Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Zebra Infestation

Sadly, we have yet to rid our household of the zebra infestation. Zebras are sufficiently rare that the general populace does not give zebras much thought. To the extent that people consider zebras, I suspect that they consider zebras well decorated horses and generally well behaved. The empirical evidence collected over the past few weeks indicates that while zebras may be attractive, they are loud, rambunctious and generally undomesticated. I do not possess sufficient control over the situation in the household to test this hypothesis, but my educated guess is that the zebras feed off one another and possessing multiple zebras at once is worse than a series of isolated zebras. That is, the mayhem caused by zebras is multiplicative rather than additive.

The effect of the cacophony of running, eating, and neighing is quite maddening. The baseline level of chaos in this household makes it difficult for me to work, but the zebra inflated pandemonium is unbearable and beginning to wear upon my sanity.

Zebra in the fruit

This picture accurately depicts the situation in our household on many levels. First, you will notice that there is a zebra in the picture. The reason that a zebra appears in the photo is because it is hard to find a space where a zebra is not present. The zebras are everywhere. Second, the photo also depicts bananas. While bananas are not ubiquitous, they serve as an apt metaphor for my frayed nerves. Listen to the barking neigh of the zebras again. Now imagine a house full of hyperactive zebras attempting to talk over one another. Try as you might, it is impossible to imagine the pain and anguish we all suffer by living with a zebra infestation. Finally, the juxtaposition of wild animal and human consumables evokes parasites and diseases. Zebras have been problematic disease vectors in the United States and implicated in the introduction of at least 36 arthropod borne diseases (see Table 1). These diseases largely effect livestock, which are thankfully absent from our household. However, the fact remains that feral animals are unsanitary and should not cohabitate with humans.

Zebras in the bookcase

This photo captures my mental anguish. First, the zebras have infiltrated the library, which has always been my sanctuary. There is now truly no place for me to retreat and find solace and convalescence. Second, the zebra is hanging out with mystery books. How the zebras came to be in the household is a mystery. How to be rid of the zebras is a mystery. At this moment in time, I do not much care for mysteries along these lines. I would like simple and direct answers ...

... and a little peace and quiet.


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