The Idle American finds a jungle out there.


 We should count our blessings daily that Noah herded animals onto the ark. They’ve gotten basically “good press” ever since, even as much of the world crumbles around them.

Why? Because they rejoice, thinking every day is created just for them. Even when they foul up, we chalk it up to “cutesiness,” basically laughing their miscues away.

Okay, so this is an animal lover’s opinion. But remember, we are legion.


   If we didn’t have great numbers, there wouldn’t be so many animals featured in “feel good” stories and commercials–the kind that get our minds off the brow-furrowing human events that make us groan.

To wit, in recent days, many hearts have been warmed by the birth of two baby elephants, each weighing in at more than 200 pounds, at the Fort Worth Zoo; twin baby pandas at Zoo Atlanta, and another baby panda at Washington’s National Zoo. The twins were the first born in the US in a quarter-century, and the birth weight of all three pandas totaled less than one pound. Meanwhile, at the Dallas Zoo, two cheetah cubs befriended by a Labrador pup have the world agog.

Zoos are among the few remaining “escapes” from a wobbling world that challenges and confounds.


   Think about it.  The ad agencies obviously do, amusing us with gimmickry that includes talking animals. Geico Insurance hit it big with the camel tromping around the office, asking what day it is – “hump day,” of course.

AT&T ads showcase children, scoring big with its “queen my dishes, please” knock-off of a “knock-knock” joke. Now, it has turned to talking household pets. My favorite is Bruno, a canine connoisseur of cat litter. A close second is the cat who doesn’t give the dog much credit in the “smarts” department.

How do they make the animals’ lips move on cue?


   We may “gussy up” our two rescue dogs for commercials. They enliven our home, providing barks and tail-wags to welcome us back, whether we’re gone for a few minutes or a few weeks.

Yeah, Sadie and Sailor should clear the bar for commercials, never mind they are not purebreds. It is enough that we tell them they are, and they believe us.

You’d love these lap animals of unknown heritage, and if you drop by, we’ll show ‘em to you, along with slides from a recent trip.


   Tarzan loved animals. In his movies, his chattering chimp, Cheetah, was always nearby.

I remember the story of a modern-day Tarzan, late on a Friday afternoon. Weary and eager to return to his tree house, he was barely able to swing to the next vine. It was a struggle to flop into the corner of his abode. Assuming a fetal position, he weakly asked Jane for a glass of warm milk, though it was not yet the 7 o’clock hour. Weeping, Jane asked, “Tarzan, what’s the matter? I’ve never seen you this way.”

“You just don’t understand, Jane,” he moaned. “It’s a jungle out there.”


   Likewise remembered is a Depression-era guy, down on his luck and out of a job.

A second-rate circus came to town with a “help wanted” sign. He applied, learning that the circus’ lone lion had died and would be replaced by someone wearing a lion’s suit. He got the job and climbed into the cage.

When the lock clicked, he screamed when he saw a tiger already pacing therein. “Pipe down,” the other ‘animal’ yelled. “Do you think you’re the only guy out of work?”


  Oh, my. I’ll do my best to complete this column with one-handed, “hunt and peck” typing. Sailor is fast asleep, his head flopped over my forearm. I dare not disturb him. If I join him in afternoon repose, as I often do, maybe I’ll dream of visiting the 104-year-old Fort Worth Zoo, one of the nation’s best that attracts more than a million visitors annually. Probably I’ll go on Wednesday, “Hump Day,” when admission is always half-price.

Or, when my warm milk takes full effect, maybe I’ll dream of Woody Allen’s lines. Among his best: the one claiming that even if the lion does lie down with the lamb, the lamb won’t get much sleep.


51qb2F8C0hL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-60,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Speaking inquiries/comments to: [email protected] Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: Twitter: @donnewbury.

Please click the book cover to read more on Amazon about Don Newbury’s When The Porch Light’s On.

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