Don’s irrational fear of monkeys renewed

By Don Rush
By Don Rush

For the past year or so I have been catching glimpses of the movie opening this week, War For The Planet of The Apes. (I think most folks call those glimpses “Previews,” but then again, I ain’t most folks.) The reboot of the Planet of the Apes franchise has really kinda bummed me out. By the way, it has nothing to do with the quality of the movies.

War For The Planet of The Apes opens this weekend. All reviews are good. And, the monkeys look too real. Don's nightmares coming to "life."
War For The Planet of The Apes opens this weekend. All reviews are good. And, the monkeys look too real. Don’s nightmares coming to “life.

These new movies are good, and the special effects awesome. So, awesome are the visual effects, that my old fears of the “lower” primates taking over are renewed. I do not want to see the new movie. I know, I know, I know. “Don,” you’re saying, “Those are some very irrational fears you’re totin’ around, buddy. They’re just movie monkeys. They ain’t real.”
To you, dear readers, I say, I realize this, but these anxieties over monkeys have been stewing between my ears for many, many years. By a show of hands, how many out there remember the original Planet of the Apes movies (and later a Friday night television series in the 1970s)? I have agonized over monkeys since before even then. Those fears always subside for a few years, but every so often something in the news comes along to aggravate my stress.

If you don’t know the premise of the Apes movies, let me get you up to speed: monkeys, chimps, apes, gorillas, orangutans, etc., take over planet Earth.

On the big screen (not television), screenwriters wrote that a plague wiped out humans’ favorite pets — dogs and cats. So, humans took lower primates and made them pets . . . later slaves, for these critters were adept at picking up tasks.

Still later in their evolution, a chimp named Caesar teaches monkeys of all standings how to speak the English language with a British accent. The apes overthrew the shackles of tyranny. Humans were made slaves. The rest, as they say, is history . . . Or our future, depending on where you’re coming from.
As I stated, my fear of monkeys came a couple of years before the original Planet of the Apes flicks. It started with those evil, bluish-green, flying, screeching monkeys from the Wizard of Oz. After seeing Oz as a wee lad, I really never enjoyed the monkey exhibit at the Detroit Zoo. I was also scared of that story, The Monkey Paw, told to me by some adult before I reached the age of seven.
For me, monkeys are only cute when I am watching them on TV and even then, I’m apt to turn the channel, to something more educational like “Dancing With The Stars.”

No. I take it back. Monkeys are not cute. EVER. (Well, Curious George is okay.)


They were not cute in the Wizard of Oz. They were not cute in my childhood dreams, when they popped out of the tiled floor to steal Mom and Dad. Monkeys are not my thing. I guess I really don’t like them.  Oh sure, I have empathy for them and wish them well. I’m not gonna’ go out and harm any lower primates, nor do I wish them any harm. It’s gotta suck to be a monkey, I mean, who wants to sit around picking the lice off your pal and eating it/them? I wish them luck, but I don’t need to see them evolving any more.
Back in the mid, 1990s (before Fake news) I remember reading with great interest the story of the apple-stealing monkeys of Japan.
According to news reports at the time, these monkeys raided Japanese apple orchards, and this made some orchard owners unhappy. This same bunch of renegade primates started their pilfering ways by stealing vegetables like carrots and potatoes and then worked their way up to sweet, crisp apples — so it is really nothing new to the Japanese. I guess they never saw the Planet of the Apes.
What caught my eye, and started my mind down a dark and depressing rabbit hole to Gorillaville, was a typed line of print that said: “Gangs of monkeys, some toting plastic shopping bags, are picking prized apples from orchards in Tokyo suburbs . . .”
I didn’t read that in some supermarket tabloid, next to an article about Batboy visiting the White House. No, the article I read was in the “A” section of the smackin’ frackin Detroit Free Press.
“Gangs” of monkeys were picking prized apples (not the yucky ones) and putting them in man-made plastic bags. They are working together in gangs. Who taught them that? And, what are they doing now? What have those danged little, furry-faced critters learned in the decades since I first saw that article?
It’s just a matter of time.
Don’t you see, it’s happening.
The end of mankind, the birth of monkeykind. Unless we do something now, we’re doomed to live in Planet of the Apes.

* * *

Okay, okay. I freaked myself out there a little. I’ll be okay, I promise. (Yes, I will go see the movie, too. Oh, my dreams will get even weirder, I know it.)
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