Evil Monkeys & Other Phobias

“I mean it, PC!  If dwarfs crash this party, we’re going right home,” she threatened.  

He looked for a hint of a smile on her face, but nothing. She was dead serious.

“But SW, royalty from all over the land will be attending the event. There will be music and dancing and wine and…”   

She cut him off, like a telemarketer trying to sell her vinyl siding.

“I don’t care if flying unicorns that poop golden apples show up! I can’t stand dwarfs! They give me the willies. I can’t prove it, but I think the little perverts peeked at my goodies when I fell into that deep sleep. Now they stare at my chest all the time and giggle constantly, except for the grumpy one, and he terrifies me,” SW lamented.

“Honey, they’re short. That’s why they gawk at your chest. And if they attempted to look into your beautiful eyes – they’d get kinks in their necks. The little guys are weird, I admit it. But they’re all basically harmless – honest!”
Musical Monkey
PC decided to withhold mentioning the time he found three of them drunk and sleeping with female raccoons in her underwear drawer.

My wife hates monkeys. They scare her. And not the large varieties like gorillas. It’s the smaller ones that give her the creeps. Organ grinder monkeys and circus chimps frighten her more than the average jungle or zoo primate.

During visits to African wildlife sanctuaries or large zoos, we avoid the monkey exhibits. If necessary, we take detours right through the hippopotamus ponds to bypass the smelly primate villages. And the monkeys with the hairless, pink rear-ends disturb her more than the other varieties.

Every once in a while something reinforces my wife’s hatred of monkeys and validates her case for eradicating them from the planet. She read a newspaper story about a man on the west coast who was attacked by two chimpanzees. The pair chewed off the guy’s nose, ripped off his foot and testicles and shredded his face.

Okay, I agreed with her – maybe monkeys should be forced to return to their native lands.

Throughout our married years, I have encouraged my wife to see the world through a monkey’s eyes.  They’re chess pawns in an emotional game between God and scientists. They’re plucked from their arboreal homes and put behind bars so kids can throw marshmallows and M&Ms at them. Entertainers dress them up in tiny business suits or ballerina outfits and laugh at their absurd antics. Nevertheless, my attempts to personalize the monkey’s plight could not penetrate my wife’s emotional defenses. She still despises them.

I also lectured her about the unfairness of judging an entire species based on the actions of only several of its members. The two chimpanzees that violently attacked the innocent man were not acting on behalf of the entire primate population. They were rogues, lone wolves, exiles, outcasts who operated independently of their banana-sniffing relatives. Does one politician who accepts a bribe defile all elected officials? Are all attorneys scoundrels because a handful chase ambulances? Should all girl scouts be banned from grocery stores and commercial establishments because a few of their mothers resort to intimidation and violence to sell their cookies? Again, my defense of monkeys fell woefully short of effective. My wife continues to hate them.

Personally, I don’t like monkeys either, but I tolerate them. Let me put it another way – I wouldn’t save room for them on the next ark. Penguins, flying squirrels, lobsters, moose, picas (sub-alpine mouse-like creatures found in rocky regions above 9,000 feet elevation), whippoorwills, groupers and Wisconsin Badger fans all have reserved seats, but not monkeys.

Everybody totes emotional baggage. For some individuals, that luggage carries traditional demons that haunt and disturb them: snakes, spiders, bees, mice, bats, darkness, thunder, airplanes, jellyfish, sharks and mimes. For other people, their evil spirits represent more quirky, almost unexplainable characters.  Monkeys certainly fit that category. So do rodeo clowns, old uncles with false teeth, babies dressed in tiny sailor outfits, really fat toads, philosophy graduates from the University of Minnesota and ballerinas with B.O.

It requires real aptitude to understand your wife’s idiosyncrasies, to accept them and, on occasion, to appreciate them, even when you’re under siege by a conscience that’s whispering “force her to change.” If you’re successful in achieving this catharsis, then and only then can you instinctively release your male-pattern stubbornness and allow her weird behavior to flourish. You need this attribute to advance out of the preliminary round for Husband of the Year and into the quarterfinals with the serious contestants.

(next post: More “Evil Monkeys & Other Phobias” and those diabolical librarians)