I once climbed into a giant barrel of monkeys on a college dare and was instantly frozen in fear. If it wasn't for my accidental discovery that monkeys love the taste of CornNuts (apparently even more than skinny Jews), I would have been torn apart faster than a Wonka Bar by Augustus Gloop.
Now the reason there was a barrel of monkeys on a college campus is that I went to the University of Arizona and they had a large carnival every year known as the Spring Fling. The carnival seemed to get bigger each year, as did the campus, which is why they started adding animal acts. I guess someone thought college students would appreciate the irony of monkeys coming out of a barrel. This is probably the same person who thought Zima would become a lasting alternative to beer, forgetting the all too important fact that men like the taste of beer and Zima tasted like flat Mountain Dew. But, I was not your typical college male in that I hadn't yet developed an appreciation for beer, so I took to Zima like freshman girls took to tanning. I drank them mostly in my apartment before I went out for the night to get drunk early and then held a cup of beer at parties to keep up the illusion.
But, this was the night before Spring Fling and I had one too many Zimas along with a few jell-o shots, the perfect combination to give a man the false confidence to climb into a barrel of monkeys (and in most cases, a woman to take home a guy with simian features). Needless to say I was easily convinced by a few of my friends to climb up the ladder on the barrel and get a photo of the sleeping monkeys. As I climbed down from the top of the barrel, they seemed so peaceful I relaxed my hand a little and began to lose my grip on the ladder. Even though I landed on my feet, I let out a high-pitched shriek that had the same effect as Chevy Chase’s shout of “collld!” in the movie “Vacation” that woke up the motel and his wife (the incredibly sexy Beverly D’Angelo, whose character epitomized the phrase MILF to all young teenage boys in an innocent way, years before Craigslist made the word seem creepy.)
Suddenly, the monkeys woke up and began to hop up and down, so I began to do the same, frantically trying to remember the movie “Tarzan: The Legend of Greystoke” hoping Christopher Lambert’s acting would jar some hidden monkey whisperer ability that was genetically embedded somewhere in my highly evolved animal brain (but probably lost after filling it with one too many Brady Brunch reruns as a kid.) They looked at me and one of them threw a half-eaten banana at my feet. For some strange reason, probably due to my foggy-headed state of inebriation, I took that as somewhat of a sign and I grabbed my packet of CornNuts that I had bought at the Circle K earlier and threw it in the direction of the monkeys.
As the CornNuts floated out from the package and landed at the monkeys’ feet, they pounced at the CornNuts and sniffed before devouring each nut (I’m not sure if a CornNut belongs in either the corn or the nut family), creating loud chomping sounds as their teeth clamped down on the ultra hard snack. This was my clue to hop on the ladder and climb to the top. It wasn’t until then that I noticed that I had dropped my camera upon falling into the barrel and would not be able to capture the moment for posterity.
Of course, my friends had run off and I was left to ponder my actions alone. I mostly came to the conclusion that jell-o shots should never be mixed with malt liquor. When I told my story to a cute girl later at a party in my apartment complex she didn’t believe me, but she did laugh and say “that story’s about as funny as a barrel of monkeys." “They’re not that funny, but you do want to let sleeping monkeys lie. Now sleeping dogs, you can mess with. They’ll just roll over, shake their legs and look cute," I replied. As I made a panting sound and stuck out my tongue, she smiled and then kissed me. I looked into her playful eyes and almost forgot about my close encounter of the monkey kind earlier that night, until we both began to realize that I smelled like the inside of a bird cage. She suddenly began to believe my story and gave me her number, but the only clothes my opposable thumbs removed that night were my own.