The Monkey on my Back

You may not know this about me, but I suffer from pomfretphobia. In layman’s terms, I have a fear of monkeys. I’ve suffered this phobia since childhood, and it’s likely rooted in The Wizard of Oz since, even in my adult years, I fast-forward through that flying-monkey scene. Which means that I also suffer from aeropomfretphobia, or a fear of flying monkeys. 

This affliction could also be due to those Curious George books, which still freak me out. This would mean that I also have bibliopomfretphobia, or a fear of books about monkeys. But I recently learned that the absence of a tail implies George was more likely a chimp and not a monkey. Although given all the trouble he got into, his tail may very well have been amputated as the result of some bizarre elevator or go-cart accident…

I definitely don’t suffer from pithecophobia, which is a fear of all primates, including gorillas and chimps, because I love gorillas and chimps. (Although I’m pretty sure that, even if Curious George turned out to be a chimp, I still wouldn’t like that little fucker…)

But if we’re talking about marmosets, tamarins, baboons or even the sock kind, monkeys scare the shit outta me. It doesn’t matter how small or sweet or cute they are, I don’t like one thing about them.

WAIT – I actually do like one thing about monkeys.
They fling their poop.
Let me explain…

As humans, we use words to communicate our fear, contempt or frustration with fellow humans. And while I make much of my living with words, I must concede that they’re a messy form of communication. Our choice of which words to use – and our delivery thereof – are highly subject to interpretation. And when either the delivery or translation is poor, things go horribly wrong.

Monkeys don’t verbally communicate their disdain. They simply poop, scoop, aim and fire with a clear target – and intent – in mind.

Shit is also a messy form of communication. But it’s lots easier to clean up than words. No worrying about what someone really meant when they said something, or why they said it that way. No apology, no dozen roses, no therapy bills. Just a trip down to the nearest creek and you’re good as new.

Even cooler: monkeys know exactly what they’re doing when slinging their shit, as numerous field studies indicate they don’t wipe out family members or mates. Only other monkeys who are behaving like little assholes.

These same studies also reveal that, in groups, the highly skilled poop throwers have more developed left brain hemispheres. Which, coincidentally, is exactly where speech processing occurs in humans. This makes me wonder if a person’s ability to accurately hurl shit (literal or otherwise) is directly linked to their own communication skills…

All of this means that monkeys not only get what they’re doing, they’re doing it exactly as we humans would. That is, if we ever decided to fling poop instead of words. And provided we didn’t suffer from coprophobia (fear of poop). Or aerocoprophobia (fear of flying poop).

So that’s what I like about monkeys.
But that’s all that I like about them.

It’s the perpetual monkey on my back.

Sometimes I think I’d not be so frightened of monkeys if Curious George had, just once, flung his poop at that Man in the Yellow Hat…