Something to Hide
Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey
Okay, I wasn’t going to blog about this, because I could think of no good way to do so while avoiding attracting innuendo. But hell, I write comedy, and I figure, “anything for a cheap laugh,” so here goes:
I played with some guy’s monkey yesterday.
That’s not a metaphor, so shut up.
I’m driving through the blink-and-miss-it “town” of Beatty, Nevada (it was on yesterday’s map) when I decide I really need a Rockstar to keep me awake. Next to the convenience store is a t-shirt store, which I go into because some of the t-shirts look amusing. I find a jar of fission-strength hot sauce I want to try, and go up to the counter. The guy behind the counter is talking on the phone, but I can tell he’s wrapping up, so I wait patiently, looking around. Over by the window is a cat carrier. Something’s moving around inside. I assume it’s a cat, until a tiny, dark hand with an opposable thumb pokes out of one of the air holes. I’m like, wtf?
Guy gets off the phone and goes to ring up my purchase.
Me: “Is that… a monkey?”
Him: “Yep. She’s very friendly. Want to say hi?”
Me: “Um, sure.”
Him: “Okay, try not to make any sudden moves. She might grab your hair and any shiny objects.”
So he takes the monkey out of the carrier, telling me she’s a 9-month-old Capuchin monkey named Hannah. I’d never seen a monkey outside a movie or a zoo, let alone had one climbing me like I was a rainforest tree. And the monkey had a hell of a grip.
Him: “Don’t worry; she hasn’t bitten anyone yet.”
Wow, I’m thinking, what a relief. When she opens her mouth, she’s got a little pink tongue and neat rows of teeth that look a lot like ours only maybe a little sharper.
The capuchin, by the way, is the kind of monkey you used to see with organ grinders (hey, there’s another phrase you can make fun of). I think the monkey in Pirates of the Caribbean was one of that species as well. And I understand that lately, they’ve gained some popularity as helper animals for the disabled. Dogs are fine, I suppose, but without the whole opposable thumb thing it’s hard to convince one to open your beer. Point is, these monkeys are intelligent and highly trainable. Also, freaky-looking – they appear just human enough, with their close-set eyes and relatively flat face, to be a bit disconcerting. And then there’s the tail: as long as the rest of the monkey and prehensile, almost a furry tentacle, really.
From what I was able to find with about five minutes of quick internet research, I think the evolutionary lines of new-world monkeys (which include capuchins) and humans diverged something like 30 million years ago. This was long before the chimp-human line divergence of about 7 million years ago. For reference, the dinosaurs went extinct about 65.5 million years ago, and there have been animals on Earth for nearly 600 million years. So yeah, there are striking similarities – and even more striking differences, like the tail thing.
Anyway, I think the dude said he was training Hannah to take money from tourists. Fortunately for me, he had just started the training, so I was only out the price of a bottle of hotter-than-hell sauce – though I found myself checking to make sure my wallet, keys, hot sauce, energy drink, and glasses were all there as I made my way back to the car. The thought of a 15-pound capuchin monkey drinking a whole can of Rockstar is not one I’d like to consider for long.
Now, if you’re wondering why I’m talking about yesterday and not today, and perhaps why there are no pictures or maps, it’s because my sightseeing plans were thwarted by un-desert-ish weather around here. Plus, I didn’t sleep worth a damn last night – the guest bed at my friend’s house near Reno was incredibly comfortable, and after that, a cheap hotel bed is a bit of a letdown. So today, I mostly had a pounding headache (until I got a couple of beers and some tequila in me, this evening) and hung around the casino winning more money.
Tomorrow (Friday) promises to be mild and sunny, so maybe I’ll get some sightseeing done then, if I can fight through the Vegas traffic. I intend to leave early Saturday morning, so I really would like to see something other than blackjack tables before that happens. Now, go ahead and get the “monkey” innuendo out of your system in the comment section. I know you’re dying to say something about shocking, or spanking, or some such.