So last night we watched the newest remake of King Kong. I have to say it was very well done. The ape's facial expressions were so realistic that you keep forgetting it's not a real live animal. So when, at the end, poor Kong fell to his death from atop the Empire State Building, I wasn't surprised to look around and see my husband and children looking forlorn.
Do you know how hard it is not to laugh at a time like that? For unlike my misty-eyed family, I loathe monkeys. I loathe them so much that even their big screen death makes me want to do a happy dance.
Given my reputation as an earth-hugging hippie, such hatred may surprise you. And I wasn't always like this. I never had any problem with lower primates until The Terrible Incident With The Monkey, which I seldom talk about owing to the sheer humiliation of what I experienced.
It happened about ten years ago, when Larry and I and another couple visited an exotic animal compound. We'd gone to see the Bengal tigers, and they were magnificent. But while I was watching them I noticed two of the tigers were tormenting at something at the back of their chain-link enclosure.
I walked around and discovered they were swiping at a chainlink dog kennel. Inside the dog kennel was a dog house and atop the doghouse sat a little rhesus monkey, between one and two feet tall.
I've never been a huge fan of monkeys, but I felt sorry for this little cringing primate. So I walked over to comfort him and when I did, he reached out to me so desperately that I instantly took his little monkey hand in my own. I looked at that little hand and thought, "Oh, this is so cool. His little hand looks so human." Human-monkey bonding commenced and intensified when he locked eyes with mine and began stroking my hair. I was in love.
And then he ripped off my earring.
Now, this irritated me because these were my new dangly frog earrings, which I'd been given as a gift. I was quite fond of my dangly frog earrings, so I politely asked the monkey to give them back. Instead, he ignored me and sat there examining the earring.
So I got an idea. Taking my other earring off, I dangled it in front of him. "Give me that one back and you can hold this one," I said softly. All the while I was planning to keep both of them, so naturally I was really miffed when he grabbed the other earring.
Now the monkey had both of my earrings and I was getting mad, so I used my mommy voice on him.
"Give me back my earrings!" I ordered. The monkey's response was to turn his back on me, pop both earrings in his mouth, chew for a few minutes, take a piece of one out and whirl around to show it to me.
I couldn't believe it. I'd trusted this monkey. I'd given him comfort. And how does he repay me? He mugs me. I was beyond mad now; I was furious. I was a woman betrayed - a woman betrayed by by a two-foot high, thieving monkey.
I felt I had nothing left to lose by telling him what I thought, so crouching down to his level, I scowled angrily and called him every name I could think of. My husband, Larry - who's wonderful for giving me useful information after the fact - later told me that you don't ever grimace at or challenge a monkey. It apparently violates the rules of simian etiquette. Of course, I didn't know this so it came as a complete shock when the monkey hit me. And when I say it hit me, it really hit me. I didn't even see it coming, but that little monkey balled up its little monkey fist and hit me right in the eye.
I was in tears. Oh, the humiliation of it. I looked to Larry for support, but all he could do was laugh hysterically and babble about how he wished he'd brought his video camera.
On the way home my eye socket began to swell. By the next day I had a terrible shiner. When I went to work and my female co-workers asked me what happened, I told them the truth: A monkey had stolen my earrings and punched me in the face." Of course, they didn't believe me. "Really, honey," they pressed. "What happened? Did Larry hit you?" It left me wishing he had. Women hit by their husbands get sympathy. Women punched out by two-foot-high monkeys get laughed at. Again.
So there you go. That's why I hate monkeys. That's why I only use products tested on them (I ask first) and that's why I laughed when King Kong fell off that building. I hope he hit the pavement so hard all those stolen earrings went flying out of his mouth.
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