Be Prepared, For This Family

| Fresno, CA, USA | Related | November 12, 2014

(For the first time in a long time, my mom’s four children are together and visiting a zoo for a family event. I’m the oldest at 26 while my two sisters are 15 and 11. We’re all walking into the African area of the zoo.)

15-Year-Old Sister: “Great idea! Who needs a king?”

Both: “No king! No king! Lalalala!”

Me: *whirling around to stare them down* “FOOLS! There will be a king!”

11-Year-Old Sister: “But—”

Me: “I will be king! Stick with me and you’ll never go hungry again!”

Both: “Yay, all right! Long live the king! Long live the king!”

(I was deemed the king for the rest of the day and no one else in the family thought this was unusual.)

As Sick As A Parrot

| New York City, NY, USA | Right | November 10, 2014

(My friend is a small-mammal handler at a zoo. Today, she’s taken a particularly docile ferret out to let visitors encounter it first-hand. A couple comes in with a young child. I’m standing in the background.)

Mother: “Ooh, look, the zoo lady’s got a baby raccoon!”

Father: “That’s some sort of weasel!”

Child: “Mom, I wanna see the octopus.”

Mother: “Let’s go see the nice lady with the raccoon.”

Father: “Weasel.”

(The mother gives the father a look and then approaches my friend.)

Mother: “‘Excuse me, miss, what kind of animal is that?”

Friend: “This is a ferret. Her name is [Name] and she’s very friendly. You can pet her if you take care to avoid—”

Father: “Parrot!? That’s a weasel!”

Friend: “It’s a ferret. They’re in the weasel family, like—”

Father: “You sure?”

Friend: “Yes, very sure. Ferrets are among—”

Father: “Let’s go see the octopus, [Child].”

(They leave in a hurry. Curious, I follow them outside.)

Father: “D*** thing must have been sick. Pretty irresponsible of them to expose us to a sick parrot.”

Child: “Ferret.”

Father: “We just saw the parrot. I thought you wanted to see the octopus.”

Child: “Daddy, is your hearing aid on?”

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Don’t Worry About It For The Rest Of Your Days

| PA, USA | Related | September 11, 2014

(My aunt and uncle don’t have kids, so they’ve been like second parents to me and my sister. I’m visiting the zoo with them today, and we’re looking at the meerkats. A Romanian family is nearby, the kids talking loudly and excitedly about the animals.)

Aunt: “Well, it looks like we know what the Romanian word for ‘meerkat’ is: ‘Timon!'”

(I stare at her for a moment, and then burst out laughing.)

Aunt: “What?”

Me: “You can tell [Sister] and I are grown up. You haven’t watched The Lion King in a while!”

Doesn’t Want To Fall Behind At The Zoo

| CA, USA | Related | August 15, 2014

(I work at a zoo and overhear this exchange as I pass by a family.)

Mom: “What kinds of animals do you think we’ll see today?”

Young Son: *excitedly* “Lions, and tigers, and bears, and everything with a butt!”

Hasn’t Read The Risks On The Web

| Greenville, SC, USA | Right | December 5, 2013

(Some friends and I volunteer for a local charity event at the zoo. We are in superhero costumes since the zoo is filled with daycare-age children that want to see their favorite superheroes. I am costumed as Spider-Man.)

Mother: “Excuse me, Spider-Man? My son is a huge fan of yours!”

(The mother points to a child covered in Spider-Man merchandise, from his hat to his shoes.)

Me: “Well, hey. Always great to meet a fan! Does he want a picture?”

Mother: “Well, actually, I was wondering if you could do me a favor.”

Me: “Well, sure. What do you need?”

Mother: “Well, my son really wants to go into the insect and arachnid enclosure, but I’m terrified of spiders. Would you be able to take him in there? He would trust you.”

Me: “Ma’am, did you just ask me, a guy you don’t know, to take your child into a dark, enclosed room? You don’t even know what I look like under this mask.”

(The mother gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look and then walked away. Surprisingly, she came back 10 minutes later and had her son get a picture with me!)

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