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Making Monkeys Of Us All

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tyler the monkey is no longer on the loose in Ashley.

But I’m not so sure that this is a happy ending.

Maybe this is just the beginning. Maybe we’re in for a mass of marauding monkeys messing with our lives. Maybe we’re headed for a barrel of monkeys.

The news this morning that state game commission agents were hunting down a monkey on the lamb came as weird comic relief in the aftermath last week of the federal public corruption guilty plea agreement by former state Sen. Bob Mellow.

More about that big ape later.

For now, though, let us stay focused on the monkey on an ATV. That’s right, kids, a monkey on an all terrain vehicle tooling through Ashley.

OK, the monkey was a passenger.

At least I believe the monkey was a passenger but with the way life careens out of control around here the monkey might have been the driver. The monkey’s owner might have been a passenger.

As I write this my colleague Sue Henry is astutely reporting on the air that the monkey was well-known in the neighborhoods and that the woman who used to own him dressed him like a person.

That’s right, a person.

For all I know Tyler might have voted.

Tyler might have held elected office in the borough.

Tyler might be appointed to the county judicial bench.

Welcome to the jungle.

Sue Henry says that the monkey lived in the Carr’s Patch section of town and used to walk the owner’s small dogs on a leash. Everybody knew, she says sources tell her. And, of course, the ATV was stolen.

Yes, boys and girls, the ATV was stolen.

A source tells me that he once saw Tyler the monkey enter a local neighborhood bar.  Thinking that the monkey wasn’t too smart, the bartender charged him ten dollars for his beer, which the monkey glumly drank.

“We don’t get too many monkeys in here,” the bartender said.

“With these prices don’t expect to get too many more,” said Tyler the monkey.

OK, so I made that last one up.

But the point is that we actually had a monkey on the loose, a little monkey described by a game commission officer as a Macaque, the most widely distributed genus of non-human primates.

Macaques are commonly used in research, which makes their contribution to science very serious and important, indeed, and draws attention to how and where they are used. Being used as entertainment in Ashley is cruel as well as illegal. Disease is a concern as is the danger posed to humans whom the monkey might attack in a fit of fear and panic. The monkey’s escort posed a problem as well, according to news reports that say he fled after turning the monkey loose.

Ashley has enough problems with such monkey business.

Police not all that long ago raided the chapter clubhouse for the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, arresting numerous members and associates on cocaine distribution charges. Then there was the former police chief whose problems in a personal relationship made a monkey out of him and destroyed whatever credibility he had left.

Now this.

Tyler might be a nice monkey. Tyler might make a good mayor. Tyler might never commit a felony or offer a bribe in exchange for a teaching job. Tyler might be a better president at the Luzerne County Community College than the current president.

Poor Tyler is likely more honest than Bob Mellow and all the rest of the more than thirty other gorillas who have pleaded guilty or been convicted in the ongoing federal public corruption investigation.

Their monkeyshines make monkeys of us all.


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