Saturday, August 05, 2006

Lesson for today: Do NOT try to stare down a monkey

So, not long ago I was at a local national park and happened upon one of the ever-present Rhesus macaques (the most common monkeys you’ll see on a visit to India--not the kind in this picture), who was clearly looking for a little somethin’-somethin’. I had no food but was feeling cocky and decided to do what a primatologist friend explicitly warned me NOT to do—stare down a monkey. At first he was surprised that I was making direct eye contact and (after about 5 seconds) starting to get a little pissy (flashing his teeth). Although I kept a blank expression, he started going bonkers and made some aggressive attack gestures and howled for his friends and hissed and whatnot. Then I bared my teeth a couple of times and he went apoplectic. I think that if I’d not broken it off, he’d have actually summoned the courage (I’m a big, ugly guy) to attack. Moral of the story: don’t do that.

Sometimes I demonstrate remarkable amounts of

heb•e•tude (hĕb'ĭ-tūd', -tyūd')
Dullness of mind; mental lethargy.

[Late Latin hebetūdō, from Latin hebes, hebet-, dull.]
hebetudinous heb'e•tu'di•nous (-tūd'n-əs, -tyūd'-) adj.