Several weeks ago, three dear friends and I were visiting with my grandmother. It was a particularly sad and stressful night for our family. I won’t go into the reasons why here, because this is a funny story, not a sad one.
At any rate, suffice it to say that I didn’t want to leave my 80-something Grandmother alone, so my friends I decided that we would go eat dinner with her and hang out til bedtime. Well, I thought bedtime for someone of her vintage was shortly after sunset, but I was wrong. I don’t whether her thoughts kept her up that night, or she didn’t want to appear rude, but midnight came and went.
Let me set the stage a bit more. As I said, it was a difficult time. I’d already logged 20-some hours in the car that week, and was in desperate need of rest. We had gorged ourselves on good old fashioned home cooking when we got there, which will put anyone to sleep. Then there was the heat. My grandmother lives in a small, old house. But the heating system is fairly new. I’m convinced after that night that she had it sized to heat a gymnasium. Granted, I keep my own heat set on a maximum of 62 degrees because Im a cheapskate and because I like it a little chilly. But hers must have been set on “boil.” You hear the furnace come on and it sounds like a small jet is about to land on the roof. Then it starts blowing and literally sucks the drapes off the walls as it does so. So here we are…road weary, stuffed, and being slowly cremated by her overpowered furnace.
As I looked around the room, my three dear friends appeared to be as tired as I was. Heavy eyelids were the rule of the day. Trying to keep myself awake more than anything, I said, “Did I tell you I was getting a puppy?”
“Yeah, your mom told me” Granny said. “Your aunt has been talking about getting a puppy…” small pause…”or maybe a kitten..” another small pause…”or a…um…” I waited for her to come up with “parakeet” or “guinea pig” or even “ferret” but, no, the word she was searching for was “MONKEY.”
All heads in the room shot straight up, not sure if we had heard correctly.
“A monkey?” more than one voice said.
“Yeah, a monkey.”
There was some conversation in which we all shared our thoughts on what a bad pet a monkey might make. One of my friends recalled, as a child, her mailman having to go on disability because someone’s pet monkey was loose in the yard and beat the crap out of him. Now, what goes through my mind at this point? Do I sympathize with the poor guy? Worry about his injuries?
Of course not! I immediately think of the person he has to file that disability claim with:
“Big Insurance Company, may I help you?”
“Yes I need to file a claim for disability”
“OK. What sort of work do you do?”
“Im the mailman”
“Were you injured on the job?”
“Can you describe what happened?”
“Well, I walked into the fence, and as I was putting the penny saver into the mailbox, out of nowhere a monkey struck me from behind and then beat the shit out of me, biting me, stomping me…the pain was so intense”
The person on the other end had to have, at this point, thought this was some cruel prank.
“Alright sir, whatever you say. Beat up by a monkey? Sure.”
“No, ma’am, Im serious! I have the medical records right here.”
At this point, she probably made some excuse to put him on hold while she rounded up the whole office and put him on speaker phone.
I’m also wondering, as I run this insurance phone call around in my head, exactly how bad was he hurt that he went on disability? Or was it mental? Did he have an unhealthy fear that he would be attacked by a chimpanzee everytime he opened a fence? Did some poor passerby have to pry the monkey off of him? These and other questions I will never have the answers to.