Monkey Business


Suggested Audio Jukebox


[1] The Rolling Stones “Monkey Man”

[2] The Beatles “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey”



I just knew that monkeys had something to do with it. Last night I began reading a book by the name of The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme which is all about understanding the human brain and its nuances and, barely a chapter in, monkeys made an appearance. It’s ironic as they have cropped up in my work on numerous occasions recently and I guess my mind was trying to tell me something subconsciously. According to author Steve Peters, there are three key parts of the brain and his book focuses on each of them in turn and provides learning tools and coping mechanisms to assist with harnessing this complex piece of equipment. Now I’m no expert so I’ll leave any technical jargon to Steve but I do find the human mind both fascinating and perplexing and won’t ever pass up the opportunity of learning more about what makes us tick. What I learned was rather enlightening and explains why I often refer to myself as a “cheeky monkey”. You see, there’s one of these knuckle-draggers swinging from my mental vines as we speak and he’s been running amok for far too long unbeknownst to me.


So it turns out that the brain comprises a trio of individual operating systems in particular, all of which play a significant part in our day-to-day functions. The first he refers to as The Human and is responsible for any logical thought processing. This piece of kit works within the parameters of society and assists us in recognizing the consequence of our actions, as well as keeping us on the straight and narrow. The second is The Computer and, depending on how we’re wired, this acts as a sorting office of sorts, processing any incoming data and organizing it accordingly. Much here depends on how it has been programmed and it’s only as reliable as the information it’s being fed but we’d be pretty much screwed without it. The third, and most cantankerous of the trio is The Chimp and this focuses solely on survival and procreation. Impulsive and often erratic, it pays little mind to long-term consequence and is far more playful than its associates. When Justin Bieber was considering urinating in a mop bucket, it was The Chimp that egged him on and look how that little episode panned out. Monkey say, monkey do, monkey spare absolutely no mind for repercussions. Bad monkey.


It’s all beginning to make sense now, I’ve been harboring a primate for nigh on forty-two years against my will, and the little bastard has been pulling the wool over my eyes the whole time for his own impish amusement. Well if he thinks he’s getting a banana out of me, then he’s sorely mistaken as, thanks to Steve Peters and his eye-opening hypothesis, I’ve got the little bugger bang to rights. What The Chimp Paradox teaches us is that The Monkey is well at large and looks to provide all the tools to keep it out of mischief. And mischief is the operative word here as it has absolutely no intention of cleaning up those discarded banana skins and takes great pleasure from watching on as we slip up repeatedly. Of course, it would be all too easy to hate on the little fella, when a little understanding can help him curb his enthusiasm and commence rehabilitation. I can’t say I’m altogether surprised to learn of his skullduggery as I’ve been suspicious for some time now and gradually getting a firmer grasp on what pushes my buttons and in what sequence. That said, it feels good to finally put a name to the face.


If it ever feels like you’re fighting a losing battle with yourself, then this is precisely why. While it’s business as usual for The Human and The Computer, The Chimp is all about the pleasure and ramifications seldom figure into his suggestion. Imagine, if you will, a subway flasher on the eve of his very first public performance. The Human part of his brain will propose wearing a full-length raincoat so as not to catch his death of cold, while The Computer will suss out the optimum coordinates from which to go about his exhibition. However, while both are implicated in some small measure in the act he is about to perform, they’re little more than easily led as it’s The Chimp pulling all the strings. When the time comes for said braggart to reveal his junk platter to an unsuspecting audience, it’s his inner gibbon that assumes the ascendancy and all logical thought is expelled until which time as he has obeyed his directive. Meanwhile, The Computer is left scouting for any available exits while The Human hangs its head in shame and accepts that it has once again been soundly bamboozled. Should he be apprehended for his anti-social behavior, then The Chimp is the very first to lay low, leaving its associates to clean up its mess while it works out its next cunning plan.


Now I’ve barely even made a dent in this enlightening piece of literature and cannot yet claim to possess anything like the definitive answer to curtailing The Chimp’s boisterous antics, but I’m more than grateful for the introduction. To be honest, it comes as no great surprise to learn of the personnel, as I’ve spent the past few months doing the legwork and had come to my own conclusions some time ago. I knew there was something untoward playing out and increasingly found myself assuming a third-person perspective while any skirmish played out beneath my very nose. Once you master the art of taking a step back and observing the fracas from a secure vantage, then you stand a much better chance of avoiding those all too familiar pitfalls and can assume a modicum of control once more. That said, it was all mere speculation, and it feels good to have someone clearly in the know point out the obvious so I’m not required to play passive observer every time the fists fly. It’s not even that I have it in for The Chimp, merely that he clearly needs a little delicate guidance. Monkeys are smart little Homo sapiens and, with the correct tuition, can often figure stuff out faster than their human counterparts. It’s the right and wrong side of things that they struggle with and that’s where it helps that we’re one step further along the evolutionary pecking order.


So I guess the first thing to do would be coming up with an official title for my furry passenger, so as to provide him some kind of identity. Thus I have opted for Percival Mandrake III and trust this is a distinguished enough mantle to persuade him against going ape at every available opportunity. Should I remind him of the stellar work of his ancestors, then perhaps he’ll see fit to tow the line a little more, and cease making trouble for his host for the sheer helluvit. It’s not that I don’t conduct myself in a dignified manner around others wherever possible, more that said charity has a tendency not to extend to home turf. Given that I have shouldered so much guilt over the past few years over the breakdown of my family unit, it’s too easy for me to punish myself in whatever way I see fit and my weary shell has paid the price for my mind’s liability. Right now I have to act fast and have decided not to chronicle my own afflictions and addictions here as it isn’t the goal of this exercise. I’d much rather pay forward any intelligence gleaned as, the thing about chimps, is that they love nothing more than a good old-fashioned tea party.


There’s nothing exclusive about me and every last one of us has a chimp in our own enclosure, whether we choose to accept that or not. It’s how we treat our unruly house guest that matters most and, while holding him in contempt may appear the done thing, I much prefer the notion of endeavoring to work with him than oppose him at every turn. Naturally I can’t just let him run riot as he’ll turn my head upside down in a split-second if I do so. However, should I treat him with the respect he feels is owed him, then perhaps we can come to some kind of truce and locate a path forward that doesn’t entail my body taking hit after hit until it eventually throws in the towel out of sheer exhaustion. I’m cutting things fine for sure and could have done with this intel three years back if I’m honest, but regret is no man’s friend and every chimp’s plaything so I hear, and throws up precious little in the way of answers so it’s onwards and upwards from hereon in. The most important thing is that I’ve regained some form of ownership over my own psyche, albeit tenuous, and can now focus all my attention into future proofing my mind before any more mental crockery is broken.


I guess what I’m saying is to know your chimp and its idiosyncrasies, provide it a name if it helps, and dedicate a few minutes each day to understanding the part it plays in everyday life. There is still hope for it so long as we keep it on a short leash while appreciating its industrious nature. Remember folks, it’s monkey by name and the same by business, and there will be days where you just feel like placing a pillow over its face while it sleeps. But we all have our quirks and why should chimps be any different? Just be thankful it’s not a baboon as those crabby customers will think nothing of fucking you given half the chance. And consume plenty of bananas as there may be no finer food for the brain, given the company we keep. A chimp is for life whether we like it or not and the very least we can do is to make him feel at home while laying down those house rules. Percival Mandrake III may not be discernible to the naked eye but he is right here in his sensory room as we speak, no doubt concocting some devilish plan to bamboozle his opposite numbers. It’s high time I teach this monkey the exclusive benefits of team play and get down to the real business at hand before I cough a lung up in my lap. After one more cup of this delightful herbal tea of course.


Click here to soar with monkeys

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