Once upon a time, there was a giraffe named James. When he was a calf, he wanted to be a policeman. He imagined chasing after troublemakers, and of rising through the ranks to become the head of a successful crime fighting team, like in CSI. He often had CSI related day-dreams.
Lab technician: “Mr Giraffe, we’ve got a match for the hoof prints we found at the scene.”
James, CSI chief: “So, who are we dealing with?”
Lab technician: “Remember when Albert Zebra told us that he had never met anyone by the name of Sarah Hippopotamus. It turns out that Albert Zebra had met Sarah before. His hoof prints were found all over her bedroom.”
Lab technician hands the paper with the prints over to Giraffe. He looks at it. Music builds dramatically. Giraffe stares at Lab Technician in shock and recognition.
During his teens, James spent a lot of time watching the Apprentice. For a while James thought that he might make a successful business-giraffe. His business day-dreams went something like this.
Outside James’ Office. Nervous-looking gazelle, sitting.
Secretary: “Mr Giraffe will see you now.”
Gazelle timidly enters Giraffe’s office. James looks angry.
James: “You’ve had quite a week, haven’t you?”
Judy Gazelle: “Listen, Mr Giraffe, I can explain…”
James: “You can explain losing 3 million pounds?”
James: “Save it, Judy. Not only have you lost the company millions of pounds, but people find it very difficult to work with you.”
Judy: “Who said that?”
James: “Come on, Judy. When Colin Cheetah tried to give you the minutes from the board meeting last week, you got so startled that you sprang up from your chair and galloped out the building, at top speed. Colin couldn’t catch you. And he’s fast.”
At school, James’ teachers told him that nobody does anything worth doing without a degree. Around the same time, James read in a magazine that girls like giraffes who are thoughtful. So, considering these facts, James decided that he had better do a philosophy degree.
The degree wasn’t quite what he expected. Reading all those books was quite exhausting, and the girls didn’t seem to like it when he asked them, what is virtue? It turned out that philosophy didn’t provide him with a lot of good chat-up lines. But he did look dashing in a beret.
After James graduated, James found himself unemployed. He wondered, what should I do now? Become a professional philosopher? This isn’t ancient Greece, philosophy isn’t a popular career choice. (To be fair, it wasn’t all that popular back then either. Socrates was executed, after all). Anyway, James needed a job; a fact which hadn’t gone unnoticed by his parents, who often dropped by his bedsit. Regularly, a bleary-eyed James would find himself answering the door to his parents.
“James!” Cried his parents in unison.
“Mother, father, what an unexpected surprise. Please come in.” James said through gritted teeth.
“We just thought we’d pop in to see how you’re doing.” Said Mother Giraffe, as she cleared pizza boxes from the couch.
“I’m fine, mother.”
“Any job offers?”
“You know, you could always work with me.” Said Father Giraffe.
“Dad, I told you. I don’t want to paint houses for a living.”
“What’s wrong with painting houses? We Giraffes have been painting houses for generations.”
“I know Dad, but it’s just not my scene.”
“There are jobs going at the local call centre.” Said Mother Giraffe.
James put his head in his hooves.
“What’s wrong son?” Asked his mother
“Nothing. Look, guys, I’ve got some CV writing to do.”
“Oh, excellent. Keep that up, James.” Said his father.
When his parents left, James turned on the TV. It was an episode of Charlie the Interfering Cow. It was one of those talk shows in which a troubled family comes on, and the host tries to help them overcome their difficulties. In this episode, a rhino had been having an affair with a parrot, who got pregnant, and spread the gossip all around town. The rhino’s wife and children were not pleased.
In the studio
Father Rhino to Parrot: “Look, I thought you said you were on the pill…”
Mother Rhino: “Peter, you little s***, that’s not the f****** point. You shouldn’t have been sleeping with her in the first place!”
Audience clap and cheer.
Parrot: “Listen Lady. You’re the one who can’t keep a man!”
Audience boo and hiss.
Mother Rhino: “You f****** wh***!”
Charlie the interfering Cow: “These are all valid points, Mother Rhino. Your husband is a cheating son of a b****, and she is a wh***. But think about the child. How is this Parrot going to raise a parrot-rhino hybrid? We need to come to some kind of agreement, for the sake of the child.”
Audience clap in agreement.
After watching this show for 30 minutes, James felt like he was on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. He thought about his friends. They appeared to be leading such successful lives on facebook. When he went online he was bombarded with status updates.
Harriet Hippo: “Cosy night with the boyfriend, watching CSI on our brand new 50-inch plasma! Good times!”
Pete Antelope: “OMG, I just got promoted!”
John Moose: “My life is so much better than yours!”
James looked at the empty bottles of whisky, and tubs of ice cream that had accumulated around his hooves. He began to wonder if he was a failed Giraffe.
A couple of days later, he began to write a blog about his unemployment woes. To his great delight, he discovered that there were lots of Giraffes who were unemployed, or generally a bit lost, and they often felt just like him. He began to feel better, and started to think that he could use this time to think about what he really wanted to do in life.
So kids, the moral of this story is that you’ll probably be unemployed at some point, and you’ll probably spend many days sitting around your lonely bedsit, drinking whisky, and eating ice-cream in your pajamas. But like James the Giraffe, you’ll be alright. You probably won’t play the leading role in CSI, but you’ll do fine.