By Stan Campull
Like many of us, I had a lot of dreams that I was hoping to fulfill in my youth. A well-paying job, a nice home, a pet giraffe. You know, the American dream. But as I got older, I started to realize that becoming a giraffe owner isn’t a possibility for everyone.
The number of giraffe breeders in the United States is criminally small, and the one that isn’t in prison will charge up the creek. And it also doesn’t help that Christie is allergic to horses, and wasn’t sure she wouldn’t have a reaction.
As time went on, I started to blame myself for my inability to obtain a giraffe. My grandfather had a whole game preserve by the time he was my age, so I didn’t know what I was doing. Fortunately, my wife had another idea for how I could try and fill the large mammalian void in my life.
That was 16 years ago. I am now the biological father of three human children. Geoffry, Raffina and Girraphael. And while they may not be the African megafauna I’d set my heart on, they make my giraffe-free life a hell of a lot better.
It’s not like I make my kids into substitutes for the giraffe I’ll never own. I try to remember that they’re only humans, and not the world’s tallest land animals. But sometimes, they make me so proud to be their dad, that I almost don’t mind for a moment.
And whenever I do wonder about what could’ve been, I’ll make my eldest carry one his siblings on his shoulders, or bet my daughter she can’t eat all the leaves off a tree branch, and that really takes the edge off.
At first, I only went along with the whole parenthood thing because I thought that children would take my mind of my lack of a giraffe. But if you ask me today if a giraffe could ever fill me with as much love and joy as my children, I could only say possibly.