We’ve all heard the saying, “Learn something new everyday!” As I understand it, it’s meant to be a road to — or, at least, a method of gaining — happiness and self-satisfaction. I recently found that learning something new by accident can be a lot more satisfying and occasionally downright hilarious due to the shock factor.
My family loves all kinds of animals and nature, so much so that we joined the Wildlife Nature Conservancy. Through them, we now have memberships to The Central Park Zoo in NYC/Manhattan, The Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn, The Bronx Zoo in The Bronx, The Queens Zoo in, you guessed it, Queens, and The NY Aquarium in Coney Island. We frequent these locales whenever we have a couple of hours to kill and always come home with fun, new knowledge. But, it was our trip to Hershey Park’s ZooAmerica in Pennsylvania where we all learned a most amazing and amusing fact.
My husband, Olivia, Brian & Michael and I were leisurely strolling thorough the small zoo of native North American wild animals — a different and interesting arrangement of zoo inhabitants — one sunny Saturday in early October. As we meandered up the wooded path, flanked on either side by animal pens and habitats, I overheard some native Pennsylvanians airing their displeasure at all the rude people from New York and New Jersey. Though I don’t generally admit this in the company of New Yorkers, I do, sometimes, think it… being a New Yorker and frequently finding myself surrounded by such abruptness. Further up the hill, I spied what might have spurred the Pennsylvanians’ displeasure. A woman I deemed a typical New Yorker… complete with high-heeled sandals; a bright yellow and white, coordinated ensemble; bejeweled in large golden accessories and screeching in an unnecessarily loud voice, “HEEEERE KITTY KITTY! MEOW!
MEOW! HEEEERE KITTY KITTY! MEEOOWW!” Could ONLY be from New York, right? Well, I dare say, I was just as taken aback as the poor mountain lion who paced wildly back-and-forth along the front perimeter of his cage! As we — the mountain lion and I — surveyed the situation, I found myself passing judgement (not a good road to happiness, by the way) in my mind. I looked at my husband, about to privately poke fun at this clueless New Yorker who clearly didn’t know that the BIG cats ROAR, when that Mountain Lion thought he’d teach me my “learn something new” lesson for the day! He sat down right in front of that gaudy woman and in an abundantly louder voice than hers said, “MEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOWWWW!”
Talk about jaw dropping news! That cat said, “MEOW”! A clearer meow than my own little house cats say on a daily basis. I had NO IDEA that big cats actually say, “MEEEOOWW”. I was waiting for that big mountain lion cat to roar the golden hoops right out of that lady’s ears. But, what did I hear instead? MEOW! MEEOWWW? Holy mackerel, I almost doubled over in laughter. And, apparently, the security guard standing nearby must have been reading my mind, or at least my facial expressions, because he started laughing too. I explained MY stupidity to him and we both had a good laugh. Then, I ran to get my kids and make sure they heard the BIG CAT say, “MEEEOOWWW” so they would never find themselves as ignorant as their silly, New Yorker Mom. It’s been months since that day and every time I think about it, I laugh out loud. I LOVE fun new knowledge! Now, however, I frequently find myself wondering whether a lion roars or says, “MEOW”!
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