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Why we love the monkey

We must be sober and serious about this.

A monkey — specifically, a rhesus macaque — is on the loose. Said monkey has been sighted around the Tampa Bay area for more than a year now.

This is serious business. It is imperative this wily monkey be carefully and humanely captured, and by professionals. So the critical message to be communicated here is:

Go, monkey, go!

No, wait! I didn't mean that! It just slipped out!

Wildlife experts are wisely warning a public gone monkey-mad about potential disease and the possibility of a bad end involving this young male monkey on the lam. Monkeys can be bad-tempered and if cornered can seriously hurt a person, they say. They worry about those of us naive enough to chase a monkey with a banana or a camera. Or even dumber, to try to catch him.

Just wait till somebody gets a picture of the monkey "eating a baby bald eagle," a frustrated trapper said recently, lest our monkey worship spiral too far out of control.

So why is it we love the monkey?

Why does the monkey have some 60,000 Facebook fans? And his own Wikipedia entry as "Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay"? Could there be a little monkey in all of us?

Some have theorized this monkey may have been dissed by fellow monkeys, and hey, who doesn't know what that feels like? So we picture him a free spirit out looking for monkey friends and even monkey love, and without those diabetic-coma-inducing eHarmony ads to depress him about his monkey-related prospects.

The monkey has reportedly shaken off the effects of drugs (from tranquilizer darts) and been spotted at a church (or, on a church), and make of that what you will.

But think about it: The monkey is free of dentist waiting rooms, automated phone systems that "help" you and Jehovah's Witnesses at the door on a Saturday morning. The monkey does not know his taxes are due.

The monkey does not care about our Grand Prix, though he would fit right in at Gasparilla. For the monkey, every day is spring break.

I bet the monkey does not get a headache between his monkey eyes over newspaper stories of tax breaks for yacht buyers juxtaposed with headlines on soaring unemployment and spiking gas prices.

I know for a fact the monkey does not concern himself with politically motivated lawsuits against the health care law that cite "constitutionality."

Because for the monkey, sour grapes are just dinner.

Should the monkey make his way out to our beaches — surely a spirit like his will — I don't suppose he will look out at the gulf and think of the slippery slope of opening our waters to oil drilling. Nor will the monkey be left to wonder how our president could have gotten this one so very wrong.

But enough of this monkey-related daydreaming.

We are responsible human beings here. This is a wild monkey on the loose, not some sprite peeking through the trees at us as we go about our lives, not some charmed creature who has found freedom even in our paved-over, strip-malled state.

It is important that we root for those trappers to bring him in peacefully, to give this monkey tale its best possible end.

We know this is so. But the monkey in us can't help thinking: Go, monkey, go.

Why we love the monkey 04/02/10 [Last modified: Monday, April 5, 2010 9:48am]
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