A zebra walks into a bar

A zebra walks into a bar:

“Hey, can I get beer, please?” says the zebra.

“Are you joking, mate? We don’t serve animals in here!” brays the clearly perturbed bartender.

“But the name of this bar is The Wild Bunch. Says so right on the sign,” retorts the zebra.

“Yes, the name of the bar is indeed The Wild Bunch, but that doesn’t mean we serve animals. It’s just a clever, fun kind of name, something to make the customers feel good when they come in here.”

“Oh, I understand now,” says the zebra. “I was taking the name The Wild Bunch literally. I thought it meant this was a place where wild animals would be welcome. You see, I needed a place to tell my friend the antelope to meet me today. So I thought this would be a great place.”

“Sorry for the confusion, mate” says the genuinely apologetic bartender.

“No, it’s totally my fault,” says the zebra. “Clearly, the name of your bar — The Wild Bunch — is allegorical in nature. I should never have taken it literally. Obviously, a nice place like this wouldn’t be this nice if you allowed wild animals in here. The symbolism in the name — the fun and playfulness, in fact — is just to make your hard-working customers feel better about paying vastly marked-up prices for quite ordinary food and drink.”

“Now you just wait a minute!” shouts the bartender.

“No, I was wrong,” says the zebra, “and I want to make it up to you.”

“Oh yeah?” says the bartender, throwing his towel over his shoulder and folding his arms defiantly. “How are you, a zebra, going to make anything up to me?”

“I have an idea. Come outside with me and let me give you a ride around the block.”

“A ride around the block!” snorts the bartender. “Why in the name of all that is good and green on this fine rock would I ever want to ride around the block on a zebra?”

“It’s like this,” replies the zebra, confidently. “It’s generally understood that zebras are not tamable, correct?”

“Well, not that I’ve given it much thought, but now that you mention it, I’ve never seen a cowboy in a movie riding a zebra.”

“Of course not. So when I’m riding you around the block, folks will take pictures and videos on their phones.”

“So?” says the bartender.

“Then those folks will post those pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like.”

“You’re wasting my time. Now get outta here, for Pete’s sake!”

“No, wait. Once they post those pictures and videos of me giving you a ride, their friends will quickly share them. Think about it — a picture of a bartender riding around on a zebra in the middle of downtown is a pretty rare thing.”

“Again, why should I care about any of this?”

“Because then their friends will share those posts, and then those friends will share, and then bang, it will go viral!”

“Go viral?”

“Yeah, just like that, you and The Wild Bunch will be all over the news.”

“We will?”

“Sure. You’ll be known as The Zebra Whisperer, and The Wild Bunch will become the new trendy place to go. Then you’ll get interview requests from all the news shows.”

“Come on!”

“I’m not kidding. The news shows love content, the crazier the better.”

“You’ve got a point there.”

“Then you’ll get a book deal, go on a speaking tour, and retire from this job so you can make being The Zebra Whisperer your new fun and exciting career.”

“Look mate, stop blowing smoke up my butt. How likely is all that to really happen?”

“Does a bear do his business in the woods, as they say?”

“Yes, of course, but —”

“Listen, people don’t want to deal with serious issues like climate change, overpopulation, and impending nuclear doom. They just want to scroll on their phones and tablets to get their dopamine fix by sharing odd or funny pictures and videos with their friends.”

“Dopamine fix? How do you know about dopamine, of all things?”

“I read it in The New York Times.”

“Ha, The New York Times! I knew you were a lousy leftist liberal loser the minute you walked in here!” bellowed the bartender.

“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful,” says the zebra, in his most sarcastic and flippant voice.

“Still, you may have a point about these pictures and videos going viral.”

“Of course I do. That’s the way the world works these days. It’s not about facts any more; it’s about content, and the crazier and stupider the content, the hotter it is.”

“To tell you the truth, I pretty much thought I’d have to slop suds behind this damn bar until I’m pushing up daisies. So if there’s any chance of what you say might happen could be true —”

“Look, would I lie to you?” says the zebra, with a clearly discernible wink-wink.

A regular customer, Mr. Osaka, who happened to be a corporate lawyer, was sitting at the bar while all this was going on.

“Mr. Osaka, what do you think about all this drivel from the zebra here?” asks the bartender.

“Zebra-san very wise,” says Mr. Osaka. “Zebra-san show great insight into realities of new youth-driven business environment. Clearly, zebra-san know which side of the bread is buttered.”

“Hmm. OK, then. Nancy?” yells the bartender to the quite fetching waitress, who’s been listening to all this while wiping down tables the entire time.

“What is it, luv?” she replies.

“Cover the bar, I have to go outside for a few minutes.”

“Riiiight,” says Nancy, in her best what-could-possibly-go-wrong-with-this-idea voice.

The zebra and the bartender go outside, and the zebra crouches down until his belly hits the ground. The bartender carefully gets on. Then the zebra rears up on his hind legs and flips over backwards, crushing the bartender, who winds up unconscious on the sidewalk, with a broken nose and several broken ribs. The zebra then rubs his back on a lamp post to get rid of the blood, and goes back into the bar.

“Hey, Nancy,” says the zebra, “now can I get a damn beer, please?”

Nancy serves the zebra, and then shares the video of the zebra tossing the bartender to her social media feeds. The video goes viral, and Nancy uses her newfound fame to become a social-media influencer, allowing her to quit the bar and buy a huge house on the water. The bartender goes on disability and is forced to close The Wild Bunch.

And the zebra? Mr. Osaka convinces him and the antelope to open a chain of pubs where animals are allowed in called The White Stripes. This works out great at first, until they get sued for copyright infringement by the band of the same name, bankrupting them, and forcing them to live out their remaining years on a farm for abandoned endangered animals.

The moral of the story? You might think zebras can’t talk or walk into bars and order beers, but in the world we now live in, which is the world of “alternative facts,” they most certainly can, for better or worse. So if a zebra happens to come into your bar, just grab him a nice, cold beer. He’ll appreciate it very much.