Last weekend, a circus rolled into town. My kids loved it. It bored me so much, I took long walks along the perimeter of the tent for time pass. Towards the end of the show, I spotted a tiger in a cage. He could talk! Immediately I asked him: "Would you like to do a blog post?" Please welcome Sheru, the circus tiger!
Hi everyone, I'm a circus tiger - my name is Sheru. I'm not sure why I have this weird name - I've never even been to India. Maybe it's because I'm a Bengal tiger and humans - you know - they are hung up on where you come from. But I confess, I have the strange ability to pick out desi people in a crowd and I have an uncanny fondness for Bollywood films. My favorite actor is Govinda - his movies are really the only ones my animal friends and I can fully comprehend.
I work at a travelling circus - you know the kind where they keep it cheap so everyone and their families show up? Then they nickel and dime you with a dozen little ridiculous side shows and $4 popcorn. Humans can be such suckers. But all the better for me because show nights are steak nights!
In any case, I was invited by the Drift to write a blog (who says a tigers can't post anyways) about the circus that rolled into the Chicago suburbs last weekend. Instead of just talking about the circus, I'd like to draw attention to a subspecies of humans that are possibly the most annoying on this green - soon to be brown - planet of ours. That would be: Parents of Toddlers Oblivious to their Surroundings, lets call them by their abbreviated form - PATOS.
So here we start our show. Our Daring Tigers act is usually about 20 minutes after the show starts. This is a good time because the smell of chicken curry is everywhere. Delicious! Why, you ask? Because this is around the time all the desis show up - late and scrambling as usual. Come on now, I'm a tiger - don't expect me to be all politically correct and everything.
Tonight I was a little testy. So Jack our trainer - short for Jackass - is cracking that silly whip of his in the air and getting a lot of oohs and aahs from the ignorant humans in the audience. Heck, WE tigers are doing all the work! I decide to be difficult. I keep sitting on my stool when I'm supposed to be lining up for my cousin Rajah (I know, tough name for a kid) to jump over me. Jack comes and tries to coax me into the act. I turn around and give him my 'you don't want me to poop in your hand again' look. He takes a step back. Uncertainty clouds his eyes. I'm almost there. I now give him the 'and you know what I ate for lunch, don't you' look. Jack retreats and leaves me alone, finishing the act with one less tiger.
While my tiger brethren put on that sorry show, their minds numb with boredom, I turn and look around the crowd - something I do quite often. The humans - their eyes are wide as saucers. They wave their snacks in the air. Popcorn goes flying around. They clap. Their bellies heave with laughter. Their babies are making all kinds of funky faces. They buy everything that comes their way. They eat all of it except the balloons. Most of them pretend they are enjoying this because they so want to entertained.
Humans can be quite a spectacle - and most of them don't even have to be trained to be so.
Then I spot one - a certified PATOS. You can tell because even on the most crowded nights - like this one - the PATOS has about two humans worth of space on each side on the bleachers. That is how annoying this subspecies is.
This PATOS I spotted was a man holding his little daughter on his lap.
"LOOKIE!" he says. "That Tigers are running around. Aren't they ferocious!"
"LOOKIE!" he says again "Aren't those clowns funny?! They are hilarious, they are dressed up!"
Sure. Go ahead and socialize that poor child about what's scary and what's funny why don't you?
Me, I never did that - not even to my own son Veeru, although I'm not sure he was my son. I gave him his only bit of advice when he was six months old.
"Son" I told him "Live free and die well". I heard that once in a movie I saw.
The next day Jackass asked Veeru to do that trick where he has to weave under the belly of two tigers. What a travesty for a tiger - to go below another tigers legs! Tigers only do that when they're horny. At first, Veeru played along.
But then on show night when he was called on to do the trick, he instead humped Jackass right in front of everyone. Point well made, son! For the first time the circus became fun and what did the humans do? They gasped, covered their children's eyes and ran for the exit! Has this species no sense of FUN?! They only came back relieved when the clowns were clobbering themselves on the head silly with a bunch of plumbing tools.
"Lookie!" goes the PATOS again "the trainer is using a whip to make the tigers do tricks!!" God, this moron is annoying and I'm 50 m away from him. Soon he waves at a vendor and buys cotton candy for his toddler. Go ahead, pump that kid with sugar the weight of her entire head.
My act is over. I stay in my cage to watch the others. Each time I hear the parental unit screaming halfway across the tent when the juggler throws pins in the air.
"He's throwing pins in the air at the same time and catching them! Oh my, isn't that something!"
The dogs come on.
"Aren't those dogs cute! They are walking on two legs. They don't normally do that!"
The elephants lurch in.
"They are so big! Oooh! Let's clap shall we?"
For a second I feel like unlatching my cage (yes, I learned to do that when I was a baby), walking over to that parent and slapping him silly. But that would probably get me put down or something. No more steaks. No more Govinda. Not good. So instead I twitch my tail and yawn.
"LOOK!" screams the PATOS. "The tiger. He's sleepy. It's his bedtime. Just like you have a bedtime pootie wootie!"
Everyone around him flinches. I feel sorry for them. People can be so uncivilized.