I don't want to go into too much detail, but basically, this incident that happened to me on Sunday involved the following components:
|Hint: It did not involve Halloween donuts|
a) a random dude
b) super early in the morning (like, before 6am) on a Sunday in the parking garage at work
c) a gun
d) I no longer have a phone
I was really freaked out by this whole thing and luckily, it only resulted in a stolen phone. But as my extremely thoughtful and awesome coworkers pointed out, even in this incident there is some very Middle Flipper-worthy inspiration.
So let's talk about why animal caretakers are probably the worst people to rob or threaten.
1) We Have No Money
Cash? What cash? Ha ha ha, is this some kind of joke?
How about a credit card? Are you sure you want this? Because actually, if you take it right now, I might have some leverage to get some of the charges on there taken off. Even though they're mine.
True story: one of my coworkers said her credit card number was stolen online somehow, but all of the charges this criminal attempted to put on there all got declined because.......um, we are poor.
2) We Are Eerily Calm In HOLY SH&% Situations
|Are we meditating? Or is our thumb being hacked off by a macaw?|
Lookit, that's our job. Is a sea lion chewing on my arm? Yes. But I....must....not...reinforce.................with...........................bloodcurdling scream...........
If you're a criminal looking for an armed robbery and get a cheap thrill out of seeing people freak out, DEFINITELY do not go after a zookeeper. Personally, I've had a penguin bite me directly in the face, resulting in blood pouring out of my mouth. In front of guests. And had to pretend like nothing happened. Try having a gigantic animal not let you get out of the water. Zookeepers have endless stories that put them in the I Have No More Adrenaline To Give category.
3) Our Phones Are Broken
Let me tell you about my (former) cell phone.
The screen was cracked from not one, but two woeful falls in my work locker room. Then, I put it in a case (because you know, crack the screen once, shame on you, crack it twice, time to get a case and ponder if it was such a good idea to NOT get insurance). I decide to get the screen fixed because it looks like a honey badger got a hold of it.
|And that friend is me.|
Here's where it gets good. To replace the screen, Apple needs to turn off some settings on the phone. Somehow, and I DO NOT KNOW HOW SO DO NOT ASK, I had three apple IDs on that thing. My real Apple ID, then another one that was mysteriously half of my ID username, and then one belonging to my husband Russ. And for some reason, the half ID and Russ' were the gatekeepers to settings that needed to be accessed in order for my screen to be replaced. Nothing I did allowed me to get the right passwords for these IDs. I tried everything. I went to the Apple store, where they told me I'd have to call customer service for help. I called them, explained this bizarre situation, to which they basically said I was effed.
So for months now, I've been walking around with a shattered screen with randomly-appearing notices asking me to input passwords to one of three Apple IDs. But I've made do.
|It'll be different this time|
So when it got stolen, I looked into the eyes of my assailant as he held a gun at my head and actually had a small, tiny, tiny piece of me that was like, "Oh...honey" as I handed over my phone.
|May the odds be ever in your favor to hack into my phone|
Even if our phones are destroyed, if criminals knew what our phones:
a) had on them (photos piles of otter poop, anyone? How about a nice dolphin penis pic?)
b) had on them (actual animal poop, traces of whatever food they eat, and any other small amounts of sacred fluids from our daily routine)....I don't think our phones would ever get stolen.
In fact, we could probably use them as repellent, but only if the thieves really understand WTF was on there.
4) We Might Have A Crazy Animal Ready For Self Defense
|I SWEAR I WILL NEVER STEAL AGAIN JUST MAKE IT STOP|
You, pointing a gun at my. Me, reaching into my glove compartment and......
PENGUIN! RIGHT AT YOUR FACE.
|JUST LET ME LIVE|
Your screams are stifled by the blood pouring from your eyes as the penguin does what it has evolved over millions of years to do: destroy human faces.
PARROT. RIGHT AT YOUR NECK. Justifiable homocide.
GIANT TARANTULA, Home-Alone style.
|Works every time|
See the thing is, you criminals have no idea what us zookeepers might have in our car. Maybe we took someone home for extra special medical care. Maybe we are going to an outreach event. Maybe we like to travel with penguins in our car because the smell*.
So obviously, number 4 may not be entirely honest. But what do those thugs know? And hey, maybe we zookeepers can come up with a self-defense method that's not as controversial as guns, easier than pepper spray, and is cheap cheap cheap:
Cups of poo. We all work with animals with the most disgusting poo. Just carry around a Big Gulp of your smelliest, most mucosal poop and get ready to slosh it right after you hand over your empty wallet. Or, if you're like me and only work with dolphins (whose poop is hard to collect in large enough quantities for this), there is nothing like a nice capelin sludge that's a few days ripe.
Sigh. Stay safe out there friends.
* Okay, maybe not