Great value for the monkey

January 11, 2007

We’ve all seen it happen: parents spend a ton of money on an enormous, expensive, popular gift, and their kid ends up playing all day in the box it came in.

Along those lines, it was a cheap, last-minute, impractical, completely ridiculous stocking stuffer that most intrigued my wife on Christmas morning, and the one gift she has drawn the most pleasure from ever since. The pearl and quartz necklace? Sure, she wears it, but I’m convinced she doesn’t enjoy it as much as the silly stocking stuffer. Maybe she would if she threw it at me.

To elaborate:

A couple of days before Christmas, Monkey Fever swept through the Coast Star office. Inspired by an article in our newspaper, Josh went and bought a stupid little flying monkey at the toy store. The arms have surgical tubing in them, and when the slingshot simian is launched (upwards of 50 feet), the little bugger emits and convincing monkey-scream. Josh demonstrated the toy, we all took turns with it, and pretty soon the bulk of the office staff made a brief and excited pilgrimage to the toy store.

The monkey I purchased has a removable pink leatheresque helmet and cape. Very stylish. Her face has a Curious George quality to it, round and tan with a beaming smile. Such friendliness belies a violent and manic quality that has exploded in my house in sporadic bursts of gorilla warfare.

When Diane discovered the monkey in her Christmas stocking, she found it amusing. When I gave a demonstration of its capabilities, she was intrigued. When she experimented with the stretchy beast…well, let’s just say barely a day has passed without someone (and by someone, I mean my wife) using the monkey to scare the crap out of someone else (and by someone else, I mean me).

Diane will claim I started it. She’ll say that when her mother visited Christmas morning, I nearly gave the both of them dual heart attacks by launching the flying screaming monkey into the kitchen from the front hallway. That may be so. And it may also be true that I was responsible for other assaults shortly after the holidays.

But nothing I did matches the ferocity and relentlessness of monkey-related terrorist attacks perpetuated against me in the days since. Time and again my peace of mind has been shattered by the specter of a shrieking blur of fur flying out at me from nowhere, followed by the gleeful giggling of my attacker.

Once, upon arriving home late at night, assuming my spouse was upstairs in bed, I walked into the dining room to return an amplifier I had been using and to check the thermostat before retiring. From out of the darkness of the adjoining living room, like a bolt of pink lightning, rocketed the monkey, its high-pitched jungle scream nearly making me drop the amp on my foot.[1]

Another time, after staying up late, I walked into the darkened bedroom slowly and quietly, so as not to wake Diane, who, unbeknownst to me, was lying in wait like an assassin, easily targeting my silhouetted frame with her flying screaming monkey. That shot made me clutch my stomach and lurch like Lee Harvey Oswald.

Diane will claim the escalation was due to an unprovoked headshot. That may be so. It could be that when she was gliding up the hallway toward the bedroom one morning she was greeted by a flying screaming monkey, which ricocheted off her left ear and seriously mussed her hair. I know, I know – it’s all a joke until a flying screaming monkey takes out someone’s eye.

There has been one respite in the conflict. I was flossing at the bathroom mirror when all of a sudden the dreaded monkey came whizzing out of the bedroom, through the air space in the hallway, into the bathroom, over my shoulder, off the mirror…and into the toilet, which, thankfully for the monkey, had been flushed since its last use. Two points.

I am prepared to draw up plans for a cease-fire that will amenable to both sides. But…what fun would that be?


[1] To her credit, Diane had left a note on the kitchen table saying, “Watch out for flying monkeys,” but I wasn’t sure if she was being literal or reverting to medieval euphemisms.

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