This afternoon Sally and I introduced some overly innocent child to the brutality of wild animals. We didn’t mean to. It’s just what happens when normal people go to Berkeley.
For the record, I used to live four blocks from Berkeley in Albany, which is where people go when they want to live in Berkeley but don’t want to sign petitions on an hourly basis. So I’m allowed to talk about them.
Anyway, we went to Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, which is awesome. Mr. Embee commented that the place was full of nerd parents, explaining why we felt so at home. Sally loved it, too, especially the part where she could make an eight-foot-wide globe shake and yell “ers-quick!” to the horror of anyone who knew were were sitting about 93 feet from the Hayward fault.
In the kids lab, reserved for kids under 5, there is a five-foot tall puppet show theater. Toward the end of the day, Sally and I meandered over there while the Mr. checked out the geeky gift shop. I donned a Muppet-style Latina girl with pigtails and a blue dress. Sally went for the tiger. We put them on stage, with no audience, and began a typical girly exchange about our hair. Mid-conversation, the tiger roared and lunged. “Rahrrrr! I’m getting you!” it yelled as it held my poor little muppet by the neck. “Agh! No! I’m so young!” she responded as she gasped for breath. “I will never let you go! . . . Is it hurting?” said the tiger. “Yes,” said the girl. “[cough, cough], Can’t you be a nice tiger?” “NO! [Munches on girl] I am a mean tiger! I am a wild animal!” [More pathetic groans from girl]
At which point I look up.
Two single parents are flirting with each other while their children stare at the puppet show, mildly confused. But beside them is a girl around 6, holding her mother’s hand. Both are standing with their jaws dropped to the floor. You’d think the Playboy channel was on. As soon as she realized I had realized we were being watched, she huffed and dragged her daughter off to the ers-quick globe. I mean yes, we were enacting a gruesome attack scene, I suppose. But at least it was funny. Plus, total life lesson for the kiddos — don’t mess with tigers, dudes. I’m not one to judge other parents (you really can’t when your child has imaginary tea parties with movie villains) but I’m sorry, 6 is a little old to not understand that tigers ARE wild animals that eat meat. Really, Berkeley mom, does she think they’re vegans who only drink organic fair-trade coffee? Really?!
[Updated 1/25/10 to correct errors where the author called the tiger a lion, due to sleep deprivation and a diet consisting mostly of birthday cake that day.]