Monday, April 20, 2015

Aquarium Dogs

Even though Elijah’s birthday was technically a week ago, we decided to do an outing to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium with a few pals and a few cousins.

Eli still wants to be a “Sea Animal Trainer” when he grows up, so we thought it would be nice to show him what kind of job he can get with a Marine Biology degree. Namely, the guy who hands out 3D glasses at the “Ice Age” movie on the third floor.

But first, we took everyone to Ed Debevic’s hamburger restaurant. It’s the place where the servers act like complete a-holes and it’s meant to be cute. They were so sassy that at least one of the kids cried before our appetizers arrived. I recognized our server as an out of work actor from a few of my commercial casting sessions, so the sassiness was tinged with sadness.

The aquarium itself was fun and we lost only two of Eli’s friends. The day culminated with the “One World: Sponsored by Toyota” show. It featured jumping Beluga whales, an uncooperative penguin and a kind of preachy message about not destroying the environment. We got third row seats because of my chemical desire to be places 25 minutes early.

At one point in the show they brought out a beautiful rescue dog to show how they train animals at the aquarium. But instead of sitting atop his box and batting the red target his handler held, this little sassy guy stared directly at our group and began barking aggressively.

Now, our neighbor Callie has a history of looking delicious to zoo animals (special shout out to Callie’s mom Lexa, who claims to be omitted from the blog). But this barking Labrador seemed to be agitated by something over Callie's shoulder.

His continuous barking kind of put a halt on the show and his trainer began to get the look of a fifth grade school play actor who forgot her lines.

I looked over my shoulder for the source of this poor animal's agitation. I spotted Eli beaconing urgently for the dog to join him in our seats. He whistled a “come here” whistle at a volume only the dog and I could hear.

I locked eyes with him and bulged out my eyes and mouthed, “Stop. It.” Busted, he shrank back into his seat and the dog reluctantly went off stage, humiliated and contemplating a career at Ed Debevic's.

We then spent the rest of the day trying to exit the aquarium without getting sucked into the thirty four gift shops. We failed.

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