Monday, 21 September 2009

MY MATE, PRIMATE...



I have a terrible confession to make...I can't stand monkeys, whether they be primates or apes. To be frank they give me the dry heaves.

I don't care for any of them, big or small, but I have a particularly strong dislike of orangutans. It could be their freakishly shaped faces, it could be those bug eyes or it might be one too many 'ginger' jokes as a kid, I can't look at them without shuddering.

I blame this weird foible, not on being a cold hearted animal hater but on a traumatic childhood event featuring Miss Marple. No, there were no homicidal baboons in St Mary Mead, but there was an episode called 'Sleeping Murder' that left me unable to sleep without the light on for several nights and a lifelong mistrust of our closest cousins. It featured a killer who wore leather driving gloves to strangle a woman and these were described by a child witness as looking "like a monkey's paws"...

Since that day, monkeys' paws have filled me with a terrible dread and I always associate them with death. This was quite a turn up for the books as until then I had been inseparable from a small stuffed gorilla who I was given when I was a few months old. While the real thing gives me the heebie-jeebies, I still love this now pitiful creature who looks like a half chewed liquorice allsort and would probably save him over all else in the event of a fire. I often look at him and resolve to be less hateful toward the great apes...but it never lasts.

Aside from their deathly paws, monkeys give me the creeps since they look like small children who have prematurely aged and grown a thick coat of fur. If God hadn't invented them, Stephen King would have. The recent Stephen Fry documentary 'Last Chance to See' that featured mountain gorillas had me hiding behind the sofa, thinking insanely uncharitable thoughts about an endangered species.  I felt like a terrible person until I remembered that monkeys aren't just ugly, they gave us the HIV virus all those years ago...


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