Call me “Runs with Cheetahs”

GoofGirl recently went on a school trip to the zoo. She came home very excited, but also angry that the zoo did not have ocelots. To end her tirade, I told her my own, very special zoo story “Before you were born, mommy and I lived in an apartment not far from the zoo…” “Is this the one about the cheetahs, you always tells us this story?” GoofGirl interrupted. “But mommy is here now and can confirm it, because every word is true!” I continued, “We lived exactly one mile from the zoo. So sometimes in the morning I would run to the zoo visit a few animals and run back. You know the first animal near the entrance?” “The cheetah!”

“Exactly, and if you get there before they had their breakfast they are very interested in things that run by. One time, I was running along their pen and the cheetah started running next to me.”

“He must have been pretty bored, because you run really slow,” GoofBoy chimed in.

“Well it was still cool. He hissed and leapt at me. Even though there were bars, it was a little scary. Anyway, I ran back to our apartment and told mommy all about it. I was jumping up and down, I was so excited.”

“That is completely true,” MamaGoof said. “It happened more times. Not every single time I ran to the zoo, but pretty often.” “I didn’t really believe him,” MamaGoof said, “Your dad does make stuff up.” “One night, we went to a reception at a hotel near the zoo. We had some wine. Walking back to our apartment, the gates to the zoo were open. Usually they are closed at night. So we went in, we could see the silhouettes of the giraffes and elephants in the dark. It was a weird night. It wasn’t raining, but there was thunder and lightning.”

The little Goofs looked skeptical, but MamaGoof nodded her assent. “We went over to the cheetah area. We couldn’t see anything, but I started running back and forth. I had been drinking wine. Suddenly, there was a flash of lightning and in that instant mommy and I saw a cheetah running alongside me.”

The little Goofs looked to mom. “I saw it. It really happened. You can believe your father, on this one. He ran with the cheetahs.”

Originally published at on December 4, 2018.

AAAS Policy Fellow, formerly @UMIACS (specializing in international security), did a PhD on vice presidents, interested in a lot of stuff

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