GETTING MORE TALE #764: Go Wild!!
It’s a rite of passage for children and adults alike: going to see the animals at African Lion Safari in southern Ontario. The children thrill to the sights of lions, rhinos, elephants and all sorts of exotic birds. Adults panic at the monkeys climbing on their cars. Sure, you can always visit the Safari in one of their tour buses, but that’s no fun.
At the African Lion Safari, the animals run free while the humans stay safely locked in their cars. Open doors and windows are prohibited, and you absolutely must not feed the animals. I saw what happens to fools that do.
We won’t get into the ethics of animals in captivity — that is not what this story is about. Many are passionate about animal rights, and that’s a good thing. This is just a simple tale of our adventure at the Safari in the early 2000s. Incidentally it’s also the last time we went.
It started with a conversation. “When was the last time you were at African Lion Safari?” My sister Kathryn, our friend Shannon, and I decided to relive our childhoods. The key was driving through the Safari in your own car. Tour buses are for chumps. To do this, you had to be willing to accept potential damage to your vehicle. I’ve never seen anyone rammed by a rhino, but windshield wipers are regularly ripped off by excited monkeys. My sister was driving a white Neon, and she decided she was willing to accept whatever happened.
We needed tunes. Stopping at an HMV store, my sister and I both bought CDs that were indicative of the times. Although it was far from my favourite album, I re-bought Crush by Bon Jovi. For the third time in a row, they re-issued their new studio album with a bonus CD. Keep the Faith had a bonus live album, while These Days was loaded with rarities on the second CD. I was disappointed but not surprised that I would be buying their new album twice, as it was becoming the norm. Crush was the weakest of the three albums. It was the first to be co-written by Billy Falcon, and it was a sign of things to come. But I had to have that bonus live CD.
Kathryn picked up a double Savage Garden. She was very much into the Australian pop rock duo, as they reminded her of an earlier band she loved — Roxette. Like Bon Jovi, Savage Garden reissued their album with a bonus live CD. Don’t scoff. Savage Garden (or just “Savage”, as I learned their fans shortened it) could really write songs. Unlike Bon Jovi, they didn’t rely on external songsmiths. And Steve Smith of Journey played drums on their second album.
We had the tunes, we had the white Neon, and we lined up to enter.
It was a scorching hot August day; thanks to God for air conditioning. Taking the car allowed us to linger in certain habitats, and skip through ones we were less interested in. Early in, we saw one family that must have been feeding animals, because now they had a big brown bear leaning on it, staring through the closed windows. This is why you don’t open the windows or feed the animals. Fortunately there are park workers in zebra-striped trucks roaming the grounds to keep an eye on things. Injuries are rare, though recently a trainer was badly hurt by an elephant.
We were having a great time right into the monkey habitat. Unlike most drivers, we were hoping to catch a few monkey passengers. Swiftly, one attached himself to Kathryn’s side view mirror. I say “himself” because he sat on that mirror with his legs wide open, balls blowin’ in the wind. He was having a great old time, sitting on her side view with his balls dangling free. I like to think that Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” was playing at that exact moment. It looked quite relaxing and comfortable for our monkey friend. His balls hung like red Christmas ornaments.
You can tell this story is pre-cell phone cameras. Otherwise we would have video and photos to prove it.
As Monkey Nuts let it all hang out over my sister’s mirror, I noticed behind us a car full of children. They had New York license plates, and they were pointing and laughing hysterically. At first I thought they were laughing at the testicles, like I was. They were not. I figured that out when Monkey Nuts jumped ship for somewhere else to hang.
“What are they laughing at?!” I asked with frustration in my voice. They were still pointing at us!
“Don’t worry about it!” scoffed Shannon.
I was still puzzled.
We figured it out in short order.
After exiting the Safari, we all got out of the car to stretch our legs. Then, it was all clear. On the roof of my sister’s white car was a perfectly hilarious monkey poo. While Mr. Testicles was distracting us on the side view, a friend of his must have been on the roof, using it as his own personal commode. After leaving his deposit, it began to cook in the hot August sun.
As Jon Bon Jovi said himself, “Say it isn’t so. Tell me it’s not true”. Ah, but it was.
Our first stop on the ride home: a drive-through car wash. It was tragically too late. The poo residue was stuck on there, and good. She was going to have to clean this one up manually, and she was on her own with that.
Savage Garden probably said it best on “The Animal Song”.
“Cause I want to live like animals,
Careless and free like animals,
I want to live,
I want to run through the jungle.”
Let your balls hang free on the side view mirror of life.