Married . WithOUT Children
The classified ad in the newspaper immediately caught my eye – not because it was in bold lettering or anything, but because it was, well, rather unusual.
“Free monkey to good home. Housebroken, very well behaved, has shots. Carl.”
I called husband-head to tell him about the ad.
“A free MONKEY?” he asked, laughing at the idea. “Who the hell has a monkey?”
Apparently somebody did – and they were giving it away.
“It’s a well-behaved monkey,” I pointed out. “And it’s housebroken. I think it’d be a HOOT to have a monkey, don’t you? I’m going to call.”
“We are NOT getting a monkey,” husband-head said firmly, and then started to laugh again. “By the way, is Carl the monkey or the guy giving it away?”
I dialed the number in the ad.
“This is Carl,” the voice on the cell phone recording said. “If you are calling about the free monkey, THERE IS NO MONKEY! Somebody has played a prank on me. I don’t have a free monkey, nor would I give one away if I did – I like monkeys. But again, if this is about the free monkey … I DON’T HAVE ONE!”
This, of course, made the situation even funnier – not only was there an ad for a free monkey, but Carl didn’t even HAVE a monkey! Giggling to myself at the thought of someone dreaming up such a joke, I left a message asking Carl to return my call anyway.
The next morning, Carl phoned.
“This is Carl, and there is no monkey,” he said right off the bat, sounding weary. “So far I have received more than 100 calls from people about the monkey. EVERYONE wants the monkey. …”
I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Is this an April Fool’s joke?” I asked. “Did a friend do this?”
“EX-friend,” he corrected me. “And yes, apparently it was an April Fool’s joke.”
Carl sounded rather irritated at the whole monkey business.
“I can’t even answer my phone anymore,” he informed me. “Some people have called four and five times. I don’t know why, but EVERYONE wants the monkey!”
The idea of all kinds of people clamoring for a free monkey sent me into another fit of laughter.
“I’m sorry,” I apologized to Carl. “I know this probably isn’t funny to you, but really …”
As it turned out, Carl’s “ex” friend had placed the ad from Jackson, Wyo. And being a nosy newsperson, I decided to call the paper to see how long the monkey ad was scheduled to run.
“Well, it’ll be in for another week,” the classified sales person told me. “Why do you want to know?”
I told her about the hoax and she started to giggle. It seemed Carl was in for another whole week of monkey calls. .
I called husband-head at work.
“There is no monkey,” I reported. “It was an April Fool’s joke.”
Husband-head began to howl with laughter.
“It’s not funny,” I scolded him. “I WANTED that monkey!”
“Yeah, you could’ve gotten an organ grinder and called the monkey `Spank’ and hung out on the street corner,” he agreed.
I tried to analyze what everyone’s fascination with the pet primate was. Of course, besides being genetically linked to humans – some more than others, I might add – monkeys have historically been featured in movies, on television and in books.
I mentally noted some of the famous chimps I could recall – Judy from “Daktari” … Cheetah from “Tarzan of the Apes” … Clyde from “Every Which Way But Loose” … Curious George …
And then, of course, there was Davey Jones …
That gave me an idea. I picked up the phone and called the classified department at the newspaper to place an ad:
“Free husband to good home. Housebroken, very well behaved, has job …”
Heidi Rice’s column appears every Friday in the Post Independent.
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