A life on the ocean wave

I am forced to adjudicate a dispute at the safari camp. An American evangelist maintains that the Arc de Triomphe was named after Noah’s Ark, while a Frenchman noisily dissents.

“Gentlemen!” I shout, silencing their agitated chatter. “The issue is entirely moot because Noah’s Ark never existed. No gorilla couple would have willingly camped inside that floating menagerie if the alternative had been drowning in baboon piss. The whole story was a fable concocted by God to test the gullibility of Sunday school students!”

“Sir, that’s blasphemy!” declares the American man frowning. The Frenchman splutters words like “Incroyable!” and “Absurde!” while walking in tight circles and slapping his forehead in frustration. I leave them to their deliberations.

We gorillas are very choosy about the vessels we sail in – nothing less than a cruise liner will do for me. I require a cabin with a hammock and ocean balcony, plenty of space to stretch my limbs and a goodly number of fat women to chase around the decks. As for the Captain, only an Englishman will do – Continentals are too sly, Orientals too inscrutable and Americans too politically correct. I look for a skipper in the mould of Leslie Phillips: a good fellow in all respects, but not too bright. Ideally there’d be an on-ship mystery to solve during the voyage. Nothing too sinister though – something along the lines of a phantom bottom-pincher who needed collaring.

There are times, of course, when the call of service matters more than a comfortable trip. Had Lord Nelson wanted gorillas to join him on the Victory, he wouldn’t have needed to give them a lecture about England expecting every ape to do his duty. One little cough in our direction would have produced an avalanche of hairy volunteers to climb his riggings and heave his cannonballs. Although gorillas don’t normally interfere in human warfare, we would have keenly participated in the arse-kicking of Napoleon Bonaparte, an enemy of our nation. During his African campaign, the Corsican upstart had the effrontery to try and conscript apes into his Grande Armée by sending press gangs into the jungle! The local gorillas made short work of them.

The Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise has a low standing in gorilla society because of its disrespect to the Royal Navy. Never forget that the stiff-necked dullards portrayed in those films actually succeeded in ridding the high seas of the likes of Captain Jack Sparrow (or “Subaltern Johnny Parrot” as we call him in the jungle). The plain fact is that the pirates of the time were villainous cutthroats with poor personal hygiene and appalling table manners. Making heroes of them is an insult to the memory of every able seaman who ended up as fish food because of those desperadoes.

Incidentally, poor Keira Knightly is terribly miscast in those films. Any fool knows that the seafarers of that era preferred their women plump. The phrase “buxom wench” was practically invented to describe the kind of strumpet that appealed to their tastes. Had Miss Knightly been captured by a pirate vessel, she would have been sold to the harem of a near-eastern potentate without delay. And I’d wager there wouldn’t have been a single grubby pawprint on her soft white skin.

I should conclude by reminding my dear readers that the 21st of October is the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. We gorillas toast the memory of Lord Nelson with fruit juice, but you may put something a little stronger in your tankards if you prefer.

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