Because I’m easily talked into nonsense and shenanigans, I recently donned a gorilla costume to experience the glory of passing out Halloween treats to sugar-needy Wellesley High School athletes. That’s me on the right, the one who is emoting. The calmer, cooler gorilla on the left prefers to remain nameless, and since I always protect my sources, I agreed to this demand for secrecy.
First, we had to sneak up on the athletes. That meant leaving our cars behind, a smart move which would also allow us to avoid an awkward traffic stop by the Wellesley police, who always have an eagle eye out for driving gorillas. We travelled on foot, walking along the Brook Path and then cutting across the field over to the track and our prey. Raising eyebrows and terrifying children with every step, we then made our grand entrance and did what gorillas do — we jumped around and passed out candy. It was surprisingly easy, this leaving behind of dignity and a carefully curated reputation as a hard-boiled blogger.
I was trying hard to follow the rules as laid out by my partner: “Don’t make eye contact because they’ll recognize you for sure. Don’t talk. It will make you more believable as a gorilla. And try to do gorilla body language.” Suddenly I felt like I could have used a couple of sessions with a good Method Acting coach before I embarked on this adventure.
Things got hairy in a hurry. Boys grabbed handfuls of candy, and I had to run away from the sheer crush of them. I was just a teeny gorilla, no match for the inner gorilla of a teenage boy, desperate for a Halloween candy sugar rush.
Meanwhile, the Pretty Girls cooly observed me, bows in their hair, bemused smiles on their faces, inwardly resolving never to debase themselves with such desperate attention-seeking techniques. I understood. I was that Pretty Girl once. The one who favored bunny costumes because pink is a good color on me. Or even better, Snow White, so as to capitalize on my then-alabaster skin and 23-inch waist. I was once that sophisticate who would never, ever dress up like a gorilla. Except for that one party in Cambridge. OK, fine. I suppose a precedent had been set. Anyway, yes, I was a vain thing many Halloweens ago, but there was an eventual reckoning. Crow’s feet and calories have been my comeuppance.
As we prepared to leave, something very exciting happened. One of the athletes had a picture of a monkey on his t-shirt. That’s right, there was my cousin, right there on a t-shirt. My inner gorilla went crazy. I kept pointing to the t-shirt, and then to myself, desperate that this young man see the connection. But there it was again. That bemused smile. Oh if only I had paid attention during gorilla family gatherings when Cousin Koko had tried to teach me sign language. Then I might have been able to communicate with this young man our shared humanity, our evolutionary bond. Did I really come out of the mist just to hand out candy and be misunderstood? So it would seem.
Later, I picked up my athlete son, who said not a word about my earlier exploits (even though he had accepted candy from gorilla-mom). What better way for a teenager to express displeasure at a parent’s embarrassing exploits than by completely ignoring that (ridiculous) parent. Brilliant, actually. Unless that parent reads ignoring as a gauntlet being thrown down. A challenge, if you will, to engage in ever-wilder exploits.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on the family front, my co-blogger and husband was away on business during all this silliness, so he was unable to stop the madness. But Bob is generally supportive of all my insanity and would have encouraged me to go through with it, and likely still regards me as a prime mate. We stick together like gorilla glue that way.