Appreciating the State of Arizona is easy. Arizona has a rich history, pristine views of a particular canyon I’ve not properly visited or even researched, many golf courses, outlaws depicted in movies, pickle ball glory, and my favorite, minor league baseball. Arizona also has zoos. In fact, some of the best zoos just west of New Mexico.
Much like my Irish history, I hadn’t given much thought to zoos as being a part of my culture. Those silly DNA ancestry results about me and my fellow shillelagh swinging Micks always resulted in nothing but potatoes and drinking, even tossed in with a few bouts of gambling. Yes. I get it, and I’m not particularly proud of my cultural stereotypes. That’s when I thought of going to a zoo in Arizona, which couldn’t be further from my heritage, or so I thought. Allow me speak and embrace a bipedal departure from my tarnished history.
After being licked by camels, giraffes and toucans, my wife and I headed to the primate section of the park. As God and my wife’s witness, she thought I encountered one of my relatives.
Yes, it was a monkey. At first, I thought it was merely a cute, long armed species wanting everyone’s attention. My wife then pointed out, “hey, I think he likes you.” As a sensitive hetero-primate myself, I’ve never been approached or attacked by a lower chain of species, so I felt safe, as I was at least four feet taller than him. So, I wandered around his confinement to see some of the many others also in this chain linked environment. They paid me no attention. The one taking a shine to me kept following me as if he recognized me. My wife’s amusement was clear, and so was my curiosity along with his. While the monkey, wearing no goofy shriner’s hat, nor carrying a pail for tithing, it was evident he was dancing, prancing, and even did an uncomfortable magic trick for me pulling a banana out of his “fur”.
I could have moved on to the elephant exhibit, but my wife convinced me to stay and entertain the monkey, or her in the process. It was an experimental way of convincing me and everyone else at the zoo that it was as if I was more of a primate than a human.
The monkey was far more talented than I could ever be, but I did look around me and found each human in the zoo almost as interesting as the monkeys. The humans were walking around with something called corn dogs. Even the thought of eating what may be considered a “corn dog” seemed quite medieval. They also carried change in their pockets for something called a wishing well. Get Real. As I realized how interesting this “human exhibit” was to me, it became more clear the monkey and I had a good deal in common. At this point I purchased the monkey a six dollar beer, which I didn’t pull out of my somewhat hairy chest, and offered it to him. He then drank the beer, ate the cup, and we parted as similar, yet different bipeds. Our only difference was clear – I don’t eat plastic.
After further analysis, I get it. A DNA kit determined that I was 30 percent Irish, and 70 percent monkey. It was displayed properly within the ancestral family tree. All of my ancestors were not just beating down trees filled with Apples (to make Apple jack), they were also swinging from those trees.