Monday, April 16, 2007

Knut And I Aren’t Feeling Well

BERLIN (AP) — The Berlin Zoo's popular polar bear cub, Knut, is not feeling well and had his daily public appearance in front of thousands of visitors cut short Monday after only 30 minutes.

Later Monday, Schuele [the zoo's veterinarian] told the Associated Press he examined the cub and said Knut is probably not feeling well because he is teething.

"He is getting his right upper canine," Schuele said.

After I broke the story a few month ago about Knut’s impending execution and subsequently probably saved his life, I’ve followed his story closely. Call it my natural instinct to nurture the vulnerable elements of society. Indeed, I’ve often thought about how great it would be to volunteer as a mentor at Big Brothers and Sisters. I imagine hanging out with an underprivileged kid who is angry at the world. I would take him to the park and make him run wind sprints like in Remember the Titans. He would resent me at first, but slowly he would grow to respect me because I would scream things like, “Ain’t nobody in life going to give you anything! You’ve got to earn it!” And he’d be all precocious and say something like, “What the [beep] you talking about? I don’t see yo honkey ass out here running. Alls I see is you sitting at your desk writing yo [beep] blog all day getting’ paid!” We’d share an intense moment and in the end we would both learn something.

But eventually he’d call me on a Sunday morning to hang out because his mom’s boyfriend was drunk again and I’d be in bed or maybe I’d have plans for brunch, and helping would slide surreptitiously into “responsibility.” I’d shake my head as I watched his number light up on my cell. Then, as I turned the phone on silent, I would realize that he taught me the greatest lesson of all – that of loving yourself.

Anyway, my point is How much fun would it be to take care of Knut though! How could you ever get tired of that little pillow with legs. Some people, like those German “animal specialists” who said it wasn’t fair for Knut to be raised by humans, may say that I don’t have enough in common with a polar bear to raise one. But I know what it’s like to be sick. I’m sick right now, in fact. I may have had my right upper canine pulled a long time ago to make room for braces to pull my teeth together, but just like Knut I’m teething too, in a way. I am chomping at the bit of life. Gnawing for answers. And if that’s not good enough, I could at least do a better job than Leonardo DiCaprio. How could you spend over three minutes with this thing and not succumb to the urge to stuff him in your mouth? If it were me, you would have heard, “Hey, is that Elvis?!” and then the camera would pan away and when it came back on me there would be a tuft of white hair sticking out of my mouth like when a cartoon cat eats a bird.