Primate Instincts


in Best of the Smart Set


On this day in 2007, Barry Neild wrote about his fear of a real-life Planet of the Apes. Two years later, Andrea Calabretta told the story of how her love for cute primates led to an unfortunate encounter with and subsequent wariness of the furry creatures. It seems as though we have a history of stories about close encounters of the simian kind posted on October 5th — read them both and keep it going.

I’ve always given a wide berth to apes, chimps, gorillas, and their ilk — I know they’re supposed to be man’s closest relatives but, let’s face it, no one enjoys a family reunion. Unfortunately, my wife fails to share this point of view, pouring scorn on my claims that monkey scientists are toiling in jungle laboratories to further man’s downfall. Humans, she says, are the bad guys, driving apes to the brink of extinction by hounding them from the treetops and destroying their habitat.

Read It: On the Trail of Orangutans by Barry Neild 

Now the monkey was climbing down his arm and then swinging across to his bare chest. Again I noticed the little tuft of hair sticking up on top of the monkey’s head, as though his mom hadn’t gotten around to brushing his hair.

“Can I pet him?” I asked.

What was I thinking — that I’d liberate the monkey? Climb up the telephone poles and hand him over to his rightful family? Bring him back to my apartment in Boston and build him a jungle gym in the living room? •

Read It: Monkey Business by Andrea Calabretta