We Bought a Zoo

I love Matt Damon. Why wouldn’t I? He’s funny, cute, and he’s a great actor. Granted, I’ve never met Matt Damon but from everything I’ve seen him in or read about him, I’ve decided to like him. But We Bought a Zoo isn’t about Matt Damon. Matt is just in the movie. The movie is really about a guy named Benjamin, a guy I find absolutely rad and awesome. He’s a guy who’s always up for an adventure. He’s a guy who bought a zoo. Here’s my favorite line from the movie.

Why did you buy this place?
Why not?

Why not? I love this question.
Why are you joining Peace Corps again? Why did you spend $50 on a new pair of yellow shoes?
Why not?

Why should there be a reason for everything? Why do we need to explain our choices to others or follow a conventional mode of living? Why can’t we live spontaneously and make live-altering bets on our lives that may leave us homeless and jobless so that when we’re thirty, we’re moving back in with our parents? We can. We just have to say it and believe it.

Why not?

We live on a snake farm!
Why not?

I would never want to live on a snake farm as snakes totally freak me out but for those people who would want to live on a snake farm, more power to you. You bought a hundred chickens and want to raise them on my dad’s farm? Why not? Just please, remember to feed the chickens once a day so my crotchety old father stops complaining about the chickens running out of feed for the second or third time in a month.

You want to buy a fancy car? Why not? You want to open up a lemonade stand to help you pay for a new bike? Do it. You want to wear an entire outfit made up of brown items of clothing? Why not? Just know that not everyone understands the why not. Some of us look at an all brown outfit and see poop. Some of us believe fancy cars are pretentious and a waste of money. Some of us hate snakes. Some of us think it’s weird and too impulsive to buy a zoo. But some of us are also impulsive and make crazy life choices without much thought. It’s our right. We can do whatever crazy, random things we want to. But every once in a while, why not costs us in the end and we have to be ready for that.

In We Bought a Zoo, everything turns out fine. It’s the middle of the movie that’s rough. It’s the expensive bit when you just know the zoo is going to have to shut down. But it doesn’t. The zoo survives. Am I saying that somebody can buy a failing zoo and turn it into something wonderful? Yes, I am. But does that make sense? Not usually, but why not?

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