There’s this bizarre misconception that has been going around my family and friends for as long as I can remember. Allegedly, my Dad loves giraffes.
Allegedly, they are his most favourite animal.
He has frequently received significant gifts featuring giraffes.
Until recently I also believed my father to be a big fan of giraffes – but then one day I asked him what he liked about giraffes so much and he responded with perplexed exasperation.
“I don’t like giraffes that much” he said. “I don’t know why people think I’m so obsessed with giraffes.”
“Oh?!” I exclaimed, mildly startled. “I thought you loved giraffes. That’s why everyone is always getting you giraffe-related gifts.”
“I know.” he said with a confused chortle. “And I got that giant papier mâche giraffe. I don’t know why people think I love them so much”.
And all of a sudden my father’s peculiar love of giraffes turned out to actually be a mysterious rumour that had been circulating through my family for years. Nobody knows where it started, though I have put my deductive detective skills to good use and deduced a possible point of origin for these absurd lies.
I have managed to narrow down the possibilities to the moment when my newly wedded mother decided to impress the man in her life by having a piece of art that he’d picked up during an epic year-long adventure in Africa framed. The artwork in question was a batique featuring a group of giraffes enjoying a tasty meal of tree leaves and it hung in pride of place at the top of the stairs in our house for the next 20 years.
At this point I am assuming that the giraffe batique was selected solely because the other option was a bunch of topless women busying themselves in their work, as opposed to my mother holding any particular belief in my father’s affinity for giraffes – but unfortunately I am unable to ask as she is no longer with us.
I firmly believe that it is from the hanging of this artwork that has spawned the belief of my father’s love of the Giraffa camelopardalis, and anyone who sees this proudly displayed in his home would be forgiven for surmising such an affinity. This alleged love of giraffes has led to my father being gifted many giraffe related items, which would in turn confirm any onlooker’s belief that giraffes were a particular favourite of his.
Some of the more notable gifted items include a large watercolour painting of giraffes done by my grandmother specifically because “John loves Giraffes”; a metre tall papier mâche sculpture of a giraffe that sat on the landing for about 10 years, a pair of small giraffes sitting on a shelf in the lounge from myself and my brother (under the belief that our dad loves giraffes); and a decorative pillow featuring a lovely giraffe for you to nestle between your buttocks on the couch.
Now, I feel like I have two options at this point. I could either correct all of the people who mistaken believe that my father is passionate about our longed necked friends on the African savanna – or I could subtly reinforce the lie by declaring to everyone John knows that he really really really likes giraffes.
Obviously I’ve chosen the second. And I’ve begun what will become a lifelong endeavour to fill my father’s home with giraffe paraphernalia. My inaugural addition to his household has been this small giraffe silhouette I installed into an old brass frame and placed in the bathroom. Where I will go from here, no one knows. But you can guarantee that every gift he ever receives from me will feature the beautiful Giraffa camelopardalis.