Sunday, May 31, 2009

But Sir, Don't You Know?

My father is a man of great imagination. I have to say I may have gotten some of my storytelling and hyperbole from him. The thing is with my father though, that when he says he is going to do something, no matter how fantastical, age-inappropriate, celebrity stalkerish, or just plain dangerous, he is no fooling going to do it. He is also not going to get smacked down for hubris the way ordinary mortals do, either. He is going to learn a new martial art as a senior citizen, date a Kennedy, get kicked out of Angola with an AK-47 in his face, mysteriously master Arabic in his one year of Law School, you know, that kind of stuff everyone's father does. But once in a while he meets with frustration.
Recently he decided to use the carrot method to motivate some of his students to achieve a goal. Let's just say hypothetically that he wanted them to kick the asses of all the other students at a decent sized university. Let's just say that they had not done this in a while and that if they did win, a big gold carved cup would be bestowed on them, in a ceremony that might look like something from Indiana Jones and the Golden Snitch, if that was a movie. He wanted them to win, quite badly. So he made them a solemn promise. If they could just please bring home the glory of the golden chalice he would reward them by throwing a large party, lots of beer and pizza, and also just for the fun of it, a real live Lion. I don't know about undergraduates, they are a funny bunch. They really wanted to meet the lion. So they practiced and practiced and they punched speed bags while playing "Eye of the Tiger" over and over, and they won a lot of different sport game things.
My father proudly and happily called up Barnum and Bailey, and told them he needed a lion, not for the whole day, just for the afternoon. As soon as the exact nature of his inquiry was understood the circus put the special concierge of circus animal rentals on the phone. This person had a very posh British accent, the sort that would suit a butler in a 19th century costume drama.
"But Sir, don't you know that a lion is a man-eating carnivore? Lions can be quite unpredictable. In the past there have been a number of unfortunate incidents.Do you really think this is an appropriate guest for your event?"
Did they perhaps have anything similar to a lion, maybe just a hair smaller and a hair less man-eating? Like a leopard? or a tiger? The devastating truth was revealed that these animals also can get kind of crazy at parties. There was also the issue of the cost; $10,ooo per hour, for the most elderly, docile, and threadbare of the lions. And that did not include insurance, which might not be easy to arrange.
Many would falter when met with this kind of unimaginative withholding of circus animals from the party environment. Not my father, oh no. Instead he called up another one of those numbers that we all have in our rolodex. Right after "circus rentals" we find "fursuit rentals". We don't? Nonsense. Of course we do, if we know how to throw a decent party. He rented a couple of very high quality lion costumes. He found a couple of shy but eager to dress up students, and the party was a smash.


  1. MUCH more sensible, and no doubt better breath. Lions are very bad tempered and quite terrifying close up. I am sure the costumed ones were much nicer.
    What a great party. Wish I had been there..

  2. All the while I was reading it, I thought the real lion is coming...

    What a great ending.