And now, the blog that tried to pass off the movie A Christmas Story as something vaguely zoo-related presents Groundhog Day!
There really are only two icons of Groundhog Day - Punxsutawney Phil and Bill Murray. One is an icon known and recognized and adored the world over... the other is... Bill Murray. Murray, of course, starred in the movie Groundhog Day, playing a TV weatherman who is forced to relive the same day (February 2nd) over and over again, no matter how many suicidal shortcuts he takes to get out of it.
The last time I watched it, it occurred to me that, comedy aside, reliving the same day sounds like an awful way to spend eternity. It also made me appreciate something about my job that few other people can say.
No two days are ever the same.
Life as a zookeeper is a cycle of constant change. Animals are born. Animals are shipped in. Animals die. Animals are shipped out. Exhibits are built and torn down and then rebuilt, keepers and other staffers come and go. Everyday presents a new challenge. Some of these challenges are, admittedly, not very fun, such as the challenge of where to put the three feet of snow that plopped down on your facility in the course of one night (Thanks Jonas...). Others, while equally serious, are a little more unique to the profession, such as how do you catch a single, specific bird out of a free-flight aviary the size of a football field? How do you coax a pair of pythons into a little romance? How do you negotiate the dynamics of your chimpanzee group, a political pit of scheming that makes House of Cards look like a three-year-old's tea party?
Most days, I come home from work happy. Plenty of times I come back sad over something that unfolded, like saying goodbye to a favorite animal. I've been known to come home angry, either at coworkers, or the public, or myself. I've never come back bored.
Likewise, I never walk in the front door of work the next morning and think "Yep... same old, same old today."