Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Men with tails making monkey out of me

Shortly after losing to Alabama in the national title game Monday night, LSU Tiger coach Les Miles told reporters his boys “played their tails off.”

The remark caused me to sit up.

His players had tails?

This was extraordinary news.

It was confirmed later when I heard a distraught LSU player say “we got our tails kicked” in the 21-0 loss.

I hadn’t heard nor could tell by viewing that players from one of the nation’s best college football teams had tails. You’d think the uniforms would have needed obvious tailoring.

I’ve always been drawn to stories about human birth oddities. I think this curiosity stems from reading “Weekly World News,” which often features stories like, “Baby Born with Wooden Leg!”

The WWN at one time or another has published stories about babies born with tattoos, ear rings, halos and false teeth.

I remember reading one story about a baby born without bones. His parents used to carry him around in a bucket. There was a picture of this smiling little face cascading down the steps like a human waterfall.

I like to ask prospective fathers what they’ll do if their newborn is born with a tail.

I don’t pose this to mothers. They are often in a delicate emotional state and would be horrified at the thought their offspring might be different from any of the other neighborhood morons, as if goofball homogeny is some sort of genetic virtue.

Evolutionarily speaking, babies born with tails aren’t much of a stretch. Nearly all human embryos have tails that are one-sixth the size of the actual embryo.

In adult scale, that means a surviving tail would hang down just past the butt cheeks.

It’s a pity most of our human tails are eventually absorbed into the fetus because it’s hard to dislike any creature with a tail.

I can’t think of wagging tails without thinking of Casey, our beloved golden retriever who was with us from 1992 through 2007. His tail was like a big shaggy tennis racket.

It was forever clearing coffee tables of newspapers, wine glasses and microwave TV dinners.

The mess never bothered us because Casey was just such a big, lovable galoot.

Today I have a lot of friends who fit that description so I don’t miss Casey all that much.

If LSU players had tails, I’m surprised they didn’t play better.

A human tail in some cultures is believed to bestow God-like powers.

That’s the case with Chandre Oram, a West Bengal, Indian, tea smith. His 13-inch tail has made him an object of devotion to many who believe him to be the human incarnation of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman.

What I read in Wikipedia about Hanuman is too confusing to repeat here, but he must be a monkey god of great humility.

If anything about me led strangers to conclude I was worthy of adoration, you can bet I wouldn’t be schlepping tea to parched Indians.

Some of Oram’s devotees claim to have enjoyed miraculous healings after touching his tail.

So Oram is remarkable as much for his restraint as for his tail.

I know many, many men who would use the surplus appendage to convince women it had healing powers. They’d lure them into dark rooms for therapeutic petting. Only these men would be fraudulent about what they let the women pet.

One other factoid from the on-line en-pseudo-pedia: Oram says the tail makes him think he’s part monkey, just like Hanuman, because he likes to jump, climb and eat bananas.

I don’t see a correlation there. Most men enjoy those things.

Perhaps further study is needed.

We need to find for observation a sampling of monkeys who’ve lost tails in accidents or been born without them.

It would be interesting to see if they display urges to spend long hours in bars talking sports and spousal dissatisfactions.

Who knows? They might make dandy bloggers.

Even with the anatomical alterations, I’m sure a real monkey would still have a compelling tale or two.

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