Posts Tagged ‘talking animals’

On Space Monkeys. Part Two.

February 17, 2010

Perhaps I’ve gotten ahead of myself. Space monkeys are so rarely found outside of this town these days that the non-resident may ask, “What is a space monkey?” A fine question. Space monkeys are – no surprise here – monkeys who have been used in space programs and, more commonly due to the lack of living primate space veterans, the descendents of monkeys who have been used in space programs. Not all of the monkeys that were flown into space survived, indeed most of them didn’t, but a few of those who did managed to breed afterward. The results were shocking. Space monkeys who had traveled in space, when they mated with regular earth monkeys, produced highly intelligent babies. Actually, when the first of these monkey babies were born, the doctors on duty thought that they were mal-formed. A hyper-intelligent space monkey for whatever reason is larger than a regular monkey but has only the strength of a fairly athletic human of about the same size. In addition to this, the doctors were quite concerned with the more common occurrence of sleep apnea in the new breed of space monkey descendents. This, they attribute to their ability to speak. This strange ability is made even stranger when you learn that they are usually proficient in several languages. It is unclear whether this is related more to an attempt by the monkey community to overcome “dumb monkey” stereotypes or more to an innate knack for language. There is certainly a lot we still don’t know about the science behind the origins of these strange creatures but unfortunately due to the strength of their civil liberties union all testing has long since ceased.

The handful of true space veterans in town live with their children as they lack the intelligence granted their offspring. It seems unusual until you realize that plenty of us humans live with similar arrangements. The children keep their parents in much the same way one would keep a pet, except the normal owner-pet bond is of an abnormally profound depth. If you’ve never had the chance to eat dinner with a second-generation space monkey and their parents you’ve missed out on a truly strange evening. I have had the weird pleasure of attending one of these dinners, and let me tell you, I have never once in my life before or since been as thoroughly uncomfortable as I was at that table. The evening began when the space monkeys let their parents out of their Kennel. It was a well stocked and generously sized kennel, of course, but when you’re keeping monkeys –even if they’re your parents – you’re gonna have to keep them in a cage some of the time. Space monkeys may lack taste and class, but they’re no slobs. They can’t have semi-domesticated monkeys tearing the place apart even if they are mom and dad. But for special occasions – holidays, dinner with guests and the like – the parents are let loose to mingle with the rest of the guests. I’ve heard of other parties, larger gatherings, where other space monkeys come over and bring their parents as well. Imagine if you will, a room with six or seven humanoid monkeys calmly discussing politics while twelve to fourteen wild monkeys destroy the place around them. I’ve never actually witnessed one of these evenings but my more curious half wants badly to see it once before the last of the original space monkeys die out.

On Being Eaten

February 13, 2010

Well, this can go down a few ways. In the wild they’ll just start eating you as soon as they get you down. This means there’s a good chance you’re gonna be alive for more of it then you really want to be. Your best bet is that they take you by the throat from the get go. Kill you right off. Many predators are not that thoughtful or kind. In fact, good money says more than a few of them get off on your being alive while they go at it.  

Then there’s captivity. Many times this can make being eaten alive look like a walk in the park. The thing about captivity is that it’s sometimes every bit as painful as being eaten alive but it lasts so much longer. You’ll bleed to death or lose consciousness in a matter of minutes when you’ve got a lion chowing down on your entrails. In captivity, they keep you alive for years. Unless you’re veal. That would, of course, have its own disadvantages.

All this thought about being eaten of course tends to lead one to a search for meaning. Is it more noble to be eaten by a bear or a lion then to become, say, dog food? Or a McDonalds hamburger? In the words of the great Wesley Willis, “McDonalds hamburgers are the worst.” You can easily imagine that there is some utility in becoming a bear’s dinner. It’s the circle of life, as Disney tells us. But a Big Mac? Far from the circle of life, if you become a Big Mac you are likely contributing to someone’s untimely demise. McDonalds does not sustain, it destroys. You die just to become an agent of evil, your death contributing to other deaths. Heart failure, type 2 diabetes in children. What the fuck is that?

For my money, if I’m going out as an unhealthy indulgence, I’ll tell you exactly what I’d like to become. Slow cooked barbeque. Now, I’m not a pig (and I’d tell you if I were, I know a number of great pigs. They get a bad rap but they’re tremendous folks, those pigs) and being from North Carolina I believe very strongly that barbeque equals pork. No exceptions.  But if we could stretch the rules, that’s the artery clogging food product I’d most like to become. If you’re going to be an unhealthy meal you should at least taste good. Not like McDonalds. I guess what I’m really saying is that I’d rather be eaten alive or tortured in captivity and slowly roasted in a barbeque pit then become a McDonald’s hamburger.