Honolulu Lite

Charles Memminger

Animals get even
in humane way

Writing a humor column surprisingly involves almost as much talking as writing.

In the past several weeks, I have done standup comedy at Andy Bumatai's comedy showcase in Waikiki, addressed a group of public relations and communications experts, lip-synched (poorly) and danced (equally poorly) in a madcap variety show fund-raiser for a women lawyers' group and spoken at a Hawaii book publishers' award event.

But the gig that worried me the most was keynoting the Hawaiian Humane Society's annual meeting last week. While trying to make drunken comedy club patrons laugh has its perils (flying martini glasses, etc.), I feared entertaining a room full of animal lovers even more. I mean, I'm an animal lover. I love animals in the wild, in my house and on my dinner plate. And that's the kind of comment that can get you in trouble when talking to other animal lovers.

But it turned out I didn't have to worry. The humane society outing proved to be both enjoyable and inspiring. You tend to take for granted the amount of manpower, mostly donated, it takes to keep our islands' critters safe, healthy and happy.

I stayed away from discussing local animal-related controversies such as hunting peacocks with a bow and arrow at a North Shore nature preserve. Instead, I dug up international stories of animal bravery, like the puppy that shot his master. This guy in Florida decided to put a litter of puppies to sleep by shooting them with a .38-caliber handgun. Turns out that is as dumb as it sounds. He was holding a couple of pups in his arms when one of the little fellas managed to put a paw on the trigger and, well, the audience loved that story.

There are a surprising number of news stories involving animals shooting people. A Bulgarian went on a bear hunt, but the bear saw him first and attacked. There was a scuffle and the gun went off, hitting the man. The bear was last seen high-fiving his buddies in the underbrush.

Sometimes the animal doesn't have to do the actual shooting. Donald Rugg, 43, spotted a mouse in his Pennsylvania house and decided to dispatch it with a handgun. Rugg fired. The mouse apparently dodged. And the bullet struck one Cathy Jo Harris, 35, Rugg's (soon to be former) girlfriend.

Even unarmed zoo animals have a way of getting back at people. At the Zhengzhou Zoo in China, a "sex-starved" chimp has taken to smoking and spitting on visitors. Someone thought it would be cute to give the female chimp a lit cigarette. Now, apparently hooked, the chimp demands cigarettes from visitors. And if she doesn't get them, she charges the bars and spits at onlookers. Hey, who wouldn't? Besides, the chimp already was moody because her mate was spurning her affections.

I was going to tell the humane society crowd about the elephant with a crack habit but decided not to push my luck.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Charles Memminger, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail cmemminger@starbulletin.com



E-mail to Features Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Calendars]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com