My first thought, once I saw the devastation, was “If I’d only brought my gorilla to school.” If only. If I’d only brought my gorilla to school that day the mass gorilla attack might never have happened. But I didn’t. And, alas, it did.
That was twelve years ago, and now – after years of war – we’re on the verge of an actual, bonafide Planet of the Apes. It’s strange to write that – ridiculous, even. It’s like a parody of reality.
We had a BYOG policy at my school. We students brought our gorillas – Cross Rivers, Mountain, Eastern Lowlands, etc. – to school because, well, they were all the rage. Our parents bought us gorillas for birthdays and Christmas and bar mitzvahs, sometimes on contract and sometimes outright. The things they could do! Climb trees, warn off enemies, carry your lunchtime bananas – if you wanted to be cool you just had to have a gorilla.
My dad didn’t let me take my gorilla in every day, though. He said that I spent too much time with Tim, my 5ft Silverback, and that I needed to walk to school myself or my legs would shrivel up. And he was right, I guess. I mean, looking back he was right. At the time I hated it because nearly all my teachers began to use the gorillas as a teaching tool.
Need to measure the height of a tree? Get your gorilla to climb it. Need to find out about Elizabeth I? Get your gorilla to Google it. Need to read something? Get your gorilla to hold the pages open. And, to be fair, I can understand why the teachers went along with it. A gorilla could do everything. They were so valuable that some of the rougher children’s parents often waited outside the school gates with snares and nets and cages.
I felt left out when I didn’t have my gorilla, of course. Some of the richer children could afford newer, rarer gorillas and so made fun of mine. Sometimes a gorilla would bounce up to you with a note attached to its head, saying something horrible about you, like “ur a twat lol”, or “ur gril sucks ma8.” It could hurt.
I remember once, when it was snowy, I hadn’t brought my gorilla in and didn’t know if I’d be able to get home, such were the deep, white billowy drifts. Luckily the council gritters and snow-ploughs were out and dad could pick me up in the car as normal. I’m not sure what I otherwise would have done.
So when the mass gorilla attack happened we were taken aback. It was so unexpected! We had a policy and everything, but I guess some people didn’t pay attention to it. My dad (sure a bore) used to say, “A BYOG policy doth butter no parsnips”, and I just thought, “But it’s a few bad eggs behaving poorly, not the bloody gorillas, dad!”
But time has proven dad correct. I thought he was an old fuddy-duddy, a Luddite, resistant to change. But he was only trying to protect us. “A gorilla’s ok at home”, he’d say, “but there’s no need for it at school. What’s the point? It’ll only end in trouble.”
I was stubborn, though. That’s why my first thought was “If only I’d brought my gorilla to school.” I still maintain that if I’d had a gorilla then the mass gorilla attack, and possibly the subsequent decade-long human-gorilla war, would never have happened.
Dad disagrees. Or he disagreed. He was torn to pieces by a Blackback after his phone rang during an assassination attempt three years ago.