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June 4, 2009

OGIC: Herman and Enshalla

One of the best pieces of writing I've read all year starts like this.

Let us pay respect to fallen royalty.

His early life unfolded like something coauthored by Dickens and Darwin. As an infant he was taken from his mother - he almost certainly saw her die trying to protect him - then sold in an orange crate for $25 and a thumbprint.

He was carried across an ocean, installed inside a cage, taught to depend on the imperfect love of strangers. He charmed Jane Goodall, threw dirt at the mayor of Tampa, learned to blow kisses and smoke cigarettes, whatever it took to entertain the masses. Although he was afforded the sexual privileges conferred by rank, he never chose a mate. He had no interest in females of his own kind. He preferred blonds in tank tops.

Tom French's 2006 St. Petersburg Times story about the deaths of two animals at a Tampa zoo is riveting, heart-lifting, and heartbreaking. It's pretty long, too--probably one to print out and take home to read. But arm yourself with a hanky and read it.

Posted June 4, 2009 2:03 AM

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