I hate pandas.
This realization is the closest thing to a Joycean epiphany that I've ever experienced. I can tell you exactly when it happened. I was at the National Zoo one day with my kids a few years ago, and I saw a huge long line snaking down and around the Elephant house and out of sight. What was it for? Ah, yes. The panda exhibit. Everyone wanted to see those Chinese charmers, so furry, so cute. Who doesn't love a panda?
Now, as long-time readers of this blog are well aware, I don't stand in long lines. I think it goes hand in hand with my desire to not join in trends. If I see a long line, I walk right away from it, even if they're giving away chocolate-covered gold at the head of the line and especially if it's hot and let me tell you, it's always hot during zoo season and that whole dang zoo is uphill. There is no downhill at the National Zoo. That place makes you yearn to be elderly or infirm so somebody will push you around in a wheelchair along with a portable IV bottle so you don't get dehydrated.
As I stood there contemplating whether I should override my usual aversion to lines for the good of my kids, I notice that everyone at the back of the line is excited in anticipation of seeing the pandas and yet everyone who walks away from the exhibit is terribly disappointed. Why? Because they waited and waited in line and they couldn't even see the panda. OK, maybe they caught a glimpse of some dingy yellow fur balled up in the corner, but that was it. The pandas were sleeping or they were otherwise unavailable and the kids, they were so sad that they didn't get to see the panda because everyone but everyone has been telling them since the day they were born how cute and loveable the panda is.
Let me tell you something: No one has EVER seen a panda at the zoo. Certainly no one has ever seen one move or behave in any way other than lying around picking its toes. If the panda were human, it would be living in your basement playing World of Warcraft and listening to its old Boston albums. You'd have to lock it out of your T.V. with parental controls because it was spending hundreds of dollars a month on pay-per-view porn, OK? And that's because pandas are lazy, good for nothing, sacks of crap who by all rights should have been removed from the ecosystem by the cleansing fire of evolution. The more I have learned about pandas over the years has only increased my loathing of pandas, for example, every time I read about the zoo's repeated attempts to get the female panda to mate with the male panda and how this inevitably fails so they have to do IVF. These animals are naturally incompetent at mating! I'm sorry but if you are too dumb to hump, your particular branch in the great evolutionary delta should run dry. And certainly your existence shouldn't be propped up by millions of taxpayer dollars that we the United States give to China to have the right to stand in line at the National Zoo in the blazing sun walking uphill to NOT see a panda.
The point is this: Pandas suck. They do. People will try to tell you that they're great and so cute and we really ought to save their habitat but don't you listen. Open your eyes to the truth all around you. Once you do, I guarantee you'll start noticing other "pandas" in your life and you will come to see that not-really-a-bear for what it is. And when that day comes I hope you will vow, along with me, that you will not have the black-and-white fur pulled over your eyes ever again.