A fellow passenger on the flight home to Africa urges me to post a video monologue of myself on You Tube. 

“You’d be a bigger sensation than the talking dog!” he exclaims. 

(Apparently, this was the top-rated clip of 2011.)

I thank him for his high opinion of me and pick up a copy of Scientific American to discourage further conversation. In that prestigious periodical, I discover that the Earth has a habitable sister planet called Kepler-22b. Not the prettiest name, it’s true, but you can’t judge a planet by what it’s called. Venus is a complete hell-hole regardless of its beautiful appellation. 

On returning to the Congo, I mention this nugget of astronomical news to the manager of the safari camp. 

“I like the sound of that planet!” he enthuses. “And for all we know, gorillas might be the dominant species on it. If you went there as the ambassador from Earth, I’m sure they’d let you hump all the best-looking females!” 

“I doubt that a gorilla-run world would adopt the diplomatic protocols of the Woodstock Hippie Camp,” I remark. “Looks aren’t important to gorillas, anyway. You humans love to anthropomorphize.” 

In truth, I wouldn’t want to live on a planet where gorillas were the preponderant species. The good thing about being a gorilla on Earth is that you stand out from the crowd, by which I mean the great swarming mass of sweaty humans. Crowds of gorillas simply do not exist. All I had to do to become the talk of the town was join a circus and kick a few clowns in the arse. Humans, by contrast, have to take part in talent shows or have sex with celebrities if they want to get noticed. 

Even actors have to work hard to stay in the limelight. For every instantly recognisable movie star, there must be twenty with vaguely familiar faces whose names are never mentioned in the gossip sheets. Many who were once household names later vanish without trace. I often wonder what happened to Charlene Tilton, the pint-sized blonde who played Lucy Ewing in Dallas. I’ll never forget the way her character responded to J.R. when he tried to bait her at the breakfast table: 

“They say that fella you’re dating is the biggest jackass north of the Rio Grande!” he would say to Lucy with a malevolent sneer. 

“He’d enjoy kicking your ass for sure!” she would reply with a scowl that might have scared a grizzly bear into putting its paws over its crotch. 

If Kepler-22b really is a gorilla planet, we should send them Charlene as our ambassador. If they can’t intimidate a feisty little Earthling like her, they’ll know not to mess with the big boys. Maybe I’ll get the ball rolling by sending her a fan letter. She can’t be getting too many at this point in her career, and might welcome some adulation from a gorilla who relished her performances. If I get a reply, I’ll republish it in full in this blog.

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