burden.’
As we all know by now, Harambe was a majestic 420-pound primate incarcerated — without a trial or even being charged and no chance of parole — since early childhood. He was living out his inglorious days with some 10 other Western Lowland gorillas in captured display at the Cincinnati Zoo.
For you folks reading this in Kiev or Morocco I ought to inform you that Cincinnati is a tough and tattered old city in our erstwhile industrial state of Ohio. And there, much like the rest of America, people grow old too soon and wise too late.
Then again you probably already knew where the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals play. But most Americans don’t even know where Casablanca is. I think that’s why we are always marching off to war – in order to teach us geography.
Anyway, this inquisitive 3-year-old boy slipped momentarily away from his mother and curiously climbed thru the protective barrier before falling into the water of the gorilla habitat.
Of course you’ve already heard – or can accurately predict what happened next.
After all, the USA is a country where people are killing each other all the time for merely a ‘perceived’ word or look of disrespect. Even the cops have earned a nefarious reputation in recent years for suspiciously causing deaths of people who, among other things, didn’t use their turn signal when changing traffic lanes. Or for selling ‘loose’ cigarettes.
And facing a whopping public relations nightmare zoo officials were quick to point out how ferocious this once docile Silverback gorilla could be. “I’ve seen them crush a coconut in one hand,” admonished one, with some grimacing theatrics.
What they were slow to point out – and the news finally did – was that in perhaps the only other similar incident at another zoo 20 years ago, a gorilla ended up ‘protecting’ the adventurous child until she was rescued.
Hmm… And of course there is also the story of Tarzan being raised by the apes.
What comes to mind at this point is something once uttered by Dian Fossey. She was the celebrated zoologist best known for researching the endangered gorillas of the Rwandan mountain forest for 20 years until she was mysteriously killed there by man.
“The more you learn about the dignity of the gorilla,” she said, “the more you want to avoid people.”
And, no doubt, she wasn’t only referring to the many ‘civilized’ people who were (and still may be) buying gorilla meat… in London and elsewhere.
Look, I have absolutely nothing against guns or shooting – especially the Jehovah Witnesses always knocking down my door. But what turns me into a psychopathic misanthrope are the bloody morons, the people who can’t wait to shoot something while proclaiming ‘they had no other choice.’
Even folks with no teeth always have something to pick. We always have choices. And choices are often made in the eternity of the moment. They aren’t always easy. In fact, they are frequently like wrestling a gorilla: You don’t quit when you’re tired. You quit when he’s tired.
Choices are the constant battle of our free will. They require us to stir our little gray cells, and actually think beyond our so-called ‘beliefs’ – which are, indeed, the death of intelligence. And hard or easy, the fact is choices all have consequences. Just ask Hillary Clinton.
But to tell you the truth, or at least make Harambe anthropomorphic for the moment, if I was this magnificent beast my final words would have probably been to thank the zoo man who shot him:
‘Free at last. Drop my banana, goin’ back to the savanna.’
Finally, he got paroled from his cruel, unpardonable life sentence.
Oh, I am sure many, if not most of you, figure Harambe didn’t have it so bad. Three squares and a warm place to shit. They were even going to import a female or two for him to mate.
Of course this is a judgment coming from you folks who get cabin fever after a week or two of snow drifts. And where nearly 55 percent of us get divorced from mates of our own choosing — and usually when we were sober.
Others of you may conclude that Harambe didn’t know anything different since he was in the zoo system most of his young and adult life.
Hmmm…. Yeah… That’s why the Iron Curtain finally lifted after three or four generations under communism. And why the Arab Spring over fomented after a fed-up fruit vendor’s self immolation.
It’s in our blood, stupid! Our DNA! The call of the wild! We all yearn to roam free. To breathe the air of liberty… which includes the right to make our own stupid damn mistakes.
So, in speaking for Harambe, I offer his plaintive gratitude – posthumously of course. He got out of jail. The pardon wasn’t in the mail. There was no bail. There was just a kid falling over the rail.
Hmm… Drop my linen and start my grinning…
I don’t know — nobody does – if he would have harmed that little boy who did what a lot of little boys do – mostly stupid stuff.
But if the religious folks are right, then everything happens for a purpose. The little tyke served his purpose. And then the men with the guns served their purpose…
Only for Harambe — much like the caged tigers pacing and roaring their ennui — there was a life that never got to serve its purpose. Only in its death. And perhaps, at that, he was thinking that he’s rather die a meaningful death than live a meaningless life.
Once again, as Dr. Fossey put it: “I feel more comfortable with gorillas than people. I can anticipate what a gorilla’s going to do, and they’re purely motivated.”
Thank goodness the dead don’t suffer. And now, no longer does Harambe. Just never forget that the life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.
And that’s us.
For death may be the cure for all diseases. But not for all injustices. The dead cannot cry for justice; it is the duty of the living to do so for them.
And in case you’ve already forgotten: that’s us.
And dats yDrewIS on dis penal colony…