San Francisco: A Town Without Pity, A Town for Penguin Love Triangles
I have been reading all about this panhandling 4-year-old and his mother and had the crummy fortune of seeing them on my way to BART. I hate being enraged (it’s bad for wrinkles) and there I was, spitting mad that this woman had her 4-year-old out there tugging at our heartstrings, emotionally manipulating even the hardest of us by panhandling. Don’t do that. And the trouble is apparently, there is nothing anyone can do to stop this. People have tried. The authorities have been contacted but they say they cannot remove a child from a parent unless it can be proven that they are being abused and/or neglected. And the kid does look clean and healthy. His mother is clean, healthy and fairly well-dressed for a lady hobo. I guess making a 4-year-old beg for loose change isn’t considered abuse or something. I read a follow-up story about some Good Samaritans who took up a collection to buy plane tickets for the family to move back east this past winter. By April, they were back to begging in San Francisco. I know that kids think the weirdest things are fun, but this seems to push it a bit too far. And to think, we were just ranked one of the meanest cities when it comes our handling of the homeless.
Recently, my grandfather’s brother had to have some kind of emergency surgery. My grandfather is one of four brothers. He’s the oldest, and the healthiest. The other three are always almost dying. I’m glad I got some kind of tough genes because these tough, grumpy old kooks have been holding on for years. My dad asked my grandfather why his uncle was in the hospital this time. “His iris fell out.” This boggles the mind. “What do you mean his iris…that’s impossible. You mean his cornea got detached?” “No, like I said, his iris fell out.” On top of having tough genes, evidently, I also come from a long line of freakshows.
In case you’ve missed the tragic love triangle that’s been playing out at the San Francisco Zoo…I shall regale you with a tale of deception and intrigue. So, of course, San Francisco has a pair of gay penguins called Harry and Pepper. Some years back, they just hunkered down and decided to give it a go and make a life for themselves. They nested together. Sulky Pepper finally had a companion. The two were given an egg to care for and apparently were very good and vigilant egg-sitters. When their chicky was born, the zookeepers said the two were the best dads ever. Well, fast-forward SIX years. Their neighbor, a male named Fig, died and left behind a poor floozy widow named Linda. Linda, suddenly alone and in need of male attention, turned to Harry. You can imagine how this ends. Not well for our friend Pepper. This sudden split caused a lot of drama and heartache and Pepper had to be sent away for a little while. I realize that humanizing these animals is just plain babyish, weird and maybe just a little lame, but it is pretty amazing too.