Friday, 12 December 2008

A lion's list of complaints

It's not in my nature to complain, or at least, to complain too often, but things have gone too far. There is no respect for old age or wisdom any more, no regard for traditions. Ten years ago, I would have never believed that I would live to see what a lion has to put up with nowadays.

Mind you, I am not speaking just for myself, since I am not the kind of lion who makes a fuss about problems. There are many like me, who endure their daily grievances with philosophy and understanding, but I cannot let things go unsaid any longer. Some lion has to speak up, some lion has to tell the truth.

1. Animals run too fast these days. Middle-aged lions have to eat, too. It used to take me a couple of hours to hunt down a gazelle, but now I can consider myself lucky if I can catch one that's already injured. Who on earth has authorised gazelles to speed up beyond the agreed limits? Is there no respect for tradition any more?

2. There are too many new things. If you ask me, lions don't know what they want these days. In my village, we all used to get the same haircut. It was cheap, fast, and convenient. Does a lion need camomile shampoo? Even cubs are asking for mobile phones as soon as they can roar. Does a lion need to surround himself with all those things?

3. There is no sense of togetherness any longer. Each lion is busy doing his own thing. Lion doesn't care for lion any more. Nowadays, you ask five lions what are the most important things in life and you get five different answers. I still remember the times when all lions used to want the same things. Does every lion need to have his own ideas?

4. Personal convictions are displacing discipline. Would you believe me if I tell you that lions used to follow their leader without asking questions? We lions used to be willing to put our personal interests aside. We used to be content with getting what every other lion was getting. With going where every other lion was headed to. Nowadays, even cubs need to be first convinced of anything they do. Otherwise, they don't move a paw.

5. Territory has lost its meaning. We lions used to be so proud of our corner of the savannah. My father never roamed farther than fifty miles from this hill, even during the rain season. What's the point of having your cubs learn foreign languages? Even worse, what sense does it make to send young lions to study abroad?

6. Lions have become friendly to strangers. This is something that I find really worrying. It was not long ago that a well-mannered lion was expected to kill and eat up strangers. These days, lions are too happy to welcome all kind of animals to the savannah. Cubs are getting so used to seeing strangers around, that they never get a chance to learn a lion's true nature.

7. Lions talk too much. Telling stories used to be reserved to Friday nights. A lion was expected to keep a serious demeanour in his daily business. Otherwise, no animal in the savannah would respect him. What you see today is unbelievable. Lions talk and talk, they have opinions on all subjects, they want to change everything. Is this the end of civilization?

8. Education has lost much of its meaning. My parents were not rich, but I went eight years to cub school. I memorized my lessons, learned my geography, and improved my roaring skills. Could you believe that cubs nowadays only want to learn those things that they find interesting? That young lions don't even care if they graduate or not?

9. Business has become unpredictable. Take for instance gazelles. There used to be only one sort of gazelle. A lion would know the weight of a gazelle at first sight. He would know for what other things he would be able to trade the gazelle. These days, business is changing so quickly that no lion can predict what tomorrow will bring. Does a lion need twenty different types of meat sauces?

10. Cubs have become too ambitious. Of all things, this is for me the worst. Even my own cubs are already talking about the businesses that they are going to start when the rain season is over. Should they not rather learn first how to roar properly? Or how to hunt down a gazelle when you are running against the wind?

Innovation is changing the savannah too fast. We have to find the way to stop all these changes before lions are no lions any more. I don't know the solution to this, but I am not discouraged. I have made a list of my complaints. I will talk to the other lions. We will have meetings about this. We will figure out the answer in order to make sure that everything remains exactly the same as it was in the past.


[Image by wwarby under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]