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coconuts and facial scrub


Recently I learned how a certain tribe, somewhere on another continent (can't remember where), catches monkeys.

The tribe member pokes a small hole, the size of a monkey's hand, into a coconut and hollows it out. He then puts some kind of seeds inside the coconut. A rope is secured around the coconut and the tribe guy hides behind a tree, leaving the bait out in the open.

Eventually a monkey comes along and plays around with the coconut, sniffs it, shakes it and decides it must have the seeds that are inside the coconut. So the monkey puts its hand inside, grabs the seeds while making a fist and tries to remove the fist from the coconut.

Alas, this is where the monkey is screwed.

It doesn't have the wits to let go of the seeds; it keeps hanging on with its hand in a fist, which means it is trapped and the tribe member reels in his catch. After hearing that story I had three thoughts.

1. I found that nugget of information interesting.
2. I think I have an inner monkey, and
3. I want to start the catch phrase "Cheap as a monkey."

Let me explain numbers two and three.

This morning in the shower I was trying to squeeze the absolute last bit of St. Ives Invigorating Apricot Scrub out of the tube. I've squeezed the living shit out of that same tube for a good five days now, convinced I can, indeed, get the very last morsel.

I do have a new tube sitting next to the old tube, so this is not fueled by the fear of running out of the product. But I can't let go of the old tube until I have satisfied my desire to use up all of the contents.

Today I considered getting a toothpick to fish out the last bit and realized that was crazy, I was dripping wet and it wasn't worth the trek into the kitchen.

And that is when I thought of our evolutionary ancestor, the monkey. Am I not, in a metaphorical sense, like the monkey trying to get the seeds out of the coconut? Or am I just a cheap bastard?

Then "cheap as a monkey" jumped into my head, and hence my catchphrase was born.

I did entertain fleeting thoughts of a Wikipedia entry explaining the phrase (so frugal one is willing to give up something worth much more to save something worth much less) and reveled in the faux glory of knowing I was the procurer of said phrase.

But I digress.

I am a cheapskate and I'm not sure from where this originates. My father has his own theory that he likes to trot out occasionally, but I don't completely subscribe to it.

He believes that the psyche is formed by age 8 and whatever the social and emotional condition of the kid's environment, that's the basis for the kid's future hang ups, issues, quirks, whatever you want to call it.

He postulates that since we were struggling to maintain lower class status when I was 8 years old (I hail from a family of 8 -- 2 parents and 6 children) that is the reason why I like to squeeze a penny til it screams.

All I know is as a small child I *knew* not to ask my mom for candy at the check out line because we couldn't afford it.

Maybe my dad does have something here.

But back to my point, next time you're out eating with friends and they throw down a paltry 3% for the tip, tell them "You really are cheap as a monkey."

With a little effort, I know this can catch on.


2006-10-27 at 9:22 a.m.

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