Dogs guard and monkeys steal and both bite while performing their dharma, the duty. It never makes news though man biting the dog sometimes does. But when the BBC reports – zebra bites man, the police come into action, the zebra charges the police who use lethal force against the zebra – that should be real news. Sadly, even this is not because there are so many private places in the US that keep zebras and allow visitors to get really close. So 22-year old Michaela Napier poses for a selfie with stripes while holding a baby and it (the zebra, not the baby) “picked me up and slammed me down, and picked me up and slammed me down, and picked me up and slammed me down.” The last we heard was that WWF has contacted the zebra and the stripes have entered the list of respectable animals taking leave of the asses and leaving us in the limerick land:

Zebras bite more people in the zoo
Than the tigers do
That goes to show
Benign-loking herbivores throw
More punch than just chew

That punch is kept well-concealed following the Chinese leader Deng’s advice to the asses in China to “hide your strength and bide your time.” Though the Chinese leaders turned out to be asinine enough and became wolf warriors too soon, zebras and asses still follow Deng’s dictum:

Lions roar and howlers howl
Dogs bite and cats scowl
Asses and zebras hide a guile
With bared teeth when they smile
The ‘smile’ is a bite when afoul

I cogitated on why zebras remain in the news mainly in the US and came up with this revelation:

China’s  red and yellow flag
Is just a yawn, a drag
With a few little stars
That portend star-wars
US’s has stripes too in the bag

Zebras are a mystery, almost a conundrum, unlike the neighing horses and braying asses. Shel Silverstein interviewed a zebra and came back chastised:

I asked the zebra
‘Are you black with white stripes?
Or white with black stripes?’
And the zebra asked me,
‘Are you good with bad habits?
Or are you bad with good habits?’

Max Lucado had said, “God must’ve had a blast painting the stripes on the zebra, hanging the stars in the sky, putting the gold in the sunset. What creativity!” Yet, when God picked up his paint and brush and put srtripes on the zebras, He was sending us a coded message that I was able to decipher after struggling for decades. It reads, “The world is not black or white; it is always black and white.” So, Dr. Seuss was not off the mark when he said, “There is no limit to how much you’ll know, depending on how far beyond zebra you go.” Phil Caruso did a Freudian analysis and concluded, “Zebras dream of polka dots.” But trust a trusted politician like Al Gore to mingle dream with reality and wake up to say, “A zebra never changes it spots.” The grapevine says the zebras sent a terse reply, “Cheetah by any name is spotted. If you call  zebra spots, it will still be with stripes.”

A friend in the US confided in me, “Zebras were created for one purpose only for which they waited a million years; to remind us of the days of black and white TV.” Seeing the sceptical look in my eyes, he elaborated, “God gave us black and white TV to remind us that all creatures and plants and mountains are the manifestations of the same God, in black and white. It is the colour TV that has made them appear all different and has created the Tower of Babel in the world of colours.” By now he was pretty excited and continued, “Do you know why we put zebra stripes on pedestrian crossings.” Not sure, I mumbled, “Maybe, these are highly visible.” He smirked and retorted, ” Then why not put these on the cars?” I moved away, wary this “zebra” may decide to kick the ignoramus me, but their was no excape from zebras. The newspaper office ticker was running this, “Scientists say cows painted with zebra stripes can avoid biting-fly attack!” I though it was fake and googled it. Voila! It was a research paper on the US National Institute of Health (NIH) site! If painted while being an ass, it makes you safe from mosquitoes! Dr. Seus was not too off the mark; “depending on how far beyond zebra you go!”

I heard a tippler make these animal observations when he was on the seventh cloud, “The first drink makes you a frisky gazelle, the second an impetuous zebra, the third a roaring lion, and with the fourth you become a silly donkey.” This shows that a striped alocholic is only a lion away from making an ass of himself. A four-legged zebra is always full of life or fully devoid of life, never half dead like the two-legged ones who are shown with stripes, duly black and white, inside a prison. It is thus a South African proverb says, “When you shoot a zebra in the black stripe, the white dies too.” The last word belongs to two “original” Americans as they smoked the peace pipe:

Talking of his nemesis, his gripe
The Indian chief pulled on the pipe
Fair skinned Yankees so unfair
Grabbers, here, there, everywhere
White zebras with many a black stripe

No, piped in his friend with a wink
They are not white, they are pink
They look clean, but well I know
They stink, “no-shower” doesn’t show
But I don’t mind their fiery drink.

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