From time to time, I get e-mails from influential humans who happen to have stumbled upon this blog. The latest VIP to penetrate my inbox was Frau Gabriele Pauli, a German politician with fiery red hair and a well-proportioned bust. She wants me to endorse her proposal for term-limited marriages. Her idea is that after seven years of conjugal togetherness, a human couple should automatically be decoupled unless they agree to renew their vows. For some reason, she thinks I ought to approve of such a custom. I don’t know why. There is no pressing demand for fixed-term marriages in my part of the jungle and we couldn’t really care what humans do. People have the strangest ideas about gorillas.
It may be worth supporting her campaign anyway, so she owes me a favour. Mutual back-scratching is a universal feature of primate culture. Who knows when a German woman might be useful to a gorilla? Stranger things have happened. But before committing to the cause, I’d like to know more about Frau Pauli’s domestic arrangements. Frankly, I smell a rat. Humans have a habit of advocating policies for the common good when they’re really trying to make life easier for themselves. I shall begin by carefully examining her published photos. One thing I learned in the circus was how to read a woman’s body language. I have a feeling she might be one of those insatiable femme fatales who wears out a husband after a few years of incessant coupling – like the infamous redback spider that sucks the juice from her mate before kicking his empty carcass into the nearest ant hole.
There are more charitable interpretations, of course. The fact that she wants the standard marital term to be seven years looks significant. Why the number 7? Do you remember the biblical story where Joseph got into Pharaoh’s good books by interpreting his dream about seven fat cows and seven lean cows? Maybe Frau Pauli is plagued by similar visions. In her case, the dream might speak to a woman’s fear of turning into a fat cow after seven years of marriage and being left by her husband for a thin woman (the lean cow). Allowing the marriage to lapse naturally would be infinitely less humiliating for the overweight spouse than being callously dumped in favour of a slim chick. Yet if this were so, why wouldn’t she be campaigning for wives to stop getting fat in the first place?
One can speculate about these theories until the hairs on one’s chin are loaded with static electricity. Who really knows what Frau Pauli’s ulterior motive is? What's perfectly clear is that you won’t get a straight answer from a politician who’s involved in chicanery. If I confront her with my suspicions, she is bound to have some pat answer that rationalises her proposal and presents it as the best thing since pickled onions. All of which leads me to the conclusion that I should steer well clear of this Teutonic dame and her über-radical ideas. It is hereby forbidden for the gorilla to give succour to the flame-haired valkyrie blowing fanfares on her horn. So speaketh the Japing Ape, Patriarch of the House of Bananas.
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