Monday, July 9, 2012

Encyclopedia Drew and the Dubious Diorama

When I visited the Natural History Museum, I escaped the fate that befell poor Sally Draper and did not, thankfully, begin my period immediately after viewing the animal dioramas.

Yes, in true Don Draper fashion, Mad Men fibbed and passed off Los Angeles Natural History Museum as its New York counterpart. This is not news, and this post isn’t about Sally’s diorama-prompted womanhood. No, I’m actually more concerned with the oryxes.

The Arabian oxyx, according to the Natural History Museum’s website, is notable for a horse-like gait and the fact that it, when moving in profile, appears to only have a single horn and therefore may have been responsible for belief in unicorns. But even that’s not enough to warrant this post. No, here’s what did. Not the oryx family but way in the back corner…

Do you see it?

Okay, you have to see it now — a cat whose shitty expression is masked by the cat-colored grass around it. The diorama placards made no mention of Grassy Grumplepuss, leaving me to consider several possible explanations:
  • The diorama curator placed the cat, but a higher-up exercised an anti-cat agenda and saw to it that the cat was not mentioned at all.
  • The diorama curator’s cat died while he was making this particular exhibit, and so he taxidermied the cat and slipped it into the background as a way of letting future generations appreciate the severity of his cat’s scowl.
  • It’s actually a live cat that snuck into the museum, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler-style, and it’s posing as if it were taxidermied so as to avoid detection.
  • It’s the mouse-deterring version of a scarecrow, and the museum would rather not publicize its rodent problem.
  • The museum placed the cat in the exhibit, unannounced, and they’re giving out prizes to whoever spots it first. (Me! I did! Give me the gift certificate.)
  • Ghost cat.
  • Something something illuminati symbolism.
  • Oryxes naturally have guardian angels that take the form of cats, but the museum — being a scientific institution — is reluctant to endorse such spiritualist notions, and so the resourceful museum-goer is left to research on his own and come to his own conclusion.
  • “Oh, shit. We have this extra cat. Will anyone care if I just stick it in the oryx diorama? I need to take lunch, like, now.”
Your input is valued and appreciated.

Previous Encyclopedia Drew mysteries:

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