By: Mark Fitzgerald
So how did Orange County Register columnist Frank Mickadeit find himself on exhibit in a cage at the Santa Ana Zoo in California for three days before the Fourth of July holiday? He was seduced, you might say, by a gibbon hanging from a perch at the zoo.
In Mickadeit’s retelling, he was at the zoo on assignment, coming off a typically hectic week of work. He stopped to watch one of the zoo’s many primates, a gibbon hanging contentedly by one arm, and eating tree leaves using his leg: “It just looked off into space and stayed there, looking like it had not a care in the world. I thought — how can I get this job?”
By just asking, it turned out. The zoo was delighted with the publicity, and the exhibit dubbed “Columnist in a Cage: columnist horribilis in his Natural Environment” was something of a local sensation, with the Register livestreaming Mickadeit in the cage in a business suit as he chatted with visitors and interviewed the surprising number of O.C. heavy hitters who dropped by.
In the 8-foot-by-8-foot cage, Mickadeit seems to have found that gibbon’s contentment: “If I didn’t have something to do Fourth of July weekend, I could have stayed there several more days,” he says.