Zebras are reactionaries, Antelopes are missionaries, Pigeons plot in secrecy. . .

April 6, 2008

I grew up on Simon & Garfunkel and for days now this old tune of theirs has been rattling around in my brain, At the Zoo, lyrics below.

According to the 1997 liner notes to their Old Friends album, Paul Simon toyed wth the idea of changing the song Mrs. Robinson to Mrs. Roosevelt, the landmark 1967 film The Graduate’s most famous song. Director Mick Nichols replied, “Don’t be ridiculous! We’re making a movie here! It’s Mrs. Robinson!”

Mrs. Robinson: Benjamin.
Benjamin: Yes?
Mrs. Robinson: Isn’t there something you want to tell me?
Benjamin: Tell you?
Mrs. Robinson: Yes.
Benjamin: Well, I want you to know how much I appreciate this. Really.
Mrs. Robinson: The number.
Benjamin: What?
Mrs. Robinson: The room number, Benjamin. I think you ought to tell me that.
Benjamin: Oh, you’re absolutely right. It’s 568.
Mrs. Robinson: Thank you.
Benjamin: You’re welcome. Well. . .I’ll see you later, Mrs. Robinson.

Someone told me
It’s all happening at the zoo.

I do believe it,
I do believe its true.

Its a light and tumble journey
From the East Side to the Park;
Just a fine and fancy ramble
To the zoo.

But you can take the crosstown bus
If its raining or its cold,
And the animals will love it
If you do.

Somethin’ tells me
Its all happening at the zoo.

The monkeys stand for honesty,
Giraffes are insincere,
And the elephants are kindly but
They’re dumb.
Orangutans are skeptical
Of changes in their cages,
And the zookeeper is very fond of rum.

Zebras are reactionaries,
Antelopes are missionaries,
Pigeons plot in secrecy,
And hamsters turn on frequently.
What a gas! You gotta come and see
At the zoo.

— Paul Simon


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