These are incredible times. These are trying times. These are awesome times.
We are in the midst of an unprecedented worldwide shutdown of our everyday lives, and when the schools closed, we parents were called upon to become homeschool teachers. None of us can lie and say that has gone well, but we’re re-learning math and generally giving it our best shot, on the days we’re not hiding from the children and day-drinking in the garage.
Thankfully, however, in these trying times, either fate or incredibly awesome timing by Netflix executives has ensured that our children are not the only ones getting an online education during the quarantine.
When the homeschool day is done, and the kids have gone to bed, us parents have been blessed with exactly what we needed: the ability to instantly feel great about the direction our lives are going. We have been given the amazing opportunity to learn about the human dumpster fire that is the world of private American big cat owners, the men who love them, the sister-wives who may or may not be able to leave them any time they want, and their totally murdered-and-fed-to-a-600-pound-feline dead husbands.
We have been given Tiger King.
It is unclear how our amazing teachers are going to assess and grade our children’s homeschool progress and learning, but I can assure you, if our children can soak up their school work with as much zeal as the world has devoured the first season of Tiger King, every single one of them will have straight A’s.
So, in the spirit of our continued online education, here are twenty things I have learned from Tiger King:
1) Don’t do meth.
2) There are more privately-owned tigers in America than there are tigers out in the wild. On the one hand, that’s sad. On the other hand, U.S.A, U.S.A, U.S.A.!
3) Seriously, don’t do meth.
4) Don’t snort or smoke meth, and also don’t ever marry Carole Baskin. She’ll straight up kill you.
5) It is possible to be a gay man and also have a peroxide-highlighted mullet and own multiple fringy leather jackets. I was under the impression all gay men were fashion conscious, but then again, I have never been to Nowhere, Oklahoma.
6) Hiring a cross-country hitman is relatively cheap in Oklahoma, as long as they are also provided with a lot of cocaine, and you don’t mind if they actually do the job or not.
7) Zoo-based sex cults are a real thing, at least in the Carolinas.
8) You can be a cocaine drug lord, go to prison for murdering a DEA informant and being party to cutting said informant up into little pieces with a circular saw, get out of jail only twelve years later, somehow still own your own private “zoo” in Miami with all sorts of big cats like tigers and leopards, and be one of the most well-adjusted people in the cast of characters on Tiger King.
9) Sometimes, a really quality documentary requires two directors. A second one to actually direct the documentary, and a first one to live on the zoo and shoot years-worth of film, never backup any of the footage offsite, and then loose it all in an arson fire that also kills a bunch of alligators.
10) Every person who owns large cats is bat-shit crazy.
11) Every person who owns large cats has killed someone, enslaved someone, and/or done a ton of drugs. Usually all three.
12) Sometimes it takes a while to understand that working at an illegal tiger zoo operation owned by an intensely egomaniacal man with a frosted mullet and a sidearm might not be the right career choice for you. Sometimes that realization comes long after a tiger bites your arm off. Also, don’t do meth.
13) Wearing a bandana under a flat-brimmed Oakley baseball cap makes you look like a complete tool, even before you open your mouth to prove that you are, in fact, a complete tool. (I already knew that one, but this show majorly reinforced it.)
14) Meth can not only destroy everything you and your dentist worked so hard to protect, but it can also apparently cause you to make very questionable decisions in the bedroom.
15) Carole Baskin totally did it.
16) Gay, redneck, tiger-owning, mulleted, polygamist country singers will, in fact, sell you pizza topped with expired Walmart meat they got for free, just to keep costs down at the park.
17) Ligers are actually a real thing, and not just Napoleon Dynamite’s favorite made-up animal.
18) It is possible to have a worse haircut than Joe Exotic, if you happen to be a redheaded, jet ski-riding, lemur-having snitch boy.
19) Anyone you know personally whom you think is weird, is not weird by a mile compared to big cat owners.
20) Carole Baskin’s current husband should be a lot more worried than he probably already is.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen
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