I also have a video of the ostrich attack but it’s very screamy and will give you a headache so I’m not including that. You are welcome.

Robert Frost once said that he could sum up life in three little words: It goes on.

But that isn’t entirely accurate as most of the people in the world (including Frost) are now dead, so instead I’ve decided that all of life could be summed up in two sentences:

Sometimes it’s shit.

Sometimes it’s the shit.

It’s not as eloquent as Frost, but I think it’s more accurate.  It’s also better than my first try at summing up life, which was : If possible, try to get licked by a giraffe.

Alternatively, attacked by an ostrich works too.  I’ve done both and they are wonderful things to add to your bucket list.  Bring some bactine.

Your turn, fellow insomniacs.  Sum up life for me.  It’s not like we’re accomplishing anything else tonight.

PS.  Seriously.  Make friends with the people at the zoo and they’ll let you sneak in and play with the giraffes.  They’ll also let you crash a golf cart into a wall.  But only once.

Like something in a dream

344 thoughts on “I also have a video of the ostrich attack but it’s very screamy and will give you a headache so I’m not including that. You are welcome.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. The meaning of life is gathering up stories that you can tell. Good ones, crazy ones, ones you hated at the time but are funny now — like all birth stories.

    That, or it’s just getting licked by a giraffe. (That picture is AWESOME)

  2. Since the death of my beloved husband, I understand the meaning of life to be ‘This is it’. There is no planning for the future or undoing the past. Life as we can ever know it is now. This is it.

  3. I’d trade that for “try to get licked by Gerard Butler” 😉

    Or maybe “take the road less travelled,” but to be honest I hate lonely roads and would probably panic and take the road with, y’know, other people and not the scary alone road.

  4. If you can’t get licked by a giraffe, at least have a cat fall asleep on you as often as possible.

  5. My husband (military) taught me this:
    FIDO: Fuck It, Drive On
    It has served me well

  6. “Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!” oh wait… that’s what’s best in life… Shit… I need the integers in order to make a sum. I got nothing.

  7. I’m sixteen, so I’m not sure if I have it down yet. But what I feel like… Is that life is going to suck no matter what you do. All you can do is make it suck less for other people, and hope that they’ll return the favor.
    Also, it’s never the end. Ever. Endings don’t exist, even in death. If there’s one person alive on this earth, breathing the recycled air that Shakespeare left behind, it’s not the end. And that if you always remember that, funerals are a lot easier to handle.

  8. The meaning of life is the journey, not any kind of destination. Alternatively, according to John Lennon: “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.”

    Or, it might be 42.

  9. That is the best picture ever. Ever!

    Also, as a lifelong “sufferer” (?) of delayed sleep phase syndrome (or disorder, whichever one is trendy right now), I have to say the meaning of some aspects of life is to find a way to not curse the sleep patterns but the societal pressure to conform to one concrete, uniform pattern. What are we, farmers? Psh. Being a night owl means it’s harder to find a conventional job (and to be conventionally profitable), but it also means you have to get creative. It’s like the adult version of using boredom to stimulate a child’s imagination.

    And look! Now there is a giraffe picture on the internet, posted deep in the dark hours, where there otherwise would be no giraffe picture.


  10. how? what? story, please? And ALSO—YES!! The sweetness and utter acceptance in that picture is a visual mantra from here on out…thank you!!!

  11. In the Mel Brooks movie about Robin Hood, there is a scene in which Robin cuts the saddle of the Sheriff which makes the Sheriff ride off upside down. His head is under the horse. Robin calls to him, “Mind the big rocks!”
    That is what life comes down to. We weave our way through it. Stumbling along. But survival depends on Mind The Big Rocks.

  12. I was licked by a giraffe as a baby, I don’t remember it but my parents do, in fact my mother recounts it as more of a giraffe tongue doing an impression of a boa constrictor on my infant arm.

  13. Laura, if you saw some of the drivers around here, you’d go with the less traveled road. Unless you just watched a horror movie. Then, strength in numbers.

  14. Sometimes life blows. More often than sometimes, usually. But, right around when you get to the point where you want to watch everything explode behind you like you’re the hero in an action movie, something amazing happens. That moment might be brief, it might pass by in an instant, but it’s just enough to keep you going. Then, you can start to string a couple of those together, and you get just enough hope to believe that life is worth it.

  15. her eyes are squinted cuz your print is louder than hers. Reticulate that, motherfuckers!

  16. I think the whole point of life is to learn. Sometimes the lessons suck, but sometimes they are wonderful.

  17. I still think Snoopy has it right in that “Happiness is a warm puppy.” Right now my warm puppy is a four-year-old boy who is still willing to snuggle with Mommy 🙂

  18. Life:
    Every person in the world is seen.
    Every person in the world is known.
    Every person in the world is beautiful.
    Every person in the world is loved.

    These are the only 4 things that really, truly know about life.

    I’ve had many an encounter with wild critters. I got to hold a baby black bear. I used to work with wolves, so petted them all the time. Many lickings. Wild baby bunnies were uncovered and snuggled with, one Easter in my childhood. My father’s friend raised an abandoned baby raccoon and I got to hold and sing to the little guy. A trip to visit with and pet penguins and a crocodile is in the future. One friend of mine got to play with octopuses. A dolphin has kissed me on the cheek and I’ve swam next to a wild sea turtle. Also came face-to-face with a barracuda, once. Thankfully, all the wild sharks that I’ve been in the water with have been far away, but there were nurse ones and tiger ones. Grr! And I once saw a waterskiing squirrel at a vacation and boat show. Come to Indiana! We have loads of critters!!!

  19. a late night (early morning?) summing up of life: seeing yourself appear in the personalities of your children is both highly satisfying and totally terrifying. it’s like a fun-house mirror that you can’t turn away from. 😀

  20. You only get once so make it count. Has always been what I felt was pretty meaningful.

    Love the pic!! Have to get me some zoo employee friends asap!

  21. I’m very tired and cannot sleep. I think I should cut down on my coffee intake. I drink a pot of coffee a day. I asked
    my G.P. (General Practioner) to book me at the sleep clinic. She smiled as she said no, as she would look like a fool. So as of manana I will be drinking one less cup of coffee a day. And see if I can sleep. If, without coffee I can’t sleep, I’ll be going to the sleep clinic. Sorry for such a boring post.

  22. All I can say is, Man, that’s one beautiful and kick ass photo!
    And I saw one of those little paperweight rocks that said: Life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself. I liked that. Till I found out I was kind of shitty at crafts and stuff, and then I got a little worried. 😀

  23. I know two things about life: dog slobber is the best cure for depression and is the secret to happiness. I know this because my dog River Song is lickings face as I write this. Too bad it doesn’t cure insomnia…

  24. Life is like a box of chocolates. It’s supposed to be all pretty and romantic, but in the end you’re just trying to identify that weird taste in your mouth. The weird taste is frighteningly similar to jizz.

  25. Life: it goes on…well, until it doesn’t.

    I must befriend the zoo personnel, so I too can have amazing experiences!

  26. Billy Joel’s lyric, “Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes,” works pretty well. You’ve got to love as well as you can for as long as you can and know when to say goodbye. Always be open to a hello.

  27. Sum up life??? You find yourself in the small quiet moments. Even when you feel like you can’t go on, life goes on…so never stop. HOPE…Hold On Pain Ends!

  28. I think there is no “meaning” to life. It as a role of the genetic dice that made each of us who we are. We experience each moment and as we go thru it those experiences add up to explain each of our lives. If we choose to do wonderful things (on a demand or small scale) then we impact others life experiences and that also helps refine the explanation of our lives.
    Yah. Or… You know, something. Peace filled dreams when you do fall asleep Jenny!!

  29. Damn. I meant she is licking my face. Third thing: life should have an edit button.

  30. Sometimes life gives you Caillou and sometimes life gives you The Walking Dead.

  31. I have no idea what the meaning is, but your two sentences are perfect.

    (Some days are better than others, I waver.)

    Also? Great, amazing, gorgeous, artistic, and beautiful photo.

  32. You take the good, you take the bad you take them both and… Wait that the Facts of Life theme song.

    But more seriously I have been think “what’s it all about or for.” Lately on a deep philosophical level a family friend’s son is facing rape charges. A guy I went to high school with who has been out for years changed his profile pic to a pro gay marriage pic and got a lot of hate like a lot 40ish comments about how he was raised in the church and should know better. This and other personal mental health stuff and getting my BA shortly stuff has me questioning what is all for.

    So here is my best shot life is loving hard and good. Is trusting and sometimes having that trust taken advantage of. It’s doing the best you can knowing that you did the best you could and trying to do better the next day. It doing your best not to let failure get you down for too long (I’m still working on they one). It’s finding “your” people. It’s about expecting people to treat you well (still working on that one). It about finding joy in little things (even if it the child like excitement that I currently have for Doctor Who comming back tomorrow) and finding peace in that even if no one else gets it. Life is letting your freak/nerd/geek/prude/OCD/ect. flag fly an being proud of it and respecting other to people’s flags (unless they are hurting children or old people or anyone against their will) cuz in the end of the day we are the only people we have.

    I just had a little to say on the subject

  33. My recent mantra has been, there is nothing so important you don’t have time to hug the cats. It takes me out of the rush & worry of a hectic life, & forces you into the moment. So ALWAYS make time to hug your cats, or dogs.. Or kids. Or spouse. Or kid (I mean baby goat this time.)

  34. Some time ago I would have referenced Douglas Adams and flippantly responded with “42”.

    Lately I’m much more likely to respond to such questions with the recurring line from Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five”. Which would be “So it goes.”

  35. ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ Warren Zevon
    ‘I’m dead when I sleep.’ Dracula
    ‘Can’t sleep: clown will eat me.’ Bart Simpson
    It’s not really a meaning, but it’s entertaining me right now.

  36. Absolutely incredible photo.

    My daughter got to pet a rhino at the zoo once. She was really shy about it.

    The rhino was more shy.

  37. I think I would be almost as afraid of the giraffe tongue as being attacked by the giant bird. I was traumatized by giraffe tongues at a zoo that had animal feed in coin-operated vending machines, and overly enthusiastic giraffes. All I remember is they were purple and threatening and longer than my forearm and it felt a little like being in live action tentacle porn.

  38. Getting licked by a giraffe is the best! There’s a zoo in Colorado that lets you feed them lettuce and it’s awesome.

    I can’t weigh in on the ostrich attack, though. Yet, at least.

  39. Oddly, I completely understand the giraffe thing. I enjoyed that way more than I ever thought i would.
    As for summing up life in one neat sentence? I can’t even sum up this afternoon. I have no idea what the heck I’m doing out here.

  40. I don’t have any way to sum up life better than you already have. But the fact that you are playing with a giraffe really just adds to the list of reasons why you’re my hero. Also, the fact that this showed up in the middle of the night made my night.

  41. I have “Live Without Regret” tattooed around my wrist to remind me to always try to do the best I can with the resources I have available, to embrace all experiences (good and bad) because they shape who I am, to not shy away from experiences out of self-doubt, to forgive myself when I inevitably fuck up.

  42. Life is like a fart. Sometimes it stinks and other times not. Hysterical, embarrassing, nonexistent, relieving, musical, squeaky, dry, and juicy can all be used to describe our farts and our lives. FYI…these don’t even begin to describe cat farts. There are no words for them.

  43. I have always liked this quote, it kind of sums it all up for me.

    “I don’t know what it’s like to be old, but I think it’s living long enough to make a joke of things that were once breaking your heart” ~Merrit Malloy

  44. I’m gonna steal #18’s quote as my new motto…just FYI.

    And the double (or is it triple?) negatives in #16 is causing my nerd self to have serious conniptions…

  45. The only thing that I’ve managed to be attacked by are ducks… I guess I still have a lot of liven left to do…

  46. Haven’t managed to be licked by a giraffe, but a zebra sneezed in my face. Snot funny. Actually it was hilarious and gross. Sort of like life. You just gotta have a sense of humor and a strong stomach and it will all be okay.

  47. Can’t say I’ve had the pleasure of being licked by an exotic creature, but I _was_ sneezed on by an elephant once…

    Best I can come up with for the meaning of life is “Do what you must and enjoy the rest.”

  48. Oh my God Jenny, that picture is amazing. It is strange, mystical and you look like a goddess. It’s perfect.

  49. I once rubbed noses with a camel. Nothing has ever come close to that again. I’m quite jealous of your giraffe encounter. I love the peace on your face in that photo.

    Speak your truth, see your truth, know your truth, love your truth – a mantra I TRY to apply to my life.

  50. The glass is neither half full nor half empty; which half you want depends on whether you’re drowning or dessicated.

  51. One time an ostrich performed a mating dance for me. Beats getting attacked, I think. Still weird, though.

  52. Having a 8 week old baby may not count as insomnia, but I’m awake right now, regardless.

    Baby cuddles. The softness of the hair on the back of her head. And thinking about how, someday, my husband will convince her that the meaning of life is 42. Sometimes life is knowing that this all keeps going, even the seemingly ridiculous bits. 🙂

  53. I’m partial to Vonnegut’s “So it goes.”
    Then there’s Shakespeare’s “Expectation is the root of all heartache” which is something I try to remember to avoid disappointment. I somehow always end up disappointed anyway.
    I love the picture! You and the giraffe are gorgeous.

  54. I got sneezed on at close range by a baby elephant one time. At the time I thought it was shit, but now I think it was the shit.

  55. Converstation between me and my, fighting cancer with all he’s got, father.
    Dad: This is not going to have a happy ending.
    Me (fighting a few tears): One day at a time. One after the other.
    Dad: I just want to mow the lawn.
    Me: Dear God! Why?
    Dad: I love it. You just go round and round and no one bothers me.

    Dad has been right about nearly everything so far. It’s about mowing the lawn eh.

    PS, it’s winter here and there’s still piles of bloody snow over everything!

  56. I don’t have a clever insight to the meaning of life. But i do find life meaningless without other folks to share it with. Tonight, wide awake and a little lonely while it seems all my friends are far away (not to mention sleeping), this blog post and its comments gave me a little more meaning–for just a few minutes. But a few minutes really matter.

  57. A good life… should start out with “This (situation) reminds me of a Sponge Bob episode…!”
    when recounting it to a friend. My 8-year-old says this to me with laughter in his voice about once a week!

  58. I sat on a live crocodile once, certainly made me appreciate life, if not the meaning of it.

    The meaning of life is love, love God, love others, love yourself and let them love you

  59. I don’t know the meaning of life, but I know the meaning of MY life. And it’s this: write. Write about it all – the good stuff and the crap; the pain and the successes.

    And do it whilst drinking damn good coffee.

    That’s all I got…

  60. Shit happens, chocolate helps. This is an excellent sentiment for greeting cards – make sure you include a chocolate frog – for divorces, pet deaths, job loss….you get the picture

  61. While having a complete meltdown over something trivial but my brain was treating it like it was the end of the world, a dear friend said to me:

    Him: Pony, do you need a straw?
    Me: Huh? *sniffles* For what?
    Him: So you can suck it the fuck up!

    I sat there stunned for a few seconds then burst out laughing. So to me, that is what life is all about. Sucking it up. All there is to have. The good, the bad, and the omfg it’s far worse than I ever could have imagined then living through it to share with others.

  62. That is an incredible photo. I was attacked by an emu once.

    I like Mark Haddon’s that life is prime numbers, logical but unable to work out the rules.

  63. That’s a lovely picture of you and the Giraffe. You look very serene.

    The poem Desiderata summed up my philosophy of life: “For all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”
    And it is.

  64. Beautiful picture! Each breath we take is a miracle unto itself, the possibility of a miracle a moment are with in reach – so enjoy it, experience it and if you’re a dog roll (Or if you’re not) roll around it… 🙂

  65. My Dad says I should try to leave the world better than how I found it. Maybe I’m awake so I can figure out kick-ass ways to accomplish that.

  66. Once when I was scuba diving the whales were singing and the sound vibrated through me. It felt really connecting. But I have no idea what the meaning of life is.. I just know there is always laundry to do.

  67. I am directionally challenged when it comes to driving, so my kids grew up with the motto “There are no wrong turns, only adventures, and not all adventures are fun.”

  68. If at first you don’t succeed — Oh, the hell with it, pour me a drink, instead.

    I think that pretty much covers it…. Though “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” ‘s “Don’t Panic” probably covers it pretty adequately also.

  69. Beautiful photo. I would love to get licked by a giraffe. And not just have a giraffe shaped security blankie thrown in my face each morning (even though it is coincidentally covered in saliva).

  70. “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – apparently from Churchill.
    “Things will change. They might get better, they might get worse, but they will change.” – apparently from me. (who knows I could have stolen it inadvertently)
    Both help me to know I’m not stuck in whatever situation. Like insomnia.

  71. Fun Fact: Giraffes love cotton candy.

    My thoughts on life: There are 3 types of people in the world.
    1. The kind that ride the rollercoaster so terrified that they white-knuckle it the whole time with their eyes closed, screaming.
    2. The kind that throw their hands up in the air joyously yelling “Wheeeeee!” the whole time.
    3. The kind that are so terrified that they won’t even get on the ride.

  72. “Life is like a box of chocolates…” where someone else has come along first and bitten them all in half and put back the nasty ones. Unless you learn to like the cherry creams and the one you’re not really sure what it is but it’s got nuts so it can’t be that bad. That’s my advice, enjoy the unusual and don’t mind other people’s spit.

  73. Love the picture! It’s so cool to have friends at the zoo, and that they even let you drive the golf cart!

  74. It’s funny that you bring up the meaning of life because I just had that talk with my son yesterday. He said he wished we could all live forever so we could see all of the beautiful things in the world. I told him that we don’t live forever because life wouldn’t seem as special. We would fight and say all the things we shouldn’t to those we love because we would never lose them forever. I told him that the meaning of life is to find your space in time and make the most of it. Some people are driven to be famous, others to save the world. Some just want to be the best parents they can be while others seek a way to find meaning in all of the heartache and happiness, loss and rebirth.
    He’s 12 so we’ll see if he remembers or was even listening.

  75. So right now, it’s 6:30am and I’m watching a DVR’d Sesame Street with my 3yo and 8weekold. The writers of Sesame Street mashed Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger with Red Riding Hood. I love finding shit like that because the meanning of life is a silly question.

    And it’s a good thing this whole skit was completely ridiculous because they brought up that Mr Hooper was dead (Alan runs Mr Hooper’s Store, now a lunch counter, and Red kept calling him Mr hooper). In a weird way, I miss him more than relatives who are also dead.

  76. Everone you will ever meet (and that includes on the Internet these days) is either better or worse off for having known you.

    My mother told me that and I’ve carried it with me. It’s a huge responsibility but also an awesome opportunity. I believe the world is not fair – there’s no cosmic leveller going to sort it out for us, it’s our responsibility, our purpose in life is to make it better for each other.

  77. What a beautiful pic.! My life philosophy: treat others how you like to be treated, have fun, and hope for lots of love in your life. 🙂

  78. Okay, first of all, I am freaking out because commenter Nicole made me realize that I am breathing Shakespeare’s used air. I’m not sure whether to be thrilled at that prospect or completely grossed out.

    But then it dawned on me; this means that I could also be breathing the air that Jake Gyllenhaal, Gerard Butler, and Ryan Gosling have breathed. It’s almost like I have kissed them! So, from now on, I’m going to tell people that I have totally made out with Jake, Gerard, and Ryan.

    And I’m adopting the meaning of life motto of the husband of commenter Kathryn, “Fuck it, drive on” (FIDO), because that’s perfect.

    And dearest, beloved Jenny: Victor is a very lucky man! He has a very humorous, wonderfully unique, always-keeps-him-guessing exciting, and a classic beauty wife. You are so lovely!

  79. “It is what it is” is a favorite over here…except the “is” usually sucks ass, but it just is.

  80. Is it the proximity to the giraffe, or do you have crazy long fingers?

    No, that wasn’t the meaning of life.

    If I knew the meaning of life, I probably wouldn’t know that I knew it.


  81. Oh no, AtticCrazy… Now I’ve made out with Ryan, Jake, and Gerard. Worse yet, by proximity I’ve made out with the guy down the street even more…and he’s a complete tool!

    I’ve stopped breathing now from the panic attack.

  82. The Meaning of Life is love. The rest is all details.

    The Meaning of Life is also a great, if kind of odd, Monty Python movie.

    I’ve never been licked by a giraffe, but I was once attacked by a goose who was apparently trying to bite my leg off.

  83. Forgot to add, that is an absolutely gorgeous pic. Worthy of some kind of award.

  84. I once served as a perch for a saw whet owl – well, just the pointer finger of my left hand – who then proceeded to groom him/herself. So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.

    As for the meaning of life? I can’t quite come up with the phrasing, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with friends, laughter, good food, and purring cats.

  85. Loving the photo Jenny.. beautiful & serene.

    “FISH” – fuck it, shit happens. (this is kinda new to me, but I like it!)

    Life is about the journey, not the destination. My journey right now is up & down in my head & heart, with so much going on.. and just pressing on and trying to keep things moving in a forward direction.

  86. There’s a great quote from the book Hotel New Hampshire: “Keep passing the open windows.” In other words, don’t jump. Keep moving on. That may not be the meaning of life, but sometimes it is what you need to get yourself through the night.

  87. Ostriches are TERRIFYING. I took my kid to a safari park near here… the giraffes wanted nothing to do with us, but the ostriches were very aggressive. I used to think they were all adorable and stuff but now I know they are the stuff of NIGHTMARES. Giant, staring eyes… and they won’t stop pecking at your baby… THE HORROR.

  88. I said to my husband last night that I guess I’ll just be miserable until one of us dies. I don’t think that’s a very cheery meaning of life though. I think the giraffe thing would be way better. Someone get me a giraffe. Or at least make the next 12 hours go really fast so I can get to new Doctor Who.

  89. Oh and Sweetie, yea, I got licked by a giraffe once. Awesome. Having been born with a lingual tongue tie I can’t stick my tongue out, and no I can’t do that, and also I can’t trill and R which made me lose a letter grade in Spanish. You have no IDEA of the envy I have for the giraffe . . . 🙂

  90. I almost got licked by a giraffe once. Actually, my husband thought it was hilarious to feed him a leaf right by my boob. So the picture looks like the giraffe is licking my boob. Good times…

  91. In the immortal words of Walt Disney, “Keep moving forward.” (from Meet the Robinsons)

  92. I’ve been licked by a giraffe, I made my kids do it too.
    I would add, be loved by a wolf pack. Be utterly trustd by an animal. And get snotted on by a whale. You know cuz then you can say you got snotted on by a whale 😉

  93. GREAT pic!!! Stunning. =)

    I think the meaning of life, of all of it, the Great Big Answer, is just to try and figure out how to love. The RIGHT way. . . .ourselves, animals, others, our planet. . . all of it.

    Now I’m off to befriend my local zookeeper. =)

  94. Life is about strength. Strong coffee, a strong sense of humor and a strong will to survive – even if it is just to choke out the person in the “10 items or less” grocery line, who has a full cart.

    Robert Frost also wrote a little ditty called, “My Own Epitaph.”

    “Life is a jest, and all things show it.
    I thought so once, but now I know it.”

  95. If Frost was so great he would have found a way to cheat death…
    As for the zoo connection, you rock beyond belief, Jenny!

  96. My summation of life depends on my mood; on bad days its probably not suitable for print. But I tend to go slightly more succinctly than frost with ‘it happens’, because well – i’ve discovered its going to whether you like it or not, regardless of how far you hide under the bed (unless you’ve got a wormhole under there I suppose…) and really, sometimes all you can do is shake your head and ask – is this really happening?
    To which the universe will undoubtedly answer you with ‘oh, you thought _that_ was hard to swallow! Just wait..’ and you’re left there shaking your head going ‘so, this is a thing. that is happening. I’m going to need another cup of coffee’ and thus the days go on.
    And yes somedays there is a decided ‘Sh’ component which fits nicely at the beginning of that summary.
    Hi. Sorry. I’m a longtime lurker and Its 1am, its been a long day and I have reached my philosophical and sensical limits. But you asked and i’ve had enough easter eggs to kick me into a sugar rush/insomniac fueled posting ;p

    Also, being attacked by an ostrich sounds perilous, I have enough issues with swans and geese, and they generally only go for the knees; so I might forgo that experience i’m afraid. Also I do not blame the zoo for limiting the crashing of golf carts. At one point my life lesson was ‘buy a brick house; mobility scooters are more likely to bounce off (when driven in reverse at speed by dangerous non-road/sidewalk/driveway/anywhere safe mother-in-law-by-proxy’s.) Try explaining having to replace a large chunk of exterior cladding and match paint because its been backed into by a scooter…Brick houses people, safer in the long run.

    Aaand this would be why you don’t encourage late night ramblings. I’ll just go over – somewhere else now (sorry)

  97. This looks like an ad for a new reality show – “the giraffe whisperer”

  98. I’ve been licked by a giraffe and you’re right, it’s awesome.
    Now, if I could only add a donkey named Rastus to my motley crew of animals, my life will be full and complete.

  99. Find your tribe. That is the meaning of life- having a tribe of people in your life- the ones who know you-the real you and get you and love you and support you. And have a hell of a lot of fun together while doing it. So for anyone young, don’t be afraid to be exactly who you are, beacuse that is how you find your tribe. And it sucks to wait until you’re 40 to have it when it could have been all along if you had just been brave enough or known that other people have the same weird shit going on that you do.

  100. I’ve done both of those things, and in one day! You don’t have to sneak backstage at a zoo; just visit Fossil Rim in Glen Rose (or some other wildlife park). I feel so accomplished now!

  101. You now have me pondering existential matters, and also wondering whether or not that giraffe is really alive or just a beautiful example of fine taxidermy. You are also very beautiful, by the way.

  102. Holy canoli, what a cool photo. Unfortunately I am far too shy to befriend any zoo workers, but giraffes are my favorite.

    That is such a beautiful picture, I am very jealous!

    And I have no motto. Maybe: “Shit I stepped in a puddle again.”

  103. I’ve been licked by a giraffe. It is quite cool. Never been attacked by an ostrich though. Thank GOD! I think I’ll some up life with a quick: Screw it.

  104. I once snuck into the elephant barn at the Amsterdam zoo, and got to pet the baby elephants. Turns out they’re hairy and not that pleasant to pet. But they are cute and friendly so it was worth it. Then we got caught and kicked out. To sum up life: live it up and try not to get caught.

  105. Things I have learned about life:

    There are farm poeple and their are non-farm poeple, but you should probably figure out which is which before you invite them to your house to see your chickens.

  106. I dont have much to say about life other than sometimes it sucks less than others.

    I can say having a sister who worked at a zoo, I have petted a pigmy hippo, been snarled at & stalked by a black panther, been licked by a giraffe and touched the hand of a baby gorilla. Of course, the adult male gorilla tried to throw himself through the window to kill me & threw feces at me. And also? Gorillas smell really bad.

  107. When shit gets hard I remember advice my dad gave me when I was about 13, which is, “it’s better then a slap in the belly with a dead fish.” At 38 it is still my fucked up yet poignant mantra.

  108. Keep calm and act like you know what you are doing. I have that taped over my desk at work, but in a place where only I can see it. No need for everyone else to know I’m lost, too.

  109. To me life is what you make it. Loved ones, dogs(pets), and friends help you make it worthwhile.

  110. The secrets to life are simple… it’s all about timing, headspace and perspective.. Nail those, and you’ve got it made. And if you DO manage to nail them… please let me know how you did it!!!!!

    I’ve been loved on by an oppossum… not as cute as a giraffe, ot as wierd as an ostrich… but It happened on live TV, so that’s something… right?

    Oh, and Nichole… the 16 year old… Girl, you’ve got it figured out, or as good as anyone really can. I wish I was half as smart as you, when I was that age.

  111. Life is pain, but pain reminds you that you’re alive. Getting a tattoo, childbirth, burning your finger cooking dinner for your wife, losing a loved one or pet, going to work every day so you can afford trips to the zoo…you see where I’m going with all of this…:)

    Alternativly, life is singing “The World is Such a Brilliant Place” every damn day and meaning it.

  112. The long, long eyelashes of baby giraffes (and baby calves for that matter) are almost enough to undo my bad mood created by finding out that I agree with something that Bill O’Reilly said. Got my grump on over that for a minute. (Thinking about baby cow eyelashes….baby cow eyelashes….baby cow eyelashes….zen zen zen).

    Hope you are OK from the ostrich encounter. Eeek.

  113. “Life’s a bitch and then it has puppies.” (And sometimes it even does it in your favorite chair.)

  114. I got to pet an adult cheetah at a wildlife preservation site. It was wonderful. She purred and rubbed up against the fence. Her fur was thick and nappy. What a beautiful creature. Her mate just stood back and huffed at us. He was a little scary.

  115. I’ve been attacked by an ostrich and kissed by a giraffe, so I’m right there with ya. Oh, and that is a gorgeous portrait!

  116. “The average life is full of near misses and absolute hits, of great love and small disasters. It’s made up of banana milkshakes, loft insulation, and random shoes. It’s dead ordinary and truly truly amazing. What you’ve got to realise is it’s all here now. So breathe deep and swallow it whole because take it from me, life just whizzes by.”
    —Eugene Jones – Torchwood

  117. Mr. Spouse has also been licked by a giraffe! More accurately, he was given a Wet Willie by a gigantic bull of a giraffe and he would not like me to tell the story (so of course I will). We were at a drive through safari park when a neighboring car decided to share their strawberries with the tall pied beasties. They handed one through the car windows to Mr. Spouse, who somehow attracted the attention of Papa Giraffe, who sauntered *over* the car( and from that vantage point, he was obviously a bull. There was NO mistaking the beastie’s gender, let me tell you. I fully believe he was not only the proud papa of the baby giraffes at the park but perhaps every baby giraffe ever born, anywhere. It was impressive… erm.. equipment.)

    Anyway, Papa Giraffe loved the strawberry so much he gave Mr. Spouse a big smooch. In the ear. With a very nimble and slimy tongue. Many loud eww’s ensued . Sadly there are no pictures or recordings of the episode and Mr. Spouse has threatened me should I try to recreate the event as a photo op with any conveniently giraffe-colored dogs. Dammit.

    (And yes, it is very very wrong to feed the wildlife park animals anything but the official food, and yes, too many cars with strawberries would make the giraffes (or the dog) sick, and you should NEVER do anything like that but we were young, the strawberries were free, the giraffes were tall, and these things happen sometimes. Blame it on young love. )

  118. Oh. And my husband is going to be very upset that he has to add giraffe to the list of animals he has to help me cuddle.

    Back when I was working, the shelter I worked at took in two black bears that had been rescued from some road side tourist trap. The highlight of my life came the first time I got to feed a black bear Nutter Butters and give him a belly rub. Although I would not suggest this as an activity to try with any random black bear you might meet in the woods.

  119. It happens so frequently when I read your posts that it feels like useless noise to say it every time, but it’d be wrong not to express it: I LOVE YOU. That is all.

  120. I saw the picture before I read the rest of the post and thought, “Wow! She’s taking the ‘quiet pet’ collection to a whole new level. Victor’s gonna LOSE IT!” After reading the post I scrutinized the picture for several minutes in order to convince myself that the giraffe neck in question was, in fact, attached to the rest of a giraffe offscreen.

  121. I have been licked a giraffe and peed on by a rhino. I prefer the licking but that is just me!

  122. Gorgeous photo! I’ve been chased by a goose, a possum, and a garter snake. None got close enough to lick, or bite, me.

    There are so many wonderful choices here. But I think “happiness is a warm puppy” sums up my view of life.

  123. Taste everything (except the smelly guy picking his nose next to you on the bus). Appreciate everything (except the fact that his tattoo is staring at you, IT’S STARING AT YOU). Love everyone (even that guy, but just in your heart – don’t go hugging that creep).

  124. I have feed giraffes, dolphins, and sean lions. However my funniest experience was being sneezed on by a sea lion. The Little guy had just kissed me on the cheek, during a meet and greet; then sneezed on me covering me in sea lion snot……..no doubt as he was as he was allergic to my assume perfume.

  125. I’ll steal something from Frost too … and butcher it a little: Take the road less traveled. It’ll make all the difference but make sure you have a charged cell phone so you can call for backup if you get lost.

  126. Find what brings you joy. Do that.
    Be yourself. The most you you can be.
    Focus on the awesome and you’ll get more of it.

  127. Meaning of life? Two things: First, Yoda was wrong; it’s all in the trying. Second, only kids really know (reference 16-year-old Nicole’s comment, #10).

  128. Well, I’ve been peed on by a Siberian Tiger. Don’t know for sure if that has anything to do with the meaning of life, but it makes a great story (for my husband!) at a cocktail party – – if we ever went to cocktail parties.

    Never saw it coming – – the next time you think you have a great wild animal photo op, think again (or at least pay better attention than I obviously did).

    You’re welcome

  129. According to George Carlin, life is a series of dogs. I concur, except for me, it’s more a series of animals which include dogs.

  130. I used to work at a zoo, in herpetology. I still adore frogs and all things turtle. But it reinforced my notion of liking birds…somewhere else. They’re great company but I don’t want them in my house.

    FWIW, that picture of you is lovely. And zookeepers are definitely good friends to have. Anyone who agrees to make so little money doing such hard work obviously loves animals. And people who love animals are good people.

    We find our own meaning to life, it’s part of the journey.

  131. Oh, Jenny, your blog makes me laugh so hard. But that photo is so serene that today it just makes me feel happy inside.

  132. I don’t have any idea how to sum up life. It is what it is, I guess. Some of us got great hands, and some of us got shit.

    I once got bit in the butt by a baby leopard and then later adopted by a bobcat. He curled up on my shoulders and went to sleep.

    Your giraffe picture screams for an explanation.

  133. I’m not with the In Crowd here, but I wanted you to know that you’re really pretty and you make me want to buy myself some boobs.

  134. I don’t know what I would say. I can’t think of anything better than the being licked by a giraffe one. Maybe this:

    Life is a succession of tears-inducing laughter moments filled with days in between.

  135. There is so much awesome up in here. You and the giraffe look very at peace. I suggest you start a photo album called Zen and Giraffes. Throw in some screamy ostrich now and then to wake people up.

  136. Also:

    What you do to others, you do to yourself. What you do to yourself, you do to others.
    Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. (Thanks, Yoda!)
    Every moment is a memory: this too shall pass.

  137. I’m not convinced that the giraffe isn’t the the latest wall mounted addition to your house…

    Life is life-y. I think of Winston Churchill’s quote “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” There will be failures in life, it’s a part of life. The successes come when you’re able to continue moving forward.*

    Yeah he also said “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” which probably has more to do with life because, you know, he directly mentions LIFE in it, but I like the other one better.

    *Still working on it…

  138. The secret to life according told to me by the all knowing College Sophomore while I was a Freshman (many many years ago) is the instructions on the outside of a Taco Bell soft taco package. Unfortunately I think they removed those instructions so I’m not sure how future generations will find the secret to life.

  139. NOTE: Number 5 is totally my favorite.
    [lahyf] noun, plural lives [lahyvz] Show IPA , adjective
    the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.

    the sum of the distinguishing phenomena of organisms, especially metabolism, growth, reproduction, and adaptation to environment.

    the animate existence or period of animate existence of an individual: to risk one’s life; a short life and a merry one.

    a corresponding state, existence, or principle of existence conceived of as belonging to the soul: eternal life.

    the general or universal condition of human existence: Too bad, but life is like that.

  140. “the secret of life is there ain’t no secret
    and you don’t get your money back” -Faith Hill song

  141. Robert Frost is correct, life does go on. It’s just that, after you’re dead, you’re no longer involved.

  142. Life – Just like a “Happy endings” massage place, it can blow and also give you herpes. So watch out. The End!

  143. as seen on a bumper sticker because we all know they have the best advise!

    Wag More

    Bark Less

  144. I have had a smidge of bad luck with wildlife. Have been bitten by a turtle and a duck, chased by a belligerent goose and swan. Awesome picture by the way.

  145. My attempts:
    I started loving llamas when one sneezed all over me. (i.e. Beautiful things can come out of horrible situations)
    Your worst day is the “best day ever” daydream of someone else.

  146. I kinda like “soak up as much information as you can and don’t make any sudden movements.” as coined by my best friend.

  147. Best rap album title, and possibly the secret to happiness: When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold.

  148. The meaning of life is deep in those teeth clenching moments when you think you’ve got it all in front of you; and then quickly realize that it could end any moment. Such as when you have that ‘close call’ in traffic. Or realize, hey…maybe it wasn’t the best idea to hold that peeing frog over the electric fence!
    As was so eloquently stated by…..someone….it’s in those “moments that take our breath away.”

  149. Okay, now by “make friends” do you mean “kiss them on the mouth?” Because that’s my instinct, but I feel like I might need a double check on that one.

  150. Is it strange and stalker-ish that I want to hang that photo on my wall? There’s something deeply kind and gentle about it that makes me smile.

  151. oh ! thats a lovely photo of you and a girraffe.
    (er. it is alive, isn’t it?)

  152. The meaning of life? I dunno. The closest I came to discovering it was when my neighbor’s dog pooped on my lawn (not really much of a lawn, more like a 3 by 5 foot patch of grass, but the landlord INSISTED that it was a lawn) and I stepped in it barefooted. At first I was furious, but the neighbor’s dog looked so ashamed (how ARE dogs able to do that?), I couldn’t stay mad. BUT, I learned what it feels like, literally, to step in shit. And… that’s about the closest I’ve gotten to knowing what life is all about: it’s squishy, sometimes warm, sometimes stinky, but it washes off.

  153. You know Jenny. This might possibly be the best picture of you I have ever seen. Everything is perfectly at peace.

    Love you, love your blog, love your book, carry on, and stay away from cemetaries with lots of angel statues. Not blinking is hard

  154. First things first: As a former travel agent and current stay-at-home-mom, I offer the following piece of advice. You are of absolutely no value to anyone if you don’t do this:

    Put on your own oxygen mask first.

    Now that you’ve done that, the thing to bear in mind with every second of every minute of your life:

    This too shall pass.

    Know that, and things will look very good, very bad, and very urgent. It’s life.

  155. Getting licked by a giraffe is unforgettable, a little gross, and undeniably awesome 🙂 I’ve had the experience several times and am ready to do it again.

    Life may not have a meaning but it has had a lesson for me. Almost a year ago, my daughter needed open heart surgery. She was just seven months old and it was a terrifying experience. I listened to a song by Matt Hammitt a lot leading up to, during, and after surgery called “All of Me” and a line really resonated with me–“I won’t let sadness steal you from my arms.” It is easy to get caught up in worry and fear and sadness and what ifs. I try to remind myself that those negative emotions and thoughts steal my time with my loved ones and since life can change in a moment, I want to look for the joy, not the sadness.

  156. That is, quite possibly, the most beautiful picture of calm acceptance that I’ve ever seen.
    Congratulations – I can feel the peace from here…..

  157. Figuring this out is going to take a while. So why don’t we all dance some to MC Hammer in the meantime?

  158. I like your summary. Mine, less funny and not quite honed yet, would be something along the lines of: “Life is letting go of what you thought it was going to be.” Which is depressing and also not.

  159. I don’t have anything profound to add. I do want to say that is an awesome picture of you with giraffe. 🙂

  160. Life is like ice cream. Enjoy it while you have it because it will melt before you know it. It’s also better with chocolate. Everything’s better with chocolate.

  161. That is the most amazing photo in the history of photos. If I had a photo of myself hanging out with a giraffe, I’d blow it up giant-sized and hang a copy in every room of my house. Possibly on every wall, even. Lovely!!

  162. I got to touch a giraffe once. It was awesome. The zoo had this sort of elevated lookout which the giraffes could, if they felt like it, wander over to, and be at sort of eye-level to the tiny people standing up there. Those creatures have some amazing tongues.

  163. What a lovely photo–yes, you really should see if you can make that your author photo for your next book. (Um, there will be another one at some point, right?…) Between growing up in northern NH, spending 8.5 years in Athens, GA, and now living in the inner Boston ‘burbs, I’m waaaaay more familiar with wildlife of varying kinds than I ever expected or wanted to be. For starters: my brother was trampled by a moose while hiking on Cannon Mountain in NH about 20 years ago; apparently ER staff at your typical small-town hospital are sufficiently boggled at the very idea of such a thing happening that they neglect to do things like, oh, give you your damn tetanus shot and actually notice that you have not one, but two scalp lacerations that need stitching. (Brother, BTW, is fine now, and please don’t quote that bit fromMonty Python and the Holy Grail, OK? I’ve heard it way too many times before…)

    Now if you’d just come back to Boston sometime…I missed you when you were here before, damn it, and I’d like to make it up to you in the form of seriously lethal baked goods. 🙂

  164. I’ve always liked the phrase “this, too, shall pass.” It helps me get through the shitty times because I know all the pain, depression, exhaustion, frustration, anger and hopelessness are temporary; that, given time, I’ll feel comfort, joy, enthusiasm, gratitude and hope, and they, too, will be replaced again with the harder feelings and so on and so on. It reminds me to cherish the good moments because I know they will be gone faster than I can believe and come again before I know it.

  165. Addendum to my post:

    I also love Inara’s quote from the last episode of Firefly. Petaline is giving birth, and in enormous amounts of pain, and Inara tells her, “This is just a moment in time; step aside and let it happen.”

    This has been a helpful piece of advice for some of the more unpleasant moments life has offered up.

  166. This has nothing to do with this post but I just wanted to get this to you. I was reminded of the part of your book talking about the idea of what home use to be. I loved your entire book but that part was so true. I just broke and cried after reading it. It was a bitter sweet sentiment. It’s also so wonderful when you have that “wow…someone else totally gets it” moment.

    And here is the pin:


  167. The meaning of life? “Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.” Do aquariums count? Because
    I once got chased around the “authorized personnel only” area of an aquarium by a herd of puffins. Now, that’s life!

  168. There are lots of wise readers here! I felt like it took me a long time (more than 30 years, to be exact) to figure out these secrets of life:

    * Every thing and every one is temporary. whatever you’re suffering or enjoying is just a snapshot in time.
    * Identify the things that you’re interested in and learn a lot about them. This will make you interesting.
    * You will acclimate to your level of happiness and forget to appreciate things. But, enthusiasm and appreciation make everything better.
    * And, this is huge but, it really is okay to have small breasts. Padded bras will make your clothes fit just fine, and they’re much more convenient than lugging around large boobs. I hear.

  169. My husband and I were debating a taxidermy ostrich for our newly finished basement. So, of course I came here only to find the title of your post referring to said ostrich. Where would one find a taxidermy ostrich?

  170. I don’t know if its the meaning of life but I’m partial to the ideals of the bohemians in Moulin Rouge: Beauty, Truth Freedom and most of all Love.
    I also now have the scene where Christian is singing to Satine for the first time inside the elephant playing on repeat in in my head.
    I think that means i need to go to sleep now cuz I sure didn’t sleep last night thanks to friends that still think closing a bar is fun… I shoulda left them there to find their own way home but I didn’t.

  171. Baby giraffess can cure almost anything. Awesome picture, thought…especially because no one looks like taxidermy.

  172. most beautiful pic ever. I want to come play at your zoo.

    The most profound thing I can say about life I learned from yoga. Be present in the moment. This moment right now. This is what you have.

    “There is only one world, the world pressing against you at this minute. There is only one minute in which you are alive, this minute here and now. The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle.”
    Storm Jameson

  173. I was just watching a vlog by a curatorial assistant who is deeply into taxidermy and it made me think of you. Her name is Emily Graslie and you should check out her youtube channel, particularly that video, which is a recommended reading list and includes a book that apparently goes into some detail about a man who liked to pose taxidermied kittens having tea parties and playing croquet.

  174. Got bit on the butt by a penguin, bit on the hand by a tiny octopus and had a parrot attempt to mate with my slippered foot. All totally fantastic experiences. (Boyfriend was a bit disgusted with the whole slipper incident, but he was probably just jealous )

    I always liked this quote of my Dad’s… It’s better than a sharp stick in the heck eye.

  175. Darn you tiny keyboard on my phone!
    “It’s better than a sharp stick in the eye”

  176. Life is a cookie. There is the cookie part that is everything we all have to do :work, go to school, buy french fries, etc. Its fine and yummy if you look at it right, but everyone knows that the chocolate chips are the best part. And the chocolate chips are us. Who we chose to be, kinda like if the chocolate is light or dark. We have to decide.

  177. Is it anything like getting licked by puppies? Cos that’s always kind of nice.

    Way better than being licked by a horse, I assure you.
    They can’t vomit.

    The breath.
    Oh. Sweet. Jesus.
    The Breath.

  178. Life is meant to teach our souls lessons that they still need to learn. Sometimes those are hard lessons; sometimes they are filled with happiness and joy. The trick is not to let fear rule our lives, to remember that we never truly die, and to always listen to our intuition and our guides.

    And I agree with others that say we must be mindful and in the moment. There is only now. We don’t know what the future holds, so we must savor each moment, and make the most of them.

  179. I was always partial to this quote:
    “There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.”

    Carin, “It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick” was one of my mom’s favorite things to say.

  180. There is a place in Vallejo, CA Called Marine World (Six Flags). You can feed the Giraffe there and sometime they will lick your hand. It amazing, and about 1 hour from San Francisco!

  181. Did you happen to see this weeks postsecret? The only thing that came to mind after seeing the last 3 videos posted at the bottom was you, so I thought you’d like that. Happiness to you!

  182. Beautiful photo.

    Personal mantra: Don’t sweat petty things and don’t pet sweaty things (unless you want too.)

    Meaning of life? Love. In all its forms.

    As usual, you are a ray of light, a voice of hope and shared hilarity all rolled into one yummy cheese ball that was rolled in crushed nuts and covered in raspberry sauce. Now I want a snack.

    Oh, and Thank You. This post is wonderful.

  183. I can remember doing the drive-thru safari thing at Six Flags (only in my part of New Jersey, we called it Great Adventure) and the giraffes licking the windshield of the car. I think I also pet a giraffe at some park in Florida or something, when I was small. I sat on my dad’s shoulders, and that made me high enough to reach them; it wasn’t actually a petting zoo.

  184. Do it as if there was fire in your skin.
    “It” being everything you ever do.
    What the heck are you waiting for? You’re going to be dead a really long time.

  185. Please, please, PLEASE… we want the ostrich attack video! We don’t care if it’s screamy. We’ll turn the volume down. We NEED to see it.

  186. And by we, I mean me and your fans. Not me and my alternate personalities. That would just be weird.

  187. You and a giraffe, two of my favorites in a gorgeous! Photo. That photo is going to be printed and added to my “look at these photos while you are finding your calm headspace” book, thank you for that

  188. My favorite life quote of all time: Some days you’re the windshield and some days you’re the bug.

    I SO wish I had come up with that.

    Also, now I REALLY want to get licked by a giraffe.

  189. THAT is a beautiful picture. I hope you have it framed and hanging on your wall.

  190. Life Lessons I Have Learned the Hard Way. Don’t wear anything shiny (and this includes buttons) around an ostrich. It makes them mad. Nobody else knows what’s best for you. You won’t learn a damn thing unless you make mistakes, because you’re too hardheaded to learn the easy way. Aside from that, I love the giraffe photo. You both look so calm and content.

  191. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in “when I get to _____, THEN I will be happy/enjoy life/relax, etc.” Gotta embrace the journey..the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all…or else you look up and wonder where your life went.

  192. Yeah you should definitely have that framed on your wall. You should also make it nice and big because it looks beautiful.

  193. Pretty picture Jenny!

    Okay sum up life … sum up life …

    Alright – here we go: 1 Kings 20:11

    “One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.”

  194. Awww. No fair. I don’t think our zoo even has Giraffes. That is too awesome. I did pet a wolf once but it started to nip at me so I think I’ll stick to petting leaf-eaters and domesticated animals now.

  195. My view of life is to keep standing. Unless you feel like you are going to fall down. Then, beat life to it and just lay down on the floor so you don’t hurt yourself too badly. Perhaps take a snack with you. And a bottle of wine.

    I’ve not ever had any real experiences with wild animals, except the time we trapped 2 chipmunks in a garbage can and then screamed like crazy when they somehow managed to jump up, knock the top off and escape. I can only IMAGINE the reaction to being attacked by an ostrich, which is definitely larger than 2 chipmuncks.

  196. I love giraffes! They are beautiful and graceful and fully-grown ones are terrifying up close. Especially when they know you have snacks for them.

  197. I wrote a book. I had kids. (Still have them.) I came out. I bought a farm. I stole a bouquet from a wedding. (Yesterday.) I rescued dogs. I volunteered at a shelter. I taught people to spin yarn. I knitted a shitload of stuff. I slept with lots of great people, and regret none. Ok maybe that one guy, he turned out to be an asshole. I married an awesome guy and have a faithful, functional, loving marriage. I came to grips with my family. I was sent to a psychiatric hospital. I got out of said hospital. I finished my degree. I nursed a nearly dead baby chick back to health. I made scones. I breastfed. I halter trained a donkey. I buried my grandparents. I knew them first. I lost my faith. I found peace about that. I have another book to write.

    So yeah … I guess life is pretty damn grand.

  198. I used to work in wildlife rehabilitaion and I have been peed on, walked on, and licked by bobcats, foxes, owls, javalina, buzzards, coati mundi, raccoons. Your picture is the best. I saw a giraffe pick its own nose with its tongue once. I know a woman who works in sercurity who gave a penguin a pat down. Happiness is a choice. I chose to read your book and blog. Now I’m happy. Thanks.

  199. Colorado Springs Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, go. You can feed the giraffes there. In fact one tries to make out with my husband every time we go. True story. I have pictures.

  200. I opened a fast food restaurant (which shall not be named) at a zoo oncet long ago.

    I learned quickly that the unshaven and unbathed zoo employees hated corporate America and fast food.

    Plus also? They were stoned about 90% of the time.

    Which explains giraffes.

    But since they hated fast food, I have no idea what they ate when they were stoned.

    Giraffe burgers and hay?

  201. One of my very favorite quotes is, “Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain”. I don’t know who wrote it.

    Keep dancing, everyone!.

    Awesome photo, by the way.

  202. I love your commentators. Life is a very heavy blue at the moment, and they are giving me the smiles. Also, I want to meet #77’s dad.

  203. We all deserve to be happy.

    We all need a good therapist.

    Here for a good time, not a long time.

    Peace out!

  204. My step-kid got licked by a giraffe once. He had a horrible case of ringworm on his face the next day. Gross. So glad to send him home to his mother after that one.

  205. It’s true about the zoos. I’ve had some wonderful experiences with the kids at the zoo, going along with the zoo keepers when they were feeding the animals. Especially during the ‘off-season’, because then the keepers are happy to have company and actually want to tell you all sorts of secrets and fun stories about the animals.

    I have never been licked by a giraffe, though. Love the photo. That is pretty fucking Ninja!

    Don’t know the meaning of life, but my personal motto is: Life is what you make of it. No more, no less.

    What I told the kids when they were younger – which they hated, by the way was: Life isn’t fair, never was and never will be. Deal with it!

  206. Omg I want to be friends with the giraffes!! Wait.. thats what you said.. right?

    xo Ashley

  207. I’ve got nothing to add to the discussion except this: if you have never read the comments posted by the readers of this blog, you are really missing out. These are the weirdest people who have the weirdest things happen to them – and the really weird thing is…they are not weird at all. This is a place where everyone fits because weird shit happens to EVERYONE. Honestly, when Jenny posted that she’d been licked by a giraffe, I thought “how strange, who gets licked by a giraffe” and then I read the comments and thought “ah, that’s who gets licked by a giraffe.” Thank goodness Jenny’s Tribe is willing to post their stories. It makes me feel less weird and more accepted (although I have never been licked by a giraffe, my kid got to pet a rhino).

  208. I have nothing else to say, but I am mesmerised by the photo! It’s just lovely – and I love giraffes (especially baby ones)! 🙂

  209. That photo is gorgeous. That’s all I have to say… mainly because I can’t sum up life any better than you did.

  210. brb making friends with people at zoos. I think I have a good chance since my mom worked in one when I was a kid.

  211. When I was about 10 yrs old, that’s about 40yrs ago now, my best friend told me that giraffes – or maybe it was camels – have EXTREMELY sticky tongues and that if you ever got licked by one you would never be able to extricate yourself from the tongue of the beast. Giraffe or camel, it doesn’t matter. I am terrified to be licked by either. The meaning of life? It plays out exactly the way it is supposed to play out. If you’re lucky you will get to experience it all – love, hate, joy, elation, births, marriages, deaths. All of it.

  212. Frost is one of my two favorite poets. He lived in VT near where I went to college, and apparently was a curmudgeon. At the summer writer’s conference at Breadloaf he apparently hated when another writer read before the assembled in the Old Barn. My other favorite poet is Thomas Hardy, and I include the last two stanzas from “Darkling Thrush”. It often gets me through when I can’t find a giraffe.
    At once a voice arose among
    The bleak twigs overhead
    In a full-hearted evensong
    Of joy illimited;
    An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
    In blast-beruffled plume,
    Had chosen thus to fling his soul
    Upon the growing gloom.

    So little cause for carolings
    Of such ecstatic sound
    Was written on terrestrial things
    Afar or nigh around,
    That I could think there trembled through
    His happy good-night air
    Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
    And I was unaware.

  213. That picture is transcendent! I want to play with a giraffe. But I have a hunch that even if I make friends with the zoo people I will have to become an amazing best selling author before they’ll let me come in and play with a giraffe.

  214. All of life is inside your head. I chose to make my brain a happy place out of sheer stubborn orneriness, and even in the Dark Times, i get through.
    Happy Place, and orneriness, that’s the way for me 🙂

  215. How about this: you’re born, you go on some diets, you die.

    Orrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..it could just be that you’re just doing your best every day to not fuck up as much as possible. I’m pretty sure I’m living the first one though.

  216. I am 37 and I have no damn clue what the meaning of life is, and that fact eats at me every day. But, if I had to say, here’s my best guess: chase your joy. Fiercely fucking chase your joy, with everything you’ve got.

    I’m still struggling to figure out how to do that.

    Also, my little brother got licked by a giraffe. I was jealous.

    I was chased by a goose when I was little.

    I also want to see the screamy ostrich video.

    Odd fact: years ago I ate an ostrich burger. That was the best, most delicious damn meat I have ever eaten. Apparently no matter how much you cook it it’s always pink inside? I think I remember that.

    My dad, when he was a kid, somehow had a freaking menagerie of animals. I don’t even understand how all these animals happened into their life… there was a monkey, a baby skunk, a baby squirrel, a baby raccoon, and some others I’m forgetting. I think someone gave them the monkey. The others I think were found as stranded or orphan babies, and him and his sisters nursed them back to health and let them go.

    He must have had, like, the best childhood ever.

  217. I agree with Hannah.

    Also, I loved getting licked by a giraffe. Have rarely felt more trusted. Beautiful.

  218. I totally agree. What better way to paint it. Start at the top and before you know the whole room is done!

  219. To love God of our own free will and choice, learn to obey His commandments to the best of our ability, and treat our fellow man as we would desire to be treated.

  220. Wow. I made the mistake of quoting your summation of life on Facebook. Shortly thereafter I got a text from my well-intentioned but overly-involved mother-in-law. “Can we talk?” I called her back, thinking she wanted to firm up Easter plans, but she told me, “I’m just worried about you because you think life is shit.” I then had to explain that when something is “THE shit,” it’s really good, and was in the process of suggesting that the next time one of her grandchildren approached her with something she thought was great, that she tell them, “Well, honey that’s the shit” when my husband jumped in and yelled, “Do NOT do that – and I apologize for my wife’s potty mouth!” It was worth a shot.

  221. I absolutely love this picture. It’s full of peace, connection and harmony. I love this picture. Did I say that already?

  222. Another person who says Come to Colorado Springs! We get to feed the giraffes every time we go to the zoo (without my youngest son, who is TERRIFIED of evil snaking black giraffe tongues and has been since he was a toddler).

  223. I was once bitten by a possum and a moose once gave my friend Lyme disease, which sadly turned out to be secondary cancers and completely unrelated to moose, but on a lighter note, you are living my dream. If I ever won the lottery (I would have to start buying actual tickets), I would live in a house and grounds designed specifically around the needs of giraffes. The dining room would be 25 feet in the air so you could break out a branch of acacia for the giraffes when you start your own dinner.

    I would like to see an architect do that – no white or grey, open and airy, must accommodate both humans and the supermodels of the ruminant world.

  224. Love this pic! I’ve been licked by a giraffe and attacked by a kangaroo. Good times!
    Although I really like your meaning of life, I also like just the simple “Choose Love.” That’s it. That’s what life is about.

  225. The meaning of my life for the past 8 years has coincided extremely closely with the feeling of a baby’s ear-to-ear grin, right before he poops up to his ears, in a new suit, 5 minutes before the in-laws come by for the first time.
    It may be largely literal, but if you can hold on to that feeling inside before having to deal with the explosions of Life, you’ll come out alright.
    There is nothing in this world not made better by a poo reference…

  226. Sum up life??? Is that actually possible?

    It came to pass.

    Hardly anything lasts forever… This phrase reminds me that the bad won’t last forever, so don’t let it overwhelm me. Also reminds me that the good won’t last forever, so appreciate it in that moment.

  227. Wow! They kive you little kisses? How possible? They beasts, no? Beasts no kiss, they butt, no? Or bite. I be confuse. Beasts no kiss. What is this, photoshop?

  228. This probably says way too much about me. One of my all time favorite movies is Caddyshack and my all time favorite quote is from that movie. “You’ll get nothing and like it.” That quote pretty much sums up life for me. And I must like it or I wouldn’t stick around to see how it all turns out. I will mention that when the Zombie Apocalypse hits and all my customers (many who would NOT consider reading your book) are hiding out in the bookstore, I’m going to break the store front windows with a case of Ann Coulter books and let the zombies in. Someone should put her drivel to good use. You’re welcome, America.

  229. Summing up life seems like a pretty lofty task to me, but here goes nothing-
    LIFE: Humankind’s attempt at making sense of complete and utter nonsense

    Or maybe I don’t have the slightest clue – after all, I’ve never been licked by a giraffe or attacked by an ostrich. I obviously still have a fair amount of living to do.

  230. Ok so how’s this: sitting on an elephant (it was something one could do in the break at a circus, I think it counts 😀 )
    or: on holiday, stop the car to see nosy camels taking a good look at our car and almost sticking their head through the window of the car ^^ 😀 . Certainly adds to my “bucket list”!

  231. That picture is stunning!

    I have kissed a giraffe…or rather, it kissed me, I was in Africa and experienced so many amazing moments. It was thrilling!

    An earlier post mentioned building a house to accomodate giraffes…check out Giraffe Manor, a bed and breakfast in Kenya, where giraffes roam the grounds are welcome in the house (from the neck up!).

  232. Well the obvious answer to the meaning of life question is 42. But beyond that I think its:
    Don’t be afraid; there are a lot worse ways to die than careening off of a carnival ride.

  233. I was once chased by an elephant, but sadly do not have the photos from it. The elephant wanted to stomp me, not give me a smooch, or it would have been a more pleasant (but no less memorable) event.

  234. “So it goes.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse V. That sums it up. Life goes well, life goes poorly. Life goes on and life ends. So it goes.

  235. I believe the lives we live are for emotion; we live for happiness. I believe the ones who have it down pat are the people who have nothing, yet see that they have everything they ever wanted. I feel things generally work to where if we’re happy, things generally fall into place… even if negative assholes sometimes try to bring us down at times.

  236. I am so late to the party on this one but I’m reading old posts on your blog and you’re the first person I’ve encountered who has also been licked by a giraffe and attacked by an ostrich. I’d recommend having a peacock court you, odd experience.

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