My Week 47: Wild Animals, Ken Loses a Book, Growth Mindset

Monday: Wild animals are cute but not in that good way

Lately, the proliferation of adorable animal videos saturating Facebook, Twitter, and the internet has reached epic proportions. It used to be sweet little kittens and puppies, but now it’s every animal you can think of, being filmed doing something that makes people go “Awwww”. And I have a real worry about this—I worry that we are raising a generation of children who will ultimately end up getting mauled by something because they don’t understand that wild animals aren’t “adorable”, they are f*cking dangerous. The escalation of anthropomorphizing animals (isn’t that a fancy term? It means pretending that animals act just like humans, like all intellectual and emotional and sh*t) seemed to begin with the shooting of Cecil, the “beloved” lion from Zimbabwe who was killed by an American dentist. Now, I am in no way condoning ANY dentist shooting stuff just for fun, or doctors, or lawyers, or anyone else who has to replace his penis with an animal head on his wall (newsflash, fellas—it’s cheaper to just stuff a sock down your pants. Or buy a Hummer), but the rhetoric about Cecil himself was interesting. He was famous, a star attraction, a favourite among tourists, and a celebrity in the lion world. And that was all true—until you messed with his lady, or tried to pet his cubs. Then he would probably have killed you, or at least maimed you. Because that’s what lions do, being wild animals and all. And it’s not Cecil’s fault—it just is what it is. But ever since then, I’ve been seeing videos about other wild animals acting all cuddly and human, like the grizzly bear that decided to take a swim in someone’s swimming pool, then relax in their hot tub. “So adorable,” people commented. “Look at him just LOUNGING there!” and “That bear was having a blast!”. But if you google “bear in hot tub”, you also get a link to a news story from a couple of days ago where a bear attacked a man in HIS hot tub. The bear was probably like, “Look at him just LOUNGING there! So adorable!! Adorable enough to EAT!!” And this is the ultimate problem–wild animals LOOK sweet and loving if they’re edited properly and set to charming music, but they are actually pretty mean. Case in point: the raccoon who decided to start a family in our attic. It was all hunky dory, with her looking so peaceful while she fed her babies, until we had to relocate her because she was pooping all over the attic floor, which was not very lady-like. Then she turned into a hissing, schizoid banshee and almost took Ken’s hand off through the live trap, even though we TOLD her that her babies were safe in a box downstairs. Damn raccoons never listen to a word you say.

Yesterday, the national news ran a story about polar bears “frolicking” in fireweed up North. FROLICKING. And gosh, they looked adorable as they cavorted in the pretty flowers. Feel free to approach one and try to pet it. See what happens. It will eat your legs. The fact is that wild animals are dangerous, kids. Never forget that, no matter what they look like. Bears, lions, tigers, sharks, raccoons, skunks, badgers, squirrels, hyenas—they will ALL tear a chunk out of you if you try to talk to them like they’re kitties and puppies. Do you know why? Because they DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH. So instead of putting them in diapers, respect their ferocity. Don’t cut off their heads to use as wall ornaments. And please stop making your dog jog with you. Dogs f*cking HATE jogging. Titus told me so.

Wednesday: Ken loses one of his books

I was upstairs the other day, and Ken was in his office. He called me in, and asked, “Have you seen my little book?”
Me: What book?
Ken: The book that I keep the list of jobs you want me to do in.
Me: You keep a list of the jobs I want you to do!? What does the book look like!?
Ken: Like this one.
Me: That’s a tiny notepad, not a book. But if it looks like that one, and that one isn’t the one you’re looking for, then what IS that one?
Ken: This is a list of websites that I really like.
Me: A list of–ok…well what’s that one then?
Ken: That one is a list of objects that I want to make using different mediums. See, it’s alphabetized. “A” for antique, “B” for barnboard, “C” for cardboard, “D” for door–
Me: I see. But you can’t find the book that has the list of jobs that I want you to do in it?
Ken: No. Did you take it?
Me: Why the hell would I take a book that lists jobs you’re going to do for ME? The fact that you have such a book means that ONE DAY, you might eventually get around to them. Is the kitchen island you promised to make me last May in that book?
Ken: Oh yeah, the kitchen island…
Me: Here’s a thought—instead of making lists about the things you need to do, why don’t you tidy up your desk so you can find your little books?
Ken: Tidying up my desk is in THIS book. It’s called “Chores I Need To Do”…
Me: Sigh.

Friday: Math. I give up.

On Friday, Ken and I were having a discussion about the newest educational fad: Growth Mindset. This is another fancy term, based on “brain research”, that people can learn to do things if they BELIEVE they can do them. So you can see why it’s so fancy and all—pretty complex stuff. And you can also see why Boards of Education are spending money like crazy to teach people how to implement it in the classroom. I’m sure there’s nothing more motivating to a struggling student than telling them “If you can see it, you can be it!” (Growth Mindset sounds suspiciously like the lyrics to an R. Kelly song. He believed he could fly, although I don’t think it worked out for him, kind of like math for me). I wish my high school math teacher had quoted Boyz to Men to me—for sure, I’d be a quantum physicist now, instead of a smartass who can’t figure out what half of ¾ of a cup of flour is (I just eyeball it). Anyway, I was like, “So after years of NOT being able to do complicated math, if I only BELIEVE hard enough that I can do it, I’ll be able to learn it?” Ken assured me that it was true. But that night I had a nightmare where I was trying to do math, and f*cking it up royally. Then suddenly, the numbers all turned into little roasting chickens in their own casserole dishes, and instead of doing math, I was basting them with a red wine sauce that I had made, and worrying that they were going to dry out in the oven. Even my subconscious knows where my strengths are.


3 thoughts on “My Week 47: Wild Animals, Ken Loses a Book, Growth Mindset

  1. Yes, I don’t think much of anybody who would want to decorate his or her room with animal heads, but take your point. We call them wild animals because they’re, um, wild. They’re fine to look at from a distance with proper supervision, but probably not so good to hug or try to share a beer with.


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