Why Hippos Shouldn’t Dance

I know everyone is always saying that you can be anything you want to be, that you can do anything you want to do, and that you should always follow  your dreams.

I have to disagree.

I mean, don’t get me wrong.  You absolutely can be almost anything you want to be, and you can do a lot of what you want to do, and you should definitely follow some of your dreams.

But not if you are an elephant and your dream is to fly.  And not if you are swan who wants to play football.  And absolutely not if you are a hippo who wants to dance ballet.

Because if you are an elephant, the only way I can think of for you to fly is to be shot out of a really, really big catapult, and while it may feel wonderful to soar through the air like that, the whole thing is not going to end well for you as an elephant.  Or for anything you  might land on.

And any swan playing football is really making a terrible, terrible mistake.  As I see it, the best case scenario involves you getting mistaken for the ball and thrown helter-skelter through the air.  The worse case (and far more likely) scenario looks more like you at the bottom of a pile of three-hundred-pound men, where, believe me, your elegant beauty is not shown to best effect.

As for you hippos with dreams of dancing?  Just…don’t.  I’ve seen this one first hand, and it scarred me for life.  The one in my back yard actually looked quite lovely in its tutu, but the second it executed its first pirouette, I knew we were in for disaster.  The hippo spinning out of control and knocking down my apple tree was my first clue.  It attempted a chasse which wiped out the begonias and ended with a ground-shaking grand jete.  That finale might actually have won me over if it weren’t for the horrible yelp which led to the awful discovery that the realization of the hippo’s dancing dream had been the end of my dream of owning a dog.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever recover.  (I know my hound won’t.)

So please, elephants, swans, and hippos all, feel free to dream.  Dream of soaring through the skies.  Dream of touchdowns and tackles.  Dream of plies and barres and Swan Lake and applause.

But maybe there’s no need to make that particular dream come true.

(And if you decide you absolutely must, could you do it somewhere far away from me? Thanks.)




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