We loved Puddles as kids. I remember waiting in anticipation for one of her(?) grand finales. It was great.
In the fifties there was a crap-throwing chimp that they referred to as the "spitting monkey". Later, around 1980 I would take my 5 year old son to watch the mostly Japanese tourists with their bright cottons and expensive cameras at the chimp area. We would position ourselves just so and wait for the ****to hit the fan. God, I remember how funny that was and my son just now verified what a vivid memory that is for him.
Here's a great zoo story. One night in 1967 Jeff Paquette, a Lincoln baseball star, was the designated driver, although there was no such thing, if you get my drift. His mother used to own the ABC Answering Service on 9th and Judah. It was a triad of Lincoln, Poly and SI guys mashed into his new '67 mustang. "Somehow" we found ouselves inside the SF Zoo at four or five in the morning wandering around.
Eventually we came up on a cage that was situated right at the perverbial fork in the road. In it sat a
large male Mandrill monkey--the type with the colorful, long blue and red face, very formidable looking. The
word Mandrill means "man-ape". So Jeff goes into his pocket and pulls out his car keys. He walks up to the railing and begins to tease the monkey by jiggling his keys and taunting with a "here monkey. . . here monkey"
This goes on for about a minute. The Mandrill remains motionless except for his intensely human eyes, which are darting back and forth from Jeff's face to his shiny new keys.
As in slow motion, yet quicker than the eye can perceive, the Mandrill snatches the keys right out of Jeff's hand in mid sentence and proceeds to inspect his treasure behind the safety of his bars, leaving Jeff frozen in disbelief and the sudden realization that he's just been outsmarted by a monkey in a cage.
Now I'm standing behind Jeff watching this and I can't believe what I'm seeing. What follows is God's truth, I swear it.
Jeff is standing there in a panic. He's screaming "****!! the ******* monkey got my keys! God******, the *******monkey got my keys!!!
The Mandrill looks at the keys, looks up at a screaming Jeff, looks back at the keys, and proceeds to raise the keys up just out of Jeff's reach. Seeing that he's probably, by the grace of God, been given a chance to redeem his image, Jeff lunges forward and attempts to grab the keys out of the Mandrill's hand. Quick as lightning the monkey pulls his hand back behind the bars, leaving Jeff to continue his rant. After a few seconds he raises the keys again, almost to say "wanna try again?" So Jeff composes himself momentarilly then takes a desperate swing with his other hand, thinking he can catch the simeon unaware.
Just like before the Mandrill jerks the keys back, leaving
Jeff with a fistfull of air and a quickly diminishing sense of self-respect.
This scene goes on for several more minutes. The Mandrill can't believe his good fortune and Jeff is just beginning to realize that he's in a no-win situation. The sun will be rising soon and the rest of us are thinking a warm bed sounds pretty good. As Jeff turns away from the cage in utter defeat, the Mandrill stands up, takes a long hard yawn, and turns to retire into his enclosure---but not before tossing the keys to the ground right behind a defeated Jeff---almost as if to say "you big baby". I swear it.