The zoo is a wonderful place for children to lose their respect for animals. Whether kept in cages or condescended to by being allowed to range a 1:1,000 scale model of their natural habitat, the myriad diversity of wildlife this world has to offer is made to look the fool for your slack-jawed amusement.1 Even worse– it’s super boring. So nobody wins.2
One of the many institutions made obsolete by the internet, television, and ‘anything else to do,’ the idea of the zoo is based on an outdated and now, at best, quaint false premise that seeing an animal is inherently exciting or interesting. This animal is not guaranteed to do anything of interest, nor is the access to the animal such that actual learning or study could potentially occur. For one, they are kept at a distance. And, furthermore, you are probably stupid.
And even if we did have better access, and were smart and knowledgeable enough to be able to do anything with it, what could we reasonably expect to see? Even the shittiest Childrens’ Theatres’ worst performance of the least play in all of Christendom3 would require some simian-typewriter-style infinitely improbable miracle for animals to be able to match. And this for an audience who can press a button and see an actual human intervention happen! The nerve of zoologists and the cities that fund their Crass Menageries!/.
[SIDEBAR: On The Slump and Other Exciting New Punctuation Coming To A Keyboard Shortcut Near You (Namely, Beneath Your Fingers)
Useful for when you get yourself all worked up and then immediately realize you couldn’t give a damn,4 the Slump (“!/.”) has been specially crafted by our nation’s leading Grammar Laboratories to convey, for the first time in plain typeface, the roller-coaster ride5 of shame and disappointment that one should feel in this unique moment of rhetorical impotence. But that’s not all the R&D boys down at Pretend Grammatical Laboratory Name have been up to! Check out this list of fake punctuation I just made up:
Used to signal a rise in excitement mid-or-part way through a multi-clause sentence, the sexclamation coint is written by dotting an exclamation point with a semi-colon. A less common usage is to separate items in a really exciting list containing internal punctuation.
Advantages: no longer do you have to choose between being pretentious and being the opposite of that, looks cool.
Designed for those people ambitious enough to want to impress with their writing– and bright enough to intuit that a comma will not suffice– but too stupid to remember which colon is which, the 3/2 Colon consists of a two dots (a colon) capping a comma (the semi-colon part). A pragmatic and progressive solution for our failing public schools[:,] the Prolapse6 will safeguard the future writers of America from having to make, acknowledge, and learn from mistakes.
Advantages: ease of use, condensing of purpose, gets us one step closer to idealistic grammatical utopia set forth in 1984.
A really big ampersand:
Of indispensable worth when you need to convey the collective traits of a lineage, the Grandpersand ties large quantities of words together both in time and space. The larger the ampersand the further back we reach; the closer names are to each other the more closely they are related. Most commonly used to condense biblical bloodlines, in blogging about a family reunion, or showing that George Bush was responsible for 9/11.7
Advantages: attracts the eye, breaks up the paragraph-to-paragraph monotony of reading, and seeing it on an upcoming page gives the reader something to look forward to.
Question mark/bass clef:
Signifying that the following question should be read as ‘bellowed,’ the West Wing is a question mark in which a colon flanks the bulb turning it into a bass clef.
Advantages: will result in of more bellowing, likely side benefit of more roles for Jameses ‘Earl Jones’ and ‘Avery’.
Replete with stupid soulpatch and bluesy demeanor, the Jazzbo is placed at the beginning and end of a multi-page paragraph to demarcate the duration of an heroin-fueled improvisation/self-indulgent gibberish.
Advantages: is adorable, tells the reader that it is both fine to skip ahead and exactly how far to do so, is really fucking cute.
An f inscribed inside a u:8
With the F-Bomb our great nation will be fully prepared for the exponentially more ribald future in which cusses will be used literally as punctuation. By simply pressing Shift+f9 (1 character + Shift = 2 keys) we will supplant typing ‘fuck you’ (7 characters + space = 8 keys), making telling people to go fuck themselves 400% more efficient, I think. Let me just, finger motions in the air, counting the fingers on the other hand while mouthing the numbers and looking up and to the left signifying thought… yep!
Other swears that there will be: ‘at sign with an asterix inside it’ = Asshole; ‘parentheses closed around an asterix’ = Cunt; ‘an ascii butt spraying at signs interspersed with pound signs’ = FARRRRRRRRT.
Advantages: efficiency– maximizes cusses; awesomeness– finally written cusses can be aesthetically pleasing in a way similar to their superior spoken friends; Twitter-friendly– 1/140, instead of x (where x is larger than one).10
Despite its glaring inadequacies, the zoo holds a peculiar, and potentially useful, place in the relationship building hierarchy. While in no way romantic or engaging11 enough a playscape in which to create a relationship,12 it possesses a preternatural tedium and anesthetizing vague pleasantness– one soul-dampening enough to inoculate even the most combative13 vacationing family against destruction…14
WARNING!!: This premise holds for nice weather only; if it is exceedingly hot, or if it rains, the zoo can become one of the most destructive venues imaginable, as our ability to barely mask our contempt for the animals– both in and outside of the cages– will completely break down (it is water-soluble and quick to melt) and all of that hostility will be re-directed right back into the (stupid) faces of those we can’t stand (i.e. our family, date, anyone whose ubiquity in our lives– whether extant or impending– reminds us of our failures and inability to have done better):!!GNINRAW
1Humans: 1, Other Animals: -1
2Humans: 0, Other Animals: -1; and in order to win you must have at least one point.
3You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown
4Or, more commonly, when you would like to sardonically affect such deflating blowhardism for the purposes of satire, mockery, or more general expressions of boundless contempt and disdain.
5Actually, as it is one stiff drop, the more appropriate theme park equivalent would be ‘a log flume.’
6Or Rectal Shrug [3/2 vulgar]
7And not the George Bush you think!
8Like an ‘at’ sign.
9The future will be much like the past in regards to the use of capital letters.
10Does not apply to ascii butt.
11That is, it presents a dearth of opportunities to BAT, and those opportunities it does present are largely low-effort, low-reward, high-familiarity OR there are superior equivalents at The Aquarium (see pg XXX of this chapter for more on the aquairum).
12Unlike– according to popular myth– The Top of the Empire State Building, Your High School/College Reunion, On a Cruise Endorsed by a Celebrity of No Discernable Talent, Glory Holes, or While Eating Noodles Off A Trash Can In An Alley.
13Apparently ‘combatative’ is not a real word– who knew!
14It provides neither the lines of an amusement park in which to snipe apart the bonds of matrimony, nor the contentless void of the planetarium in which to absent-mindedly stumble upon the perfect way to hide your assets and best minimize the financial strain of alimony.