Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Just to prove I ain't Dr. Doolittle...

First of all, the headline:

Rwanda's lone rhino to get company

To quote the article, here's what's happening:

As part of broader efforts to lure wealthy eco-tourists to the country still known for its 1994 genocide, officials said they were negotiating with Kenya and South Africa for the new rhinos and hoped the first would arrive soon.

"We are negotiating a deal to bring in 15 black rhinos from Kenya and South Africa as soon as possible," Fidel Ruzigandekwe, wildlife director at Rwanda's National Tourism Office, told AFP.

This is a good thing.

I guess my problem is this: I never really envisioned "lone" and "rhino" to be used in the same phrase, but I guess it's possible. However, it would look really dumb on the back of a leather motorcycle jacket.

However, I don't know a lot about rhinos other than their horn is actually made of hair, their looks (not pretty except to other rhinos) and the fact that they (supposedly) have crappy eyesight. (BTW, if I am wrong about the eyesight thing, please let me know in the comments because I do not claim to be a zoologist.)

If I may anthropomorphize for a moment, here's my human comparison to my idea of rhino temperament.

Have any of you ever gone to McDonalds on a Saturday morning for breakfast?

Well, I've noticed that when you go to McD's (or any other fast food place) in the morning, there's always a crowd of retired old men that hang out drinking coffee and just gabbing away about god knows, sports, "damned kids" and how "in my day, kids didn't do these things...why the hell can't things be the way they used to be..." When I worked in fast food, we called these fellers "coffee bums". They spend less than a dollar for coffee and gab in there for HOURS because they have nothing better to do.

Some of the "coffee bums" can be quite pleasant, and after a while, you recognize them by face well enough to say hi, how ya doin', etc. But there are some cranky folks who just don't have a good thing to say about ANYTHING.

For example...if you say "Good morning", they'd be the ones to say, "What's good about it?" Their mouth is genetically turned down, and they're the ones to be negative first.

The cranky folks are who I compare to rhinos. I know I'm basing it totally on looks and a limited amount of knowledge, but so be it.

Anyway, since there's a lone rhino and new rhinos are coming to visit, here is MY version of how things would proceed...

*fade to Rwanda, with rhinos gathered around the ol' watering hole*

Envision rhinos wearing "Hello, my name is..." stickers on their...well...their horns? That's as good a place as any, I guess. The original "lone rhino" is lookin' cranky because of these damned carpetbagger rhinos coming in from South Africa and Kenya.

"Damned interlopers," he growls to himself. "Why, I remember way back when we didn't NEED imported rhinoceri...we had enough around before all those dumb-ass humans started shootin' us. We were grumpy amongst ourselves and we LIKED it that way. It's just un-necessary. Why don't the government do something USEFUL like gettin' me some spanish peanuts and cigarettes?"

Meanwhile, the "imported rhinos" (who also have the "Hello, my name is..." stickers) are also grumbling, only they're grumbling at each other, reinforcing the general grumpiness.

"Damn it all to hell, Zeke...tell me again why we signed up for this?"

"Well, Ruby, you old fart...our government said it was either this or the old rhinos home. YOU'RE the one who said you wanted a vacation."

"Well, back in MY day, we made do with what we had...none of this 'imported Rhino Social Club' business. We shut other animals out of our crew and we liked it. I'm still car-sick from the ride. When are they gonna put new shocks on those damned trucks? Jesus..."

"Jesus, Ruby...did you have another hot flash? You're crankier than usual."

"Oh, shut up, Zeke...and by the way, I never DID like your mother..."

"Well, she never liked you either, you old bag..."

"Zeke, you're lucky I have lousy eyesight or I'd hit you with my purse. Not that it's ever stopped me before..."

So you see, through the power of imagination and a warped sense of humor, I have created a unique picture of animal psychology and sociology. I'm glad my college degree finally came in handy.

Your friend in the African veldt,