Can you imagine walking into a dinner party tonight and being able, with an uncompromising straight face, to sit down, smooth out a napkin on your lap, have a sip of pinot noir and say with an icy grin, "Well, I guess I showed that monkey who's boss"?
We Americans have plenty to worry about these days, what with the lingering specter of terror attacks, dark prophecies of ecological breakdown, constant and horrifying presidential scandals and Nicole Richie. But I submit to you today that none of these matter one little squirty bit, because I am happy to tell you that in India, there are monkeys who steal things, and that you can sic The Law on these monkeys.
Last week, the police force in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi found themselves in search of a monkey accused of swiping a pair of glasses out of the hotel room of what had to be the comically bewildered head of a South Korean tourist, who -- and I think this'll be a delightful precedent for our nation's tragically undernourished lawyer community -- filed a formal complaint against the monkey. "It is difficult to trace the monkey, but I am trying my best to locate the rogue," said investigating officer Govind Singh, who if he lives to be 300 years old will never live down the day he pulled Monkey Duty.
This, to paraphrase an ancient Hindu proverb, is TOTALLY AWESOME. Can you imagine walking into a dinner party tonight and being able, with an uncompromising straight face, to sit down, smooth out a napkin on your lap, have a sip of pinot noir and say with an icy grin, "Well, I guess I showed that monkey who's boss"?
The current Angriest Guy In The World At A Monkey is named Kim Dang Hoon, and he claims that the monkey broke into his hotel room, lifted the spectacles and then vamoosed. And, OK, listen, humor writing is not a particularly thoughtful or meaningful endeavor, and I don't want to spend a lot of time talking shop here, but this is exactly the sort of sentence that makes my heart leap out from my chest and engage in something approaching a palpitation festival. Kim Dang Hoon asserts that the monkey broke into his hotel room (it's best to now imagine a monkey in a black ski mask jimmying the lock with a credit card), tiptoeing around the room with a tiny monkey flash light, locating the glasses, squealing "Ah HA!" to himself, pinching the pilfered item and fleeing like a ninja out of the room into the dead of night, cackling the whole time. "FOOL!" the monkey snivels in my increasingly lively, Sherlock Holmes-ian monkey fantasy. "The glasses, they are MINE!" Then he scratches his genitals and eats four apples really fast.
But actually what happened, according to the world's most festive police report, is that Kim opened his hotel room window and the monkey "headed straight to the table were my glasses were kept and took it away."
But for his part, officer Singh said -- this is entirely true -- there wasn't much his men could do if they caught the thieving scoundrel, because there are no laws under which a monkey can be charged (Varanasi is, for all intents, a monkey town, where thousands of monkeys eat and steal from the millions of tourists who visit its holy sites every year).
This may sound ridiculous to you, or your family, or anybody, but I sympathize with Kim Dang Hoon, because I too am easily agitated and far too needlessly quick to embarass myself by dragging a professional agency into an unfortunate but entirely random problem, so I too have a number of complaints about monkeys, and they are as follows:
1. Always take the good bananas.
2. Not always as funny and personable in person as they are in cartoons.
3. Weird red butts, sometimes.
4. This one time, at the zoo with my son, I am reasonably sure I saw a monkey engage in an uncomfortably romantic-looking act with a rock in his enclosure, or possibly a toy, I don't know, it was hard to see because of the ferocity with which I tried to shuttle my 3-year-old son out of there before he started asking questions or making hilarious loud proclamations such as, "Daddy, the monkey is fighting the teddy bear, right?"
5. Peter Gabriel's "Shock The Monkey" is kind of annoying. However, George Michael's "Monkey" has been growing on me of late. So, push.
I am wagering that, with the right legal team and the considerable might of the Indian police force behind me, if I can track down the monkeys who are responsible for these various ills, I can be in line for a settlement on the order of several hundred million dollars, which sounds like a lot, but I've arranged for half of it to be paid in bananas, partly because of the delicious Dante-esque ironic punishment involved in such a maneuver, but also because I really, really like bananas.
Jeff Vrabel is a freelance writer; in his fantasy, the monkey also has a black top hat and cape and a handlebar mustache. He can be reached at www.jeffvrabel.com.