Sunday, October 16, 2005

Li'l Buddy

I was in a little town outside of Austin on Thursday just hanging out, walking around looking at the old houses. I saw a guy in a wheelchair who looked like he was pretty challenged. You know how it is--you're pretty curious about what is going on with him but you don't want to stare and make it all awkward. So I ran my eyes over him without staring to take in as much info as possible that could be processed later. As I made the ocular sweep my eyes caught on something strange and furry. Was that a cat's tail wiggling on his shoulder? No! It turned out to be one of my favorite things in the world--a HELPER MONKEY! I know the concept of the helper monkey is pretty old news for most people, but how many have you actually seen in person?

The helper monkey doesn't really have a good rep in popular culture. Most recently one made an appearance in that deliciously wicked Malcolm in the Middle episode with the evil helper that holds Craig hostage. But it's George Romero who probably made the most memorable images of helper monkeys in the genius Monkey Shines. That monkey had a serious possessive side to her that was not pleasant for anyone involved. I don't know about you but I have never heard of real monkeys able to channel and embody their companion's rage. I did once have a girlfriend's cat try to smother me once, though. So if you know anything about helper monkey monsters please post your story in the comments field--I would love to hear it!

I always pictured the helper monkeys as being pretty large--maybe the size of a cat--but this one was tiny. It made me wonder how much help it could really give to this man. My only guess is that it they place the monkeys with the companion early so that they bond and can be trained to the companion's specific needs. This monkey was also wearing a teeny diaper, which made it all the more amazing to see.

Here's a little video introduction for those who have never heard about these helpful creatures: Gizmo & George

Today I dedicate this blog to you, little helper monkey. May you and your companion share many fruitful years together in picturesque Bastrop, TX!

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