Sunday, March 15, 2009


Shane Stay

The crowd was large in number. So large in fact, that it was said by some to be a throng. Emotions ran high. They were irate and passionate. They wanted one thing: death to the tiger.

A few days earlier, a local wild tiger had killed a younger member of society: a boy. But to the members of the throng he was a child! They had lost a child! Oh sweet mercy, a CHILD! Not that! Anything but that!

The tiger stood in a cage. One woman cried and cried and pleaded with the sky above for justice to be turned onto this crazy tiger. She yelled to the crowd, “I want to see this tiger get what he deserves!” –



“The tiger is a ‘she.’”

“Fine! I want this tiger to get what he deserves!” For some reason the woman would not concede that it was a female tiger. (She was three times divorced, though no one chose to point this out.) As she spoke a hail storm fell onto the throng. Still they stood, defiant against the life of the tigress. “This poor child, oh, this poor child!”

“It was my brother,” said a man, from the side of the crowd. He wore only a large towel, cut in the middle to wear around his neck, and a pair of Allen Iverson Reeboks with no socks. He looked very holy in this towel. “That child was my five year old brother. And I loved my little brother. I used to read Nietzsche to him at bedtime, and he agreed that God is dead. He suffered from Down Syndrome. He had plans to become a singing star; a ‘Broadway’ sensation. He had a beautiful voice – that is, when his mouth wasn’t full of Snickers. He loved to eat Snickers. He had a bit of a weight problem, that little guy. That tiger killed my Down Syndrome, singing, Snicker addicted, slightly overweight, younger brother.”

The crowd fell silent. They looked upon this holy man. The tiger tweaked its head, to view the man. Then the wailing woman asked, “Do you want us to cut the tiger’s head off or merely drop it off the edge of a cliff?"

“Neither,” responded the man.

“Neither?!” murmured the confused crowd.

“I want you to let it go free, back into the wild where it belongs.”

The crowd could not believe what they heard. This was blasphemy. After all, it was a child that had been taken: A child! A CHILD!!!

“Are you crazy?”

“Are you crazy?” responded the man. “The tiger is a wild animal. That’s what it does! It attacks and eats things that aren’t it. That’s what tigers do. What about us? Do you see herds of cattle, congregating, planning attacks against us for murdering billions of their brothers and sisters? No, because they cannot communicate. They eat grass and that’s about it, but this is aside from the point. My point is: We do worse to other animals than what the occasional tiger attack does to us. It is part of nature and we must accept this fact. I embrace the tiger. I don’t push it off a cliff and watch as it tumbles to a terrible, gravity-induced death. Please, let us cherish this tiger. Not perish. Cherish, not perish. Cherish, not perish.”

Suddenly, the throng began chanting, “Cherish, not perish! Cherish, not perish!” It was beautiful. Everybody came together. Their emotions turned. They now loved the tiger and all her flaws, even its inability to groom its own nails. As the chanting progressed, a young boy, a jokester knowing no better, opened the tiger’s cage.

“The tiger’s loose! It’s gonna kill us all!” screamed a man.

The crowd scattered in panic.

And the tiger, well, it strolled away, intent on changing its reputation.