Do not goad a lion, even in summer’s informal atmosphere. Do not call a lion “Lionel” or “Mr. Richie,” or start singing “Hello.” He has heard the joke before.
A lion does not care that it has margarita salt or blood on its upper lip. Do not point it out.
It is well established that drowning deaths increase in summer, but a little known fact is that 25 percent of these fatalities happen when humans sunbathe too close to lion watering holes and are nudged into the drink by thirsty cats. Steer clear of ponds with picked-clean water-buffalo skeletons nearby.
Although warmer months invite romantic flings and may have put you in the habit of making more eye contact than usual, avoid going iris to iris with a lion. This is interpreted as human flirtation. Lions are extremely socially conservative, and see the mixing of species as against natural law.
Even after a few beers at a clambake, do not be tempted into political debate with a lion. When cornered, they will simply smite you with a sepsis-tinged claw.
Do not limbo in the presence of lions. Your exposed belly will make you seem weak.
Never come between a lion and its cubs, at the pool or anywhere else. This includes giving unsolicited parenting advice. “Are those cubs really old enough to be left by themselves in that clump of rushes while you’re out hunting zebra all night?” is the sort of statement that can result in your instant death.
At a kill or a Fourth of July buffet, let the lion get its fill before you step in.
If you encounter a lion in a hotel-resort elevator, keep silent. No matter how nervous you are, do not make small talk. Smallness reminds a lion of its traditional prey. The smaller your talk, the more vulnerable you seem. Discuss the weather and you might as well be a Thomson’s gazelle.
At the beach, do not be too old, too young, or too sickly, and, especially, do not stray too far from the herd. The lion’s favorite target is the iconoclast.
If you return to your time-share and find a lion sleeping in your assigned parking spot, do not disturb it. It will depart by nightfall.
Do you see a lion waiting at the bottom of a water-park slide? Do not use the slide.
Even in the convivial atmosphere of a sophisticated international vacation destination, do not try to speak “lion.” Roars and grumbles are part of a complicated tonal language, and your efforts may result in unintended insults.
If your name is Hemingway, do not have it embroidered on your beach towel.
When riding with a lion in a water-ski boat, do not ask “Do you know the MGM lion?” or “What’s up, Aslan?” More than anything, lions despise celebrities and anthropomorphized sellouts. This, combined with the fact that you are making small talk, will cause the lion to devour you on the spot.
If, after a few wine spritzers on Labor Day weekend, a lion calls itself a big “pussy,” do not think it is confessing to being a wimp. Lions have reclaimed the term, much as the gay community has reclaimed “queer” or feminists “bitch.” Make no mistake: “pussy” means killer.