One Fine, Balmy Afternoon… I found myself resting on the side of a little-used back-road on a tropical island. Slowly, the sound of the crickets merged with the buzz of an approaching engine. As my eyes strained to see through the blistering sunlight, I observed an oncoming motorbike, upon which were a man and a small child.
As was customary, the child was balanced on the tank, holding on to the middle of the handlebars. Indeed in those parts, it was not unusual to see entire FAMILIES on board the one machine. But this time, something wasn’t quite right. As the bike grew nearer, I observed that this man’s child was UGLY.
This child was SERIOUSLY ugly…this child was…a monkey. I was looking at A Man And His Monkey. The two waved as they passed and I waved back. It occurred to me that it was a pity I was an atheist. Otherwise I could have looked skyward and said, “Take me now, oh Lord, for I’ve finally seen EVERYTHING.”
Later, I discovered that whilst rare, the vision I had seen was not unique. Apparently 150 people a year are KILLED by falling coconuts – ten times the number killed by SHARKS (that figure is disputed by some – but then 78.3% of statistics are just made up anyway) – and posh resorts don’t like being SUED.
Therefore, they hire men to cut down ripe coconuts before they fall. The men USED to send their KIDS up the trees, but when it was discovered monkeys could be trained to fulfil the task, the practice of using the unfortunate kids was BANNED. Not only were monkeys deemed to be more expendable than kids – they have a much stronger GRIP and thus are far less likely to fall anyway.
And I know all this to be TRUE. Aside from witnessing the Man And His Monkey going to work, I can vouch for a monkey’s grip. I’ve had my screenwash jets removed by one and I couldn’t even do that with PLIERS.
And as for the coconuts… okay, first they’re not nuts, but seeds. And said seeds do NOT grow as they appear in markets – small, brown and hairy – they have a thick, protective husk. The entire package weighs in at about six pounds (2.5 Kg) and grows at the top of a tree which reaches some SEVENTY FEET (20 metres plus).
And when the husks turn from green to brown they drop with a “THUNKK!” that can be felt through one’s feet from 100 yards (OR metres) away. Now I can’t be arsed to work out the kinetic energy involved (2.5 ergs per second per second times 20, then take away the number you first thought of…) but I’m here to tell you if one landed on your head it would friggin’ HURT.
So if YOU see The Man And His Monkey, the next time you’re on holiday in a tropical paradise, you better hope YOUR resort employs him. If not, keep looking UP – and if you see a palm tree with big BROWN husks at the top – don’t sit UNDER it!