You choose--the recession or the tiger

    If you are like me (and of course you want to be), the phrase "It could be worse" has no meaning. So what? Of course, it could be worse, but it is whatever I am saying.

    Still, broke and freaking, at least we aren't on a 26-foot boat with a 450-lb tiger, right? See? Feel better already?

    Life of Pi is weird form of mystery by Yann Martel. I can't read novels anymore for vision reasons, so I listened to actors Jeff Woodman and Alexander Marshall read it to me.

    Life of Pi is not a who-dunnit, but a did-it-happen. I am way behind the power curve on this one—people recommended it to me way back when I could read books with pages. Silly me, I judged by the cover—a folk art pix of a tiger in a rowboat. Maybe not, I kept thinking haughtily, eyes sliding to the next book on the shelf.

    Finally, I got Life of Pi on CD—even then it sat alone on my dresser—all the other tapes came first.

    Boy, was I a dope. Pi is not the mathematical constant, but a 16-year-old Indian lad’s first name (he’s named after a swimming pool, as he will tell you in the somewhat pokey introduction to this adventure, bear with, it’s worth it). His dad is a zookeeper and in 1978, the family moves from Pondicherry to Montreal, sailing with some animals that have been sold to zoos in Canada and America.

    A storm arises, and Pi can’t sleep and goes on deck. What happens next—well, that’s the mystery. He ends up in a lifeboat with some of the animals, including a 450-lb Bengal tiger, a hyena, an orangutan, a rat, and a zebra.

    No, this isn’t some cheesy Noah riff. The hyena attacks the zebra and tears off chunks. Pi is afraid of the tiger and suspends himself on an oar sticking out of the bow to stay safe. At this point, the ship gurgles beneath the ocean.

    Pi is at sea with the tiger for seven months—or was he? How does he survive? Can he intimidate the beast enough to live? They finally come to a weirdly undulating island made of delicious algae and swarming with meerkats. But I will leave that part for your delectation.

    In an Epilogue, officials of the Japanese shipping company approach Pi and ask what happened. He tells them what we already know. They don’t buy it. Okey-dokey. He tells them another story, weirdly paralleling the first. Is this the truth?

    Or did a tiger once roam the jungles of Mexico?

    Your call.

    See? You never once thought of your car warranty, did you?

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