Life Lessons from the Zoo

I realized today that I have learned several important Life Lessons from my time spent at various zoo and animal-related places. Here are some of them.

  • Easy humor is not the same as smart humor and usually not clever or original. Put some thought into it. (Just today I got the oh-so-clever line, “And what kind of wild animal are you?” Thanks, funny guy. Because I haven’t heard that in, oh, two days.)
  • People all think they know what’s best, and will tell you so at any opportunity, especially when they don’t understand the reasoning behind the thing they’re being asked to do.
  • “Having fun at work” means all sorts of different things. I think I’m the type of person who views “high productivity” as more fun that “sitting around” and that’s good to know.
  • “High productivity” doesn’t equate to overwhelming paperwork. Being outside and having a lot to do is better than being inside and having a lot to do.
  • If it doesn’t have a tail, it’s not a monkey, even if it has a monkey kind of shape. This is true for other things; calling something a name doesn’t make it the thing you are calling it.
  • Every day there is the same exact mess to deal with, and the work will never be done, but that doesn’t make the work less worthwhile.
  • Things are not always what they seem; a bucket might indicate it’s “feeding time” but it might also contain tools, paint, fill-dirt, or yes, even poop. Don’t assume, just ask.
  • Tourists always wear bad shoes, whether it’s hiking in high heels or the chunky sandals that are unnecessary for paved, flat sidewalks.
  • Act like you are supposed to be there and chances are no one will question you.
  • Make eye contact and smile and people will tell you their life stories– they want someone to listen, even if you’re trying really hard to get your chores done.
  • Weeds always grow back, unless you take them out at the root. Find the root and chances are you can fix the problem once and for all.
  • Admitting when you don’t know how to do something isn’t a weakness; it’s a chance to learn how to do something new.
  • Using the tools you’re given correctly makes all the difference in the world; no matter how many times you swing a pick-ax, if you don’t hold it the right way it won’t make a dent.
  • You have to wade through (and shovel out) a lot of crap in order to earn the reward in the end, but it’s worth it. It is absolutely worth it.


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