People sometimes ask me to imagine that I’ve been changed into a human in my sleep by an evil wizard. I tell them it wouldn’t bother me until I awoke next morning and peered into a looking glass. Oh, what a horrible shock to see a fleshy little face staring back at me! I should imagine I would jump out of my hammock in despair and look for a baboon to kick. But being human, I would be no match for the baboon, who would give me a grievous hiding for my effrontery. This would undoubtedly add to my woes.
Now why do people ask me to contemplate such a disturbing scenario? Basically it’s curiosity. They want to find out what sort of human persona I would adopt if the metamorphosis were forced upon me by black magic. I suspect they want me to say I would prefer to be someone like them. Humans are very vain and love to belong to a favoured group. Yet strangely enough, I have no firm views on the question. With so many varieties of human on Earth, it’s difficult to decide where the soul of a gorilla would be most at home. Obviously not in a hairdresser or frogman, but that still leaves a lot of possibilities.
I used to think Shaolin monks were closest to gorillas in spirit. Like us, they are vegetarian pacifists who enjoy the outdoor life. Their kung fu tactics are pretty similar to how we silverbacks keep the yahoos at bay. Yet shaving one’s head is definitely not a gorilla-compatible custom. They also have an annoying habit of speaking in riddles, which creates a lot of unnecessary pussy-footing. If I want to hear riddles, I’ll buy a box of crackers.
Then I thought I might enjoy being the captain of a cruise ship. The job has numerous perks, including fresh sea air, a smart hat and a crew that says “Ay Skipper”. But then I found out that much of the captain’s time is spent listening to passengers’ complaints and humouring middle-aged women with wobbly bottoms. It might be tolerable if I could give the bottoms a slap or two, but apparently such salutations are no longer part of marine protocol.
My current choice would be an attractive blonde waitress with big breasts. Before you gape in astonishment, please note that this preference is based on solid scientific research. It is a proven fact that bosomy blonde waitresses get bigger tips than their darker-haired, flatter-chested sisters. In the dog-eat-dog world of homo sapiens, an edge over your rivals is an incalculable advantage. Having to check my breasts for lumps would be a chore, but I reckon I could get used to it.
Let me add, for the record, that I have never been influenced by bust size in the tipping of waitresses. The biases of the human male are not shared by us gorillas. The most generous gratuity I ever gave was to a ginger-haired girl with delightfully petite sugar plums. To protect her anonymity, I will call her “Miss Cherry Tomatoes”.
“Miss Tomatoes,” I said, “this is the last breakfast I shall eat at this café, for tomorrow the circus leaves town. To show my appreciation, I will leave you a tip equal to a full day’s pay.”
“Oh thank you, Mr Bananas!” she mewed. “It will help me save up for a boob job.”
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