Giraffe Gaffe–What Would You Do?

Young giraffe, Brookfield Zoo, 2010. Photo by me!

Young giraffe, Brookfield Zoo, 2010. Photo by me!

I ran across this brief article recently, from the Bandwagon website:

Low Bridge and a Giraffe

(Reprinted from Chesapeake & Ohio Railway magazine “TRACKS” (April 1953). Bandwagon, Vol. 1, May-June, 1957, p. 3.)

An unusual problem in railroading occurred several years ago when a circus train was delayed by a low bridge and a giraffe. The animal’s head poking through the top of his special crate-car, was three inches too high for the bridge. Trainmen pondered the problem, while circus officials insisted that a headless giraffe would be worse than useless for exhibition purposes.

The next show town was fifty miles up the line, and something had to be done promptly or the performance would not open at the advertised time. The baffled conductor phoned headquarters. The freight clearance expert was called in. He thought the matter over for about thirty seconds, then advised, “Drop a carrot into the giraffe’s cage.”

The carrot was dropped.

The giraffe ducked down to get it.

The engineer jerked the throttle and the train went under the bridge.

The show opened on time.

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Randomly: A Freed Slave’s Letter to His Old Master, or “Take That, You Bald-Pated Hugger-Mugger”

In doing research for a project, I stumbled across this letter, originally printed in a Cincinnati newspaper and reprinted in the Daily National Republican (Washington D.C.), evening edition, of August 25, 1865. One of the best passive aggressive, satirical pieces I’ve seen in a while, the author walks a split-rail fence between insult, accusations, and fond regard just perfectly:

Purported to be an actual letter sent by a freed African American man to his old "master."

Purported to be an actual letter sent by a freed African American man to his old “master.”

A little background …

  • The American Civil War had ended just four-and-one-half months earlier.
  • The Republican Party back then was largely the party of anti-slavery sentiment; Lincoln was a Republican. I believe the Republicans in the 1860s were aligned most closely to today’s liberals.
  • $25 per month was a pretty decent wage, as far as I can tell; I doubt that the Colonel intended to offer even 1/3 that much to Jordan if he were to return to the Tennessee plantation.

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