Miscellany

What it’s Like to be Attacked by a Monkey

Most of us will go through our lives without being attacked by a monkey. That’s a pleasant statistical fact. Unless you are an organ grinder or work in a zoo, you have no day-to-day experience with monkeys. Your day consists of thoughts like I am going to get a pumpkin spice latte or I need to break up with Doug. You never, ever think an angry Capuchin monkey is going to run up my arm and attack me.

Ever.

But, it can happen and I want you to be prepared. You could find yourself, as I did, with an irate Capuchin monkey named Dr. Julius running up your arm. This is a surprising event to most people.

It’s also an event that completely captures your focus. You may have had a litany of other problems to deal with before that moment but they all take a backseat to being attacked by a monkey. You might be behind on a deadline, defaulting on a mortgage or failing algebra — this all means nothing now. A monkey with a doctorate is running up your arm, angrily grabbing your face — and you really don’t know why.

Allow me to better acquaint you with the thought process of a person being attacked by a monkey.

First and foremost, you think: Holy shit, I am being attacked by a monkey.

Next, you think you should work out a plan. Many of us have contingencies tucked away for more common events like muggings, aggressive panhandling and earthquakes. No one expects a monkey attack. It’s like your first time playing poker: You are confused and do not know what to do.

Now what?

Many of us have had just enough martial arts training to be capable of nothing unless we are attacked very specifically and in slow motion. Monkeys are fast and their wiry limbs are unpredictable. So, that’s no help.

Strength doesn’t help either. I can assure you that whether you are an emaciated milquetoast or The Mountain, a monkey attack will have you on the defensive from the moment it commences. Absolutely no one is prepared to be attacked by a tiny, formerly adorable monkey.

The answer to “Now what?” is “nothing.” You can’t handle being attacked by a monkey! It’s too much for your human brain! It paralyzes you with shock. It’s a monkey attack! The monkey is simply going to do what it intended to do, which unfortunately includes putting its dirty monkey thumb in your mouth and yanking on your cheek.

As that is happening you may ask yourself why it is happening. Good question. Totally normal. Odds are you’ll be hard-pressed to come up with a reason because you and I are regular people. We don’t go around enraging monkeys for fun. We don’t set out to make monkeys mad. That’s just dumb.

So, you’ve been attacked by a monkey, you’re incapable of responding to the attack, and you have no idea why the attack happened.

Now is time for reflection.

You’ll be surprised at the amount of pain a small primate can dish out when it places its opposable thumb inside your mouth, grabs a hold of your cheek and pulls. It really hurts. The hurt is disproportionate to the size of the monkey attacking you. You’ll appreciate being attacked by a once-adorable, tiny Capuchin as opposed to an formerly-amusing, mid-sized orangutan or originally-mellow, XXL-sized gorilla.

If a wee Capuchin can dish out pain like that, one can only imagine what Dunston could do were he to check-in angry.

Along with the physical pain of a Capuchin monkey attack comes the mental trauma. Monkeys are dirty. They throw poo. They use their fingers to throw poo. Some of those fingers were just in your mouth, grabbing a meaty hold of your cheek and yanking for reasons you have yet to comprehend.

So, you may have monkey-poo mouth. You don’t have to be a germ freak to be upset by this.

And to think, the day started with you thinking about pumpkin spice lattes and break-ups!

If you’re lucky, the monkey attack was just a momentary flash of violence. The monkey made his or her point, whatever it was, and will stand down.

Now is the time to gather your thoughts and ask the monkey handler what the hell just happened. That is, of course, if there is a human handling the monkey. If that’s not the case, then you’re probably in the jungle on that monkey’s turf and should high-tail it out of there, pride be damned.

If there is a monkey handler, he will provide you with some helpful advice as to why you were the recent victim of a monkey attack. It’s helpful information that you’ll wish you knew beforehand. Information like:

Monkeys consider prolonged eye contact as a threat.

Good to know! There you had been, silly human, thinking that gazing into the eyes of an adorable Capuchin monkey who looked like a tiny grandpa was a deep, transcendent experience. It wasn’t. You were telling the monkey you wanted to beat him up and take his hot ladies.

Now your face hurts and you likely have poo mouth, but you learned something valuable about nature — and you have a story to tell. Just don’t forget to gargle Listerine for half an hour.

Tip: How Commas Work

Commas are quite small, yet they pack a lot of punch as far as being able to completely alter the meaning of a sentence.
Let’s say you wanted an iPhone and were forced to sign a contract with its sole service “provider” AT&T. And let’s say that the coverage with AT&T is so bad that you regret having signed a contract with them. You might say:
I’m sorry I have AT&T.
Now, let’s say you’re on the phone and because you have AT&T the call keeps dropping out. You want to apologize to the person with whom you are trying to communicate. You take the same sentence and simply add a comma:
I’m sorry, I have AT&T.
The sentence no longer expresses regret for having a two-year contract with a shoddy mobile phone company but instead tells the individual you had hoped to have a conversation but can’t because your shoddy mobile phone company won’t let you.
All that from a little comma!
Next week we’ll talk about how putting quotes around a word suggests you’re being facetious.

Storked Begets Rattled

rattled_coppa.jpg
Last April, when my book came out, Christine Coppa invited me to come in and guest blog on her ridiculously popular weblog Storked! which is part of the Glamour magazine empire. Speaking of Glamour, I wrote a little piece for them years ago and while I don’t remember what I said, I do remember they paid $3 a word. Good times. Good times.
Anyway, I digress.
Storked! came about when Christine – a professional, single New Yorker in her twenties – got herself a little pregnant and decided to keep the baby. Because her story was not written by the folks who gave us Knocked Up, there was no happy ending where all loose ends are taken care of. In fact, the guy who did the ‘pregnatin’ bailed. As a result, Storked! documents the life of a professional, single New Yorker in her twenties opting to have and raise a child all on her own (though with priceless familial support). In general, I consider Christine very lucky in that she gets paid to write about her life. She’s almost as lucky as Jack Nicholson, who gets paid a fortune to play Jack Nicholson.
Storked! turned into a book. That’s not easy. There was a time when all weblogs turned into books, but not anymore. Publishers finally learned that they couldn’t simply sell a book of collected web postings because the collected weblog postings were initially free. Because of this, writers must write brand new things to justify the price of the book. So hard! Rattled! is the account of Christine’s journey as a professional, single New Yorker in her twenties. However, it is not a re-hash of her weblog – it’s a memoir.
I am going to bet that it winds up being made into a movie. And I’m going to bet even more that the people pitching the movie are going to sell it as Sex & the City meets The Devil Wears Prada meets Juno.
Now that she has a book, Christine is a single mom & author. That might make her more appealing to Anne Coulter, who recently accused single moms of being the root of all evil. And all along I’d thought it was video games.
Rattled!: A Memoir on Amazon.

Ask A Talentless Mime

talentless-mime.jpg
Were you pretending to poke someone in the stomach?
No. I was hoping to convey that I was in an elevator and pressing the button repeatedly, as if the elevator was not moving.
Why did you feign shaving your fist?
That was peeling a banana.
Your “walking against the wind” routine at the end was brilliant, how long did you practice that?
That was actually my exit. I lost several tendons when I tripped on a sickle.
Were you classically trained?
In Market Research, yes.

Invisible Suit – FAQ

Why wear an invisible suit?

There are many reasons people wear invisible suits. Often times they are in lines of work that require them to be invisible. Some individuals feel thinner and less visible when wearing an invisible suit. Other times they are shy and want to dramatically avoid eye contact.

Does anyone famous wear an invisible suit?

Crispin Glover wore an invisible suit between 1996-2000.

Can I run into trouble with my invisible suit?

Use your invisible suit responsibly. We are not liable in any way if you do not use your suit in a legal and ethical manner. This includes sneaking into films, watching coeds undress and attacking spinsters in broad daylight.
A good rule of thumb is this: The next time you are having sex with your significant other ask yourself if you would want someone standing in the corner of the room watching and fondling their invisible selves.

How do I know my invisible suit is working?

If you are attempting to hail a cab to no effect you are probably wearing an invisible suit, or it might be 4pm when all cabbies are suddenly “off duty.”
Also, your invisible suit emits a low hum and will explode in the rain.

When should I not wear my invisible suit?

When it is raining. Also, you should not wear your invisible suit when posing for Christmas card photos as you will be invisible.
Remember to use common sense. It is not advisable to wear your invisible suit when giving a speech, as people will look around and ask where the hell the voice is coming from. Likewise, do not wear your invisible suit to a pageant as that defeats the whole purpose.

How long will my invisible suit last?

With proper care and maintenance your invisible suit should last you quite some time unless you turn it on and misplace it.

Imagining The First Date

Pictures and bios from the omnipresent online personals invite one to leap to conclusions about the first night out.

Photo: A young woman uncomfortably close to the camera.
Song or album that puts me in the mood: “Another Girl’s Paradise. Something about the way she speaks of Desire.”

While waiting for a table she asks me if I like “Sailor Moon” and tells me her favorite channel is Cartoon Network. I notice that she peppers everything with pseudo-intellectual buzzwords like a film student. Over appetizers it becomes clear she’s a socialist, which gets us into a long-winded political debate from which there can be no good outcome. By the time the entrees arrive, she knows I detest Noam Chomsky and I think Barbra Streisand is a semi-literate nitwit. She says I sound like a “neocon” and calls the U.S. an “imperialist hegemon.” We skip dessert, and I tell her my head hurts and I need to go home. I play Rainbow Six 3 on the Xbox until 3:40 in the morning.
Photo: A woman pulling the old ‘mega-close-up’ of her nose and lip which is usually done to hide unpleasantness under the guise of artistic exploration.
More about what I am looking for: “Someone who can get under my skin, be fearless as a gypsy, and laugh as much as I do.”

I arrive at the restaurant and look for her at the bar. I don’t recognize her because of the lousy photo. I hear my name called. She’s 326 pounds. She lied! She said she was “average.” I start to panic. I make up conversation, asking her why gypsies are considered fearless since all I knew about them was they annoyed most of Europe and were afraid of employment. Her eyes frighten me. I want her to stop staring. The panic is taking over. I imagine friends coming in and seeing me with her. I picture my high school having a reunion here. I’m shaking. She wants to touch. She keeps touching. Can’t breathe. Can’t breathe. The table is ready. Can’t do it. Can’t do it. I run through the revolving door with such violence that it sucks half the air conditioning out of the place. I’m free! I’m free! I run straight home and hide in the closet for three days.
Photo: A not very flattering headshot of a woman who might look better without a bandana on.
Why you should get to know me: “I am a real woman who can eat a steak that is still mooing at me.”

Although our reservation is for 8 p.m., the table is not ready. She yells, “This is bullshit!” at the hostess several times, attracting the attention of other patrons. This causes me to drink my pricey glass of Cabernet rather fast. Regardless of what we talk about, the conversation always steers towards her telling me how independent she is, how she doesn’t need anyone, how she likes “alone time.” And she hates her dad. She orders her steak “rare, like, bloody, it doesn’t matter, it can look at me for all I care…” at which point I excuse myself for the bathroom. I call my friend and ask him to meet me at Peter McManus.
Photo: A pouty woman stares vacantly off-camera into the warm glow of a computer monitor.
Why you should get to know me: “Cultural criticism turns me on.”

We meet at Zen Palate because she’s a veggie. I start criticizing culture. She seems interested. I ask what she’d like me to criticize. She doesn’t care. It’s all good, she says. I tell her that people can be very boring and terribly pretentious. She agrees. I tell her that these days, people can simply judge others as twits solely by something superficial- like a pouting, pretentious picture. She agrees, but doesn’t catch on. “I’m criticizing YOU!” I scream. I criticize her lame bio and ridiculous picture. She’s completely turned on. We rush back to her place and have sex on the living room floor. She commits suicide while I’m getting dressed.
Photo: A friendly enough woman looking straight into the camera for a change. Would make a swell passport photo.
More about what I am looking for: “Intelligent and sensitive to the arts and keen on science.”

After I get loosened up from our pre-dinner drink, I ask her what exactly it means to be “sensitive to the arts.” She tells me she doesn’t know either, and explains that she can’t write profiles to save her life. The talk turns to science, so I regale her with the story of my former boss and his psychotic brother who built his own Tesla Generator – a device that can light up fluorescent lights wirelessly with the unfortunate side-effect of destroying all FM radio signals in the immediate area. She has three martinis and gets very drunk. She asks if I want to hear her sing. She goes to the bathroom and doesn’t emerge for 30 minutes, at which point we mutually decide to call it a night. She tells me she really wants to get together again. I give her a fake phone number.
Photo: A blurry shot with a younger woman looking off. Her eyes reflect light, most likely the flash that has washed out the rest of her.
In my bedroom, you’ll find: “Nail polish, guitar picks, Japanese fashion magazines, and a general shrine to our Lady of Hello Kitty.”

She asks me to pick her up at her Brooklyn apartment. I show up, and she’s not yet ready to go out. I sit on her futon and play with her three cats. Her apartment smells like cat urine. The litterbox is in the kitchen. I tell her that I met the creators of Hello Kitty back when I was 12ish, which instantly nets me a few points. I ask her what her obsession with Japan is and she tells me she thinks Japanese girls are hot, and that she’s actually a bisexual. She tells me her pajamas have feet. I slip out of the apartment, the noise masked by the hum from her Sonicare toothbrush.
Photo: Black and White photo of an apparently happy, bohemian-looking woman with long hair.
Song or album that puts me in the mood: “Cat Stevens, or Yosef as he’s called these days.”

We meet for drinks only. I ask her if she thinks Cat Stevens is a jerk after he went all Muslim-loopy and called for the death of Salman Rushdie. “What are you talking about?” she asks me. I tell her that he supported the fatwa against Rushdie. “Who’s Rushdie?” she asks. I tell her he authored “The Satanic Verses” and Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him. “What’s a fatwa?” she asks. I tell her it’s a religious decree issued by an Islamic higher-up, in this case Khomeini’s fatwa called for Rushdie’s death. “Who’s Khomeini?” she asks. I feign a heart attack until she leaves.
Photo: A guy with a shit-eating grin.
The five items I can’t live without: “Fast cars, my dog, friends, TV, great food.”

We meet at a Ranch One. I tell him I’m not interested in dating him. Rather, I just wanted to meet him in person since his bio screamed “I’m a dullard!” and I had to see this in person. He seems shocked, like most of the no-talent hacks on American Idol when the truth hits. I tell him, “The smug photo, the trite list of items he can’t live without… dullard.” I tell him I bet he’s the kind of guy who says “shizzle” and “bro” a lot. He storms out. I order a chicken sandwich to go.

Lesser Known Cosmic Events

Beige Holes
Not-so-supernovas
Planetary Dawdling
Confused Nebulae
Unenthusiastic Binary Stars
Average Orbits
Quasar Farts
Over-twinkling
Unhappy White Giants
When a Nebula looks like the Michelin Man if you squint enough.
The Pulsar Pride parades of Wolf-357
Andromeda Waving Back
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