No Monkey Business!

March 9 9:30 p.m.

I got a little off track from writing about items listed in my “Random Thoughts” post. I did write about Mr. and Mrs. Bigfoot but the road signs that I saw recently deterred me from writing about other subjects in that list. So, back to the list!

For some reason, the only item in my list that compelled me to write tonight was: 2) The Bachelor: Monkeys in Thailand (my monkey experiences).

For all you fans of the TV show “The Bachelor,” I apologize for not writing about the monkeys interacting with the bachelor and his dates on the beach in Thailand. Probably because I found the monkeys more interesting than the bachelor and his dates. You might ask “Then, why do you watch ‘The Bachelor’?” (Is that the proper use of ’ ” and ? ? Damn, do I use two question marks in that previous sentence?). OK, back to the question and my answer: I watch “The Bachelor” because at times, I find a masochistic form of pleasure in watching shows that I can’t stand. I enjoy yelling at the TV, vocalizing my ridicule. Also, for more information about why I watch “The Bachelor,” see my post entitled “The Bachelor and Yucky Hot Tubs.” Yes, a feeble attempt to get you to read my other posts.

Wow, I temporarily forgot about my monkey experiences while writing that last paragraph.

Before I ever had a “true life” monkey experience, I was not comfortable with simians. It was OK to visit them at the zoo but I never got close to their cages. Maybe it has something to do with my automatonophophia (see my post entitled “Zombies and Jack in the Box”*). Monkeys are just too much like humans. Actually they are like bratty humans, at least the ones I’ve encountered or heard stories about. *Yet another feeble attempt to get you to read my other posts.

There was an ape at a local zoo who used to throw his shit at his observers and most of the other simians at the zoo were also doing disgusting things, evoking laughter or groans from their audience. And, most of the monkeys/apes/gorillas/baboons/etc. I saw at the zoo had hemorrhoids. Must have been due to their primarily cement habitat (at that time they had rather poor habitats – fortunately their living areas have been significantly improved over the years). Although I’ve seen (on TV) lots of simians living in the wild with humongous “roids.”

Back to my too-close-for-comfort monkey experiences, the first one being at Knott’s Berry Farm. Knott’s Berry Farm was fun but so anti-climactic compared to Disneyland; however, my monkey experience at “KBF” was by far the most memorable event of the trip (for me anyway).

I think I was about ten or eleven at the time we took that vacation and my mom and dad took 8mm film (yes, it was a LONG time ago) of our visits to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. I watched the film recently and relived my monkey trauma.

Knott’s Berry Farm Organ Grinder and Monkey
Note sign about not teasing the monkey

My family and I were in a big crowd of people around the organ grinder and his spider monkey (I think) and for some reason, the organ grinder chose me to interact with the monkey. I thought “Oh great.” I stood in the middle of the circle of people watching and the monkey jumped on my arm and then onto my head. This made everyone laugh (except me). I was feigning enjoyment while trembling inside as the monkey played on my head, pulling my hair and doing who knows what else. Also, the monkey had the most foul breath I have ever smelled and every now and then, while he was on my head, he would bend forward, hover over my face and then bite my nose. I had to hold back the vomit. I was terrified that he might bite too hard and sever my septum. I was only subjected to this monkey torture for a few minutes but it seemed like forever.

The next close monkey encounter came when I was around 35 years old and visited the Barbados Zoo with Mitch (my husband). The zoo wasn’t much (very small and not a lot of animals), but it was fun except for the Green Monkeys. Most of the zoo inhabitants were randy tortoises. It was tortoise mating season and they were all over the place grunting and shell grinding. I still don’t know how they can successfully mate with those shells in the way but I didn’t stop to check it out. There were also cute miniature deer and lots of birds, but the Green Monkeys were the major attraction. There were signs all over the place advising visitors not to interact with or tease the monkeys and one of the zoo employees told us that earlier that day, a woman showed a monkey some food in her purse and sure enough the monkey grabbed her purse and brought it up into a tree where they couldn’t retrieve it.

Green Monkey on bench at Barbados Zoo

Mitch and I stayed away from the monkeys except for one time when I sat on a bench and a Green Monkey decided to sit right beside me. Of course, I was petrified and sat as still as a statue while Mitch got out the video camera to take some film of me and my simian pal. Mitch kept saying to me “Scootch closer to the monkey,” and I would laugh, not moving an inch. All was going well until I forgot the admonition to not tease the monkeys. The monkey dropped the banana it was eating and trying to be funny and mug for the camera, I pointed to the banana and said to the monkey “You dropped your banana.” The monkey immediately turned toward me, hissed and then showed me his HUGE teeth. I have never seen such big fangs or rotten teeth in my life. Then, with lightning quickness, he scratched my arm, jumped down, grabbed the banana I pointed at and rocketed up into a nearby tree. Mitch got it all on film and was laughing hysterically while I remained on the bench in utter shock. The scratch didn’t draw blood but the monkey’s horrid breath lingered around me for hours afterward. It was much worse than the Knott’s Berry Farm monkey’s halitosis.

I have “take a wildlife photo safari in Africa” on my bucket list but I’m a little worried about those damn monkeys. I will definitely make it a point to stay away from the simians!



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