The Hippo Menace and Other Thoughts

I think all of us have that friend/family member who, in a social gathering (you remember those, right? The idea hearkens back to an innocent time where people would leave their homes and come together in groups greater than six – a time when we naively referred to our friends as “friends” instead of “vectors,” anyway…) Let me start again. …the friend/family member who, in a social gathering, would suddenly launch into the most random/odd/crazy rant you’d ever heard. The kind of rant you’d laugh about in the beginning thinking this is surely a joke – they’re riffing – and then you realized, “oh dear God, they’re actually serious,” and the laugh would slowly become more nervous. You were then left with a choice – try to gently cajole them out of the crazy (good luck you naive fool!), or smile politely and claim you needed a refill… from another room… possibly outdoors… at a neighbors.

Among my friends and their acquaintances, we’ve got the guy who will get in your face over Brian Henson voicing Kermit the Frog, because it’s just wrong – they should have retired the character (or something like that). He’ll angrily get up in your face about it. Forget we’re all well past the age where we’re watching Sesame Street lately, and the last Muppet movie we saw was likely “The Muppet Movie.” Oh, Kermy. This guy takes the voice acting very seriously, and he’s pretty angry.

(For the record it turns out, after a quick Google search, that Jim Henson’s replacement for that voice was actually Steve Whitmire, who voices Kermit for 27 years after Henson and was fired by Disney around 2017. I just read too much about the incident that lead up to his dismissal. These are things I wish I didn’t know today; I actually don’t have a frog in this pond battle.)

Another friend-of-a-friend has strong feelings about Jupiter’s size. Why? Why does it have to be that big? (Again, they’re very serious.) I’ve heard that when it starts, it can be incredibly funny, but I’ve also been strongly discouraged from pursuing the conversation on my own. I get the impression the Jupiter conversation can take a dark turn. (Aside, I’d still like to hear it.)

I was thinking about this, and thinking, “wow, Beth, you really lack passion.” I mean sure, I’m passionate about our political situation. I can sound quite passionate if people are driving in a “non-Beth-approved” way and therefore causing me undue stress as I move from point A to point B (like interrupting my commanding car performance of Queen’s “I Want to Break Free”. Don’t make me stop singing to scream at you. I will!) And as I was sitting on my high-horse feeling quite above it all in the crazy, it hit me – my things. (Epiphanies tend to fly right at you when you’ve had little real human contact for two months.) So, here we go –

Hippos.

In a questionable top five list I found while Googling “things that agree with my world view” I discovered that hippos are one of the Top 5 killers of humans. (Full disclosure: the list probably excluded things like: disease, other people etc., etc. but that’s not what’s important.) What’s important is that hippos are a murderous menace! And if you eliminate many things, they’re among the top five animal murderers (behind mosquitoes, tsetse flies, snakes and crocodiles (we’re ignoring the part that included dogs)).

I blame Disney and the Animaniacs for my overreaction.

My entire life I’ve viewed hippos as these adorably chubby Kilroys who had thoughtful hippo conversations, yearned to don a tutu, and paddled around rivers to help get 3,000+ lbs of weight off of those poor knees.

Imagine my horror when I discovered they were multi-ton jerks with murderous intentions? But we don’t get weekly news updates on Hippo homicides. Let one shark nibble on one surfer, and suddenly everyone’s afraid to go into the water. The next thing you know, Roy Scheider is out on a boat hunting them down over four increasingly ridiculous movies.

You know Flavio and Marita had a secret basement where they kept their humans – trying to create perfect human suits. Where are you keeping the bodies, Flavio and Marita?!?! WHERE?!?!

Hippos kill upwards of 500 people per year. Where’s my hippo week?!?!

And really, that’s what it boils down to – I want Hippo Week on Discovery. Is that too much to ask? Hippos are way better at murder than sharks! AND they sing and dance. Fact.

Now to my second crazy rant (it’s a two-fer) we’re going to have to take a hard left since it doesn’t involve the Martha Graham’s of the African river systems.

No, this is about soap, particularly dish soap, and my lack of access to it.

Let’s start with a fact: For the last 30+ years I’ve been washing dishes by hand; I don’t use a dishwasher. I just don’t. I like to mindlessly stand in front of a sink, thinking about things, and washing my dishes. It’s calming. It’s my thing.

Enter Covid-19 and suddenly everyone has discovered dish soap to the extent that I can’t get mine, and I have a strong preference. Any old soap won’t do. I like Dawn. Any Dawn, but mostly the green Dawn. Maybe it’s the smell, who knows. It’s Dawn. It’s green. It’s good. I don’t like Joy. I don’t like Palmolive. I don’t like the off-brand at the grocery store, or Meyer’s. I like Dawn. If I can’t have the green stuff, the blue still is perfectly fine. You see, Dawn does EXACTLY what I want it to do, the way I want it to do it. It cleans dishes, and it gets grease out of the way, just like the commercials tell me it does. But apparently everyone is suddenly interested in washing dishes now??!?! Really???

No. I suspect it has to do with people having limited access to hand soap, so they’re buying dish soap in order to clean their hands. And I applaud you guys for suddenly showing an interest in hygiene, but my question is – why weren’t you doing that before? Seriously. Why?

When we were being sent home to shelter-in-place, and I went to the grocery store, I didn’t buy soap, because I had soap. The shelves were stripped clean of soap, but I didn’t mind. I had extra soap for when I ran out. In fact, I haven’t had to buy new hand soap, yet. I’ve just worked my way through my soap reserves. And I get that some of you didn’t have soap, people run out, it’s a thing, but the fact that there’s still a soap shortage is crazy to me. Again, thank you for discovering how filthy hands can be, but dang… I now kind of see you guys as contributing to the problem to begin with. Why weren’t you washing your hands before? You’re gross.

Look, I don’t care if you have to buy some lye and coconut oil, please let me have my Dawn – a product I use for actual dishes – not something I use because I recently discovered clean hands were in. Thank you social media influencers for finally doing something I wouldn’t categorize as vapid noise, and also, GRR! I want my Dawn!

(Health warning: Please do not actually buy lye unless you know how to handle it properly. It’s a very strong alkali and therefore caustic. Also, I feel I should add: Also, please do not inject or ingest bleach. Bleach is typically made with chlorine, which is also an alkali and generally doesn’t go well with one’s digestive system in that you could die. That’s all the near-science lessons I have in me today.)

So there they are – the two things I’m excitable about these days. The perils of hippo interactions and my lack of Dawn in my house, by non-dishwashers who won’t kindly just use lye (again, please don’t do that).

What ridiculous things get you excited?