Hey, Panda. Good news, buddy. You’re no longer Endangered. Numbers are bouncing back. Nice, right?
You got it, pal. I mean: you don’t make it easy.
You have to admit that pandas have been complicit in their own demise.
“Aren’t you Jewish?”
“Nothing. Listen, dipshit: we were fine for millions of years before you gentrified our neighborhoods.”
We needed them.
“Right, yeah, okay. We’re bears. Our coloring and your hardwired response to things with big eyes produce this unreal cartoon version of us in your heads, but still: bears. Need a lot of room.”
Okay, but what about the breeding thing?
“I’m sick of telling you nerds this: you can’t have sex with me.”
“You wouldn’t survive it.”
“I’m a goddamned bear, and all of you want to hug me while you’re exterminating my species. Weirdos.”
I don’t want to hug you.
The breeding thing. Female pandas are only fertile for, like, three days every year or so. And everything’s gotta be right and she’s gotta have enough food, and a ton of other things.
And? That is very complicated, Panda.
“I spend my entire life eating bamboo and sleeping; I’m smarter than you.”
“Dogs. Dogs fertile all the time, or just once in a while?”
Once in a while.
Them, too. Go into heat.
“The word is estrus; don’t be common.”
“What about ungulates?”
Swim upstream once a year.
Also once a year.
Oh, wow: humans are the freaks.
“There you go.”
I’ve learned something today, Panda.
“I don’t care.”
Can I tell you a little secret, though?
“Yeah, why not.”
A tiny little part of me still wants to know what you taste like.