Imagine if we weren’t Earth’s most dominant species. What if another species, say Species X, were at the top?
Now imagine you’re living your life. You’ve waited for over a year for a certain book to come out. It’s Friday and you’re almost done work. But then your boss asks if you can stay a little longer to help him on another project. You tell him your grandma is ill and need to take care of her, even though she died peacefully in her sleep many years ago. Then you rush out of office and run to the bookstore. You buy the book. The bookstore is in a mall and you see some of your friends shopping.
Under normal circumstances, you’d go and say hello but what if they ask you to join them for a drink? To hell with socializing! You have a book to read! You avoid your old buddies and race home. You’re wearing a hoody so your face is hidden. You are a shadowy ninja. You finally reach home and jump into bed.
Your phone rings. You cut the call and shut the phone off. Doesn’t matter who’s calling. Doesn’t matter if it’s an emergency. You eagerly open the first page of your new book and before you can even read the first sentence, a member of Species X barges into your home and shoots you with a non-lethal weapon that knocks you unconscious. You’re shocked when you wake up several hours later.
Okay maybe you hate books so you can’t imagine the above scenario very well. No problem. Maybe you’re doing something else entirely. Let’s say you’re cooking a romantic meal for a special someone who’s coming home for dinner. You’ve gone all out. You spent countless hours on YouTube learning how to go from a dimwit who can only make toast to a Michelin-Starred Chef. Okay maybe that’s too much, but at least now you know how to turn on the oven.
You even bought a new vacuum cleaner to clean your apartment for the first time since you moved in. And not just any vacuum cleaner, but the best one money can buy! (A small amount of money) It’s incredible how many online reviews you examined before making a decision. You certainly didn’t do this much research in college.
And then the doorbell rings. You quickly check to see if everything is ready for a romantic evening that will hopefully end in bed. You open the door and are about to compliment your date on how good they look. But your date didn’t ring the bell. It’s a member of Species X who proceeds to shoot you with a non-lethal weapon that knocks you unconscious. You’re shocked when you wake up several hours later.
You’re awake. You were simply living your life and minding your own business until you were rudely interrupted by a vicious intruder. So where are you? Answer: A confined space. You see many members of Species X staring at you. They are smiling and laughing and taking pictures of you. The lights are making you dizzy. There are so many of them. If they find you so fascinating, can’t they just take a video of you and then let you go home?
But the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn to months and… well, years later you just wish you would die. You’ve never been so lonely before. You haven’t seen your friends or family in so long. You haven’t talked to another human being in so long. You’ve tried refusing to eat food in the hope of starving to death but that doesn’t work because they force-feed you. Once you tried banging your head on the wall hoping your skull would crack open but they ended up chaining your hands and legs so now you can’t even move in your tiny cage.
Alright I’m going to put my brush away and stop painting such a depressing picture. But this is how I felt when my friend told me about the world’s saddest polar bear that lived in a tiny cage in a mall in China. The cage was a poor imitation of a polar bear’s natural habitat. The only happy part about the polar bear’s life is that her name is Pizza. But being named after one of the most delicious foods can only take you so far in life.
She’s only 3 years old. She was recently moved to an ocean park to be reunited with her parents but she might be moved back to that dreadful mall. I saw a video of Pizza’s life at the mall. She’s frantically pacing back and forth. The artificial lights clearly bother her. Kids are banging on the glass panels of her cage and the noise is driving her crazy. She sniffs the air vent, wondering if there is a way out of this hell hole. Pizza is a pawn used to attract more customers to the mall. She deserves better.