Tortoise Fight!

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Because my Mrs. is a family woman, we bundled up the kiddos and flew cross-country to California. Laguna Woods, to be specific. If you’re not familiar, don’t be embarrassed. I had never heard of Laguna Woods before going there.

You’ve heard of Laguna Beach, right? Well, Laguna Woods is an 18,000-person retirement community next to it. A gated community for those knock-knock-knocking on heaven’s door.

It’s funny, because the surrounding community is defined by the gated community. You leave it’s grounds, and all you see is funeral home, funeral home, walk-up clinic, funeral home, McDonald’s, funeral home…

Know your market, I guess.

(There were also a dozen Urgent Care walk-in clinics, which makes nothing but sense. My 2.5-year-old son got sick during the trip, because getting sick is what he does, so the Mrs. took him to one of the clinics and said it kind of freaked the doctor out. He was used to seeing octogenarians who wanted their Medical Marijuana prescriptions renewed. Think Dr. Nick, from The Simpsons. You don’t have to be talented to be a physician among the elderly, because if you lose one? No real loss. A true kiddo coming in, however, that gave him pause. “I should probably save this one… I’m just not sure I have the skills.” But I digress.)

While in CA, the fam visited the O.C. Zoo. It’s tiny, but perfect for toddlers. They have a couple Bobcats and a petting area full of goats, and while there I got to laugh, laugh, laugh.

The zoo has a pair of tortoises, both older than dirt.

(As tortoises tend to be.)

Though kept in the same pen, they were separated by a makeshift “wall,” something about a foot high, comprised of logs. The wall had a slight gap in it, one not large enough for either tortoise to fit through, but definitely large enough for them to see/be aware of the other.

And it drove them each mad.

While I was there, they fought the entire time. Each faced his gap in the wall and tried biting the tortoise on the other side. Each desperately clawed at the gap and logs, trying their best to either fit through the gap or climb over the wall.

It was non-stop… well, not exactly “action,” but it was still wonderful, and more fun than, say, any of the Transformers films.

The fight went on so long I eventually found and asked a zookeeper about it, who half-laughed herself and said, “Oh yeah… they fight all day, every day. Sometimes we find one of them flipped over on their back, because they were trying to climb the wall to get at the other and fell over. The best part about it all, though? At night, we remove part of the wall and they crawl next to one another and sleep peacefully all night. Then in the morning, they wake up and have to be separated again.”

Well, I’m sure there’s a political metaphor in there somewhere about tortoises mirroring humans and the constant state of disagreement we’re in right now, but I’m too dumb to make it.

So there you go.

Why stop now? Read on...

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