a few days after school started, i noticed a man who would walk through the quad with a large monkey on a leash. it was like he was walking a dog, only the dog was a very hairy man who couldn’t walk upright. this seemed to happen several times a week. finally i asked a colleague about it. with a straight face, he tells me the school pays to have the monkey pee on the campus.
first of all, what a sweet gig. as far as monkey jobs go, that sure beats getting shocked or cloned or hanging out with michael jackson.
about the monkeys here: there are nice ones and mean ones. in broad, speciesist terms, the gray langurs are the friendly ones. they are generally docile and tend to mind their own business, like the one pictured in our previous post. then there are the rhesus monkeys. their wikipedia page puts it best: they have “a reputation as aggressive urban pests” and “a penchant for thievery”. the staff here have stories about them smashing televisions, stealing and eating music books, and ganging up on people who are naive enough to walk with food. yesterday i watched a security guard shoot rocks with a slingshot at a rhesus family on the roof of the school, and it was remarkable how they ducked behind the ridge just like soldiers in a war movie, constantly aware of an armed enemy. if you throw a rock at them, they will pick it up and throw it back at you. it’s clear that we work in a combat area, in the midst of an ongoing inter-species conflict. watching them swing through campus i can’t help but think that when hollywood wants to create a quasi-human monster antagonist, they put a more menacing visage on a monkey’s movements. (see I Am Legend, District 9)
apparently if a langur marks his territory, the rhesus monkeys stay away. we joke that this particular langur, as armed patrol personnel, reports to the head of security. i’m not sure how well it’s working; this week a couple of rhesus monkeys were found in my office. i wasn’t around, so i don’t know what they were doing. looking for a piece of music? practicing piano? using my computer to twitter? i’m not sure, but i’m buying a slingshot this weekend. stay tuned for hilarious video.