At the Wildlife Conservation Society on June 3 at the Central Park Zoo, we found a creature with a steely gaze and a hefty, 235-pound-ish build: Al Gore.
The Transom imagined that the former vice president was thinking the following: What am I doing here again? Oh, yeah, my daughter Karenna married a Schiff and they’re big supporters of this charity—therefore, I have to be here or I’m a dick even though I won a Nobel Prize and an Oscar for saving the planet. Say … that’s some porcupine.
Wearily, Mr. Gore shook our hand. “We’re not doing interviews tonight,” he said.
For comfort, we turned to his wife. Unfortunately, we greeted her not with our own name but with “Tipper Gore” and it came out all wrong—like we were reminding her who she was, or were trying to score points for recognizing her. Whatever it was, Ms. Gore had no interest telling us what animal she identified with the most.
Trial lawyer Ed Hayes was more forthcoming. “I hate to say this, but honestly, the animal that I relate to would be a wolf,” he said. “You know what else I love: zebras. I love the way they look.”
Writer and self-proclaimed zoologist Paul Gregory Speck bummed a cigarette. Mr. Speck, who looks exactly like Tennessee Williams (“they all say that”), said he identifies with leopards. “I love all of the great cats,” he said. “In fact, the little cats, too. I think they’re really the supreme beings among the animals.”
Later, after he’d chatted with Mr. Gore about energy conservation, Mr. Speck offered his opinion on the candidates: He said John McCain was most like a buffalo. (“Determined, indomitable, ferocious, stubborn.”)
“And we’ll give Obama ‘mountain gorilla,’” he said.
Was he sure about that?
“I was about to say spider monkey. Well, he does have certain simian movements and jungle fever—see, I think it’s going down the politically incorrect path. … Let’s say a bird, a bird might be better. Let’s say magpie. A magpie is a very talkative and intelligent bird, which is even capable of imitating sounds. A magpie is like a two-tone crow. It’s half-black, half-white.”
Interior decorator Mario Buatta told us he loves monkeys, and how when he was a kid, he’d go to the Staten Island Zoo and see Jocko the gorilla, a frequent masturbator.
“I like McCain. I think he’s a patriot, and he’s been through a lot,” Mr. Buatta said. “He’s old but he’s got experience. King of the jungle. An elephant.”
During dinner, we found a couple of fabulous socialites.
I’m like a mother lion,” said Muffie Potter Aston, who was wearing a pink silk dress. “I fiercely protect my children. I try to take care of my den and other people in the den, other peoples’ kids, anyone I love in my circle.”
Mr. McCain, she said, resembles a wolf, while Mr. Obama is like a horse.
“I’m a minx,” said Debbie Bancroft, wearing a diaphanous peacock-colored number. “I am some form of feline, because I am observant, selectively madly affectionate, clean and cool.”
And the candidates?
“I would think McCain is something sedentary. A black bear. Something that hibernates. I think it’s not a good thing. I think Obama is completely a sleek and observant and perceptive character and is awake in all seasons. Hillary has come and gone. I think she was a predator that missed her mark. Some form of feral cat that missed her prey.”