approaching dr. dolittle status

What up, world?? I gots a job!!

A question I like to ask people is, “When you were a small child, what did you want to be when you grew up?” Fun answers, every time. People go through phases, of course, but mostly when I was younger I wanted to be Dr. Dolittle – the goofy guy with the top hat from the Hugh Lofting novels who can speak with animals and knows all about them.


When I got a wee bit older and was a tad more realistic about the possibilities of learning the language of every animal species in the world (maybe, you know, one or two, but really it’s not like parrots and dogs and monkeys and pigs all speak the same language in the real world) I changed my career goal to ‘naturalist,’ which was Dr. Dolittle’s official title in the books. This is from Chapter Two of “The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle”:

“…There be only one man I know who could save yon crittur’s life. And that’s John Dolittle.”

“Who is John Dolittle?” I asked. “Is he a vet?”

“No,” said the mussel-man. “He’s no vet. Doctor Dolittle is a nacheralist.”

“What’s a nacheralist?”

“A nacheralist,” said Joe, putting away his glasses and starting to fill his pipe, “is a man who knows all about animals and butterflies and plants and rocks an’ all. John Dolittle is a very great nacheralist. I’m surprised you never heard of him—and you daft over animals. He knows a whole lot about shellfish—that I know from my own knowledge. He’s a quiet man and don’t talk much; but there’s folks who do say he’s the greatest nacheralist in the world.”

There is nothing that makes me happier right now than thinking that if my ten-year-old self came up to me right now, I could tell her that I’m damn well on the Dr. Dolittle path. I’m trying to learn “all about animals and butterflies and plants and rocks and’ all.” ALL ABOUT THEM. I’ve spent four seasons as a park ranger, tromping around outdoors trying to translate wilderness for other people – making the animals (and plants and rocks) speak for them. And my new official job title, at the Minnesota Zoo in the Twin Cities, is Interpretive Naturalist. Take that, tiny Liz. I’m making it happen.

So in one week, I take off for my new home in St. Paul (which is apparently a pretty chilly place) in a lovely old house with three other people I found on Craig’s List (they seem pretty legit) and in one week and two days I start my new job – developing educational programs, giving programs, putting budgets and schedules together, making shit happen smoothly, etc. Also hopefully playing with all of the zoo animals all the time.

On to the next adventure!


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