Life Lessons from Netflix’s Tiger King

Meth, murder, cults, plural marriage, AND large cats? It just seems too crazy to be true.  Like what are the chances all that could happen in one show? Yet, here we are. If you haven’t watched Tiger King, then you don’t know. I’m not trying to push the show on you, but I think Doc Antle–and he’s a doctor–put it best when he said, “If you haven’t heard ‘Here, Kitty, Kitty,’ you just don’t know what you’re missing.” Thank you, Netflix, for being there when I needed you.

When an ant bit my toe on our evening walk, inspired by Saff, I bravely pushed on. If she could return to work only 6 days after an elective arm amputation following a tiger attack, I could make it home. I am stronger than I realized.

When I was worried that my kids skipped a day of brushing their teeth, John Finlay reminded me that it could be worse but also reminded me that oral hygiene is super important. You showed me what responsibility looks like.

The next time I see someone rolling a suitcase through a casino, I’m going to wonder if there’s a tiger cub in there. Thanks for teaching me that there’s always more than meets the eye.

There is such a thing as too much leopard print. I can never have too many reminders that moderation is key.

I love large cats, and I kinda like cults. Imagine my delight when I realized that there are numerous options that combine my interests. As soon as this quarantine is up, I’m peacin’ out. Thanks for showing me the world, Netflix.

When I feel self-conscious about my fashion choices as I spend the day in Christmas pajamas, Joe and Carole remind me to embrace who I am. Joe, with his fringe jacket, shows me what fierce looks like. And Carole, with her crown of flowers, reminds to let my softer side show. You’ve given me confidence.

I have one tattoo and sometimes regret it, so imagine how fortunate I feel knowing that a well-placed bull tattoo can cover up even the methiest of mistakes. Thank you for giving me hope.

I sometimes wonder how firm expiration dates on food are, but now I know that you can, in fact, eat expired meat from Wal-Mart. So that’s a relief and a tidbit that may come in handy during this quarantine. Thank you for teaching me to push the limits.

Instead of screaming to my kids to come eat dinner, now I just broadcast it over Google Home and greet them cheerily with, “Hey, all you cool cats and kittens.” They don’t respond, but it’s much more peaceful. You reminded me that you catch more flies with honey.

Like all healthy women, I think about killing my husband every so often. Now, I’m not saying she did it (she totally did it), but Carole taught me that soaking a body in sardine oil would likely attract tigers to consume the body. Hot tip, Carole. Thanks for illustrating the importance of creativity.

The show also reminds me that, despite having a couple college degrees, there is much in the world that I’ve yet to learn. News to me: ligers are real as are $500 bills. I am humbled and motivated to never stop learning.

I never did meth and don’t know anyone who has. I often wondered if meth was really as bad as people make it out to be or if it’s just misunderstood. Well. Now I know.

Thank you Netflix for saying, “Hold my beer” as America asked if 2020 could get any crazier. Tiger King has given me perspective. I am a changed woman.

Alyson Haggerty
Alyson lives in Metairie with her husband, Patrick, their two boys, and their Morkie, Beignet. After teaching for almost ten years, she left a career in education, earned her BSN, and now works as a pediatric emergency nurse. In her free time, Alyson enjoys flipping furniture, writing, dancing, and painting. She is always looking for a racquetball partner and loves streetcar rides and playing board games with her family. A good cook, she is constantly on a quest to answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” but has thus far been unsuccessful.


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