Even though the entire United States is celebrating its independence this long weekend with drinking and showering loved ones in fire, Editor-in-Chief Jack O'Brien is still insisting that I write a column. He would rather I cook up genius alone in a dark room than love my country with beer and explosions because Jack O'Brien hates fun, and he hates America.
Jack would blow out her flame if he could.
What he doesn't seem to realize, however, is that this country was built on the back of ingenuity and resourcefulness. I have found a way to kill two bald eagles with one stone, commemorating our secession from England's tyranny while still bending to Jack's. I will honor my revolutionary forefathers with a revolutionary idea: I'm going to write about monkeys while getting drunk. Happy birthday, America. This one is for you.
The rules here are simple: I will extol the virtues of my favorite kinds of monkeys and any time I need to research anything (as denoted by an asterisk), I will drink. I'm choosing monkeys because I need a topic I already know well enough that this experiment won't end with a stomach pump. Also, hunting for facts about monkeys is something I would do while drunk anyway so I'm drastically reducing the chances that I'll get bored and wander away. With any luck I will wake up tomorrow with a column written, but if it ends with me asphyxiating on my own vomit then I think we all know who to blame.
Jack. We are blaming Jack.
You may know the capuchin better as a character from Pirates of the Caribbean*, Dr. Dolittle, The Zookeeper*, The Hangover II* and every other movie or television show with a script that says, "Monkey steals ____ and won't give it back." (And before you jump down to the comments to throw a bunch of examples of chimps and orangutans at me, those aren't monkeys, jerk. Trust me, I know ...*)
There's a reason Hollywood always uses capuchins: They are brilliant. They are one of the few monkeys who have exhibited long-term use of tools in the wild* and during one experiment, were able to learn the concept of currency.* They traded money for food throughout the study and, at one point, a single capuchin successfully traded currency for sex, thus initiating what was, "probably the first observed exchange of money for sex in the history of monkeykind."*
Capuchins are so smart that they are often raised to help paraplegics and quadriplegics. The program Helping Hands* trains capuchins to help with nearly every task, from preparing meals to scratching itches.
Every once in awhile, however, when the tasks get monotonous the capuchins get bored.* In those cases, they'll get destructive and even attack their already disabled owners.* They are, after all, wild animals that we have converted into tiny slaves.
Total drink count: 10
The smallest of all monkeys, pygmy marmosets spend their entire lives high up in the canopies of South American rainforests*, eating sap out of trees*, and wearing thimbles as helmets. Many of them go their entire lives without ever touching the ground.* And, despite being impossibly tiny, they are also aggressively territorial.* To scare off unwanted visitors, the pygmy marmoset will raise and flatten its ears, arch its back and make grimacing faces.*
Apparently instead of fighting, they just try to out-adorable each other.
Even their general warning calls are so damn cute that predators have no choice but to smile, shake their heads and find something uglier to eat.
While some people keep pygmy marmosets as pets, it's actually easier to just make a baby from scratch than to try to get a permit* for one of these tiny monkeys. Pygmy marmosets are just as tough to take care of as a human child, if not more so; they notorious for catching and spreading diseases* so they are illegal to own in most states. Also, the government is fittingly concerned about what might happen if an owner accidentally spills water on one or feeds it after midnight.
Total drink count: 19
I'll be honest, I didn't anticipate drinking so much on those first two. They were the monkeys I knew the best. Plus, this species is the dark horse on the list. I don't know a ton about it and I feel like it's going to cost me. The spectacled langur is one of the largest species of monkey* and one of the few that lives almost exclusively on leaves.* They have specialized stomachs that allow them to absorb the cellulose in leaves* and even some fruits which would otherwise be toxic.*
Most notable, however, is that the spectacled langurs reconcile most of their fights with sex.* Much like bonobo apes, whenever there is a dispute over food or a position in the community, they will generally resolve it by doing one another.
We could learn a lot from langurs.
Because they move on forest floors, they have a number of predators and they have an intricate communication system* based on sounds-
Hold on. Hold the hell on, is that monkey in black face makeup?
Look! Look at that racist monkey! How has no one noticed this before? Has anyone noticed this before? No, no one has.* Jesus, what an unfortunate characteristic. All those years of evolution in this monkey and an atrocity in human history makes it look like an asshole. Now I feel terrible for including it on my list. I think I even called it a dark horse earlier. Goddammit, I did.* Man, you really screwed me here, spectacled langur.
Total drink count: 26
The golden snub-nosed monkey can survive in arctic temperatures* because of its thick fur and also, listen, I feel really awful about what happened back there. I honestly did not foresee this happening. This was supposed to be a fun article and now I'm just drunk and kind of depressed.
"Pay attention to me."
The golden snub-nosed monkey can survive in the cold because of its thick fur and because it can subsist on lichen and bark which is now a necessity since they are being chased from the lowlands of China by loggers and poachers.* God, that spectacled langur really bummed me out. I had a great momentum going before and then that monkey dragged everything down. It's not fair to you and it's not fair to the golden snub-nosed monkey. It's not. That goddamn langur ruined everything.
Total drink count: 30?