My Crass Menagerie

February 23rd, 2012

I had a dream many years ago that I would become a woman with a tribe of children, each individually wild, toting a spear, climbing a tree, or catching a blazing firefly. This dream was inspired by Josephine Baker’s rainbow tribe of children — a concept that “Brangelina” fully hijacked.

But reality supplied me with but one child (who can fish with dental floss and a safety pin, if left unprepared). Reality also supplied me with what I like to call my “crass menagerie,” a house full of tactless, yet fully adored animals, beginning with Omar the dog, who is the eldest, smartest, and most antisocial of the clan. Next is Puma, the cat whose tail was missing from day one (I made a “Pin the Tail on the Puma” poster every year on my son’s b-day). And then there’s Trout, the Aussie mix with a smile like Jack Nicholson’s and a penchant for eating large checks. And how did we end up with a ferret, left adrift at my home like Moses on the riverbank by some ne’er-do-well party guest? My son immediately named him Mizter Muffins, and now he has his own page and friends on Facebook.

I was secure in thinking it unlikely that I would acquire any new pets until last week, when Albert, our local homeless man, stopped by toting a turtle in a Nieman Marcus bag. I think you know the outcome to this paragraph: his name is Bertie.

Perhaps it was my childhood fascination with the movie Born Free. I had fantasies of driving a jeep in the deep of Africa, wrestling with lion cubs, and wearing a tailored safari outfit. (Actually, I still do have those fantasies.)

So yes, I ended up with a tribe. So shoot me — with a tranquilizer gun!

You must always be careful what you wish for, because it almost always comes true. Hone down your dreams. Chisel them. Give them detail… or you may end up with an elephant in your living room.



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Our Friends Say
  1. amp says:

    Nice post, Meike. I wondered where my rainbow tribe fantasies had been derived – mine included foster kids ansd horses. I never had the resources of Brangelina, so settled for 2 kids of my own and various cats, fish, an adopted bird that flew in the our French doors, a turtle, a Russian tortoise (named Gorky) , lots of fish and of course a hamster who ate through his plastic “tank” and escaped into my visiting mother-in-law’s bedroom .

    Now, with both children are off to college, we’re down to one large, lovely dog. If she wn’t so sweet, I’d consider enrolling her in grad school and taking a semester abroad myself.

  2. McKenna Rowe says:

    Born Free was just on again recently. I cry a river every time I watch it. It’s one of my favorite books of all time.

  3. Meike says:

    I’d love to see Born Free again. I’ll probably need some xanax before viewing as I cried even more than I did when I watched “Ordinary People”.


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