04/11/2006 01:28 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Chimps Gone Wild

A few days ago, I read a story about a guy who was horribly maimed by two chimpanzees. I say horribly maimed as opposed to just plain maimed, because these chimps weren't messing around. They ripped off his fingers, one of his feet, his nose, his buttcheeks, and even his balls.

I never really thought of chimps as being the kind of animals to go around laying into someone like that, but this recent bit of news has got me rethinking things. Oh sure, a chimp might get a hold of a big bag of baking flour and make a powdery mess of your entire kitchen. And when a carefully arranged, free-standing tower of soup cans is mysteriously toppled over, leaving the cans of delicious and healthy soup riddled with dents and scattered across a grocery store aisle, there is usually a chimp to blame. But I rarely think of chimps as really pushing the envelope in the asskicking department. They've just always seemed so happy-go-lucky to me.

As the story goes, the man and his wife were having a birthday party for a chimp who was living at some sort of chimp sanctuary (a home for wayward chimps). Apparently the chimp used to live with them until he bit off part of some lady's finger a few years back and the couple decided it was either lose the chimp or put up with his bullshit for the rest of their lives. The chimp was 39 years old. I never think of chimps as being that old. It's just that they seem so youthful all the time, what with the crazy faces they make and all the jumping up and down. Some day I want to make a poster for people to hang in their office cubicle or basement rec room that would show a bunch of chimps climbing on a jungle gym, swinging from its bars, and falling to the ground. At the bottom of the poster it would read "Let the chimps fall where they may!"

Anyway, I'm getting off the topic. Back to the angry chimps. I guess what happened is a couple chimps that weren't invited to the 39th birthday party for the finger-biting chimp mentioned in paragraph three got really mad about being snubbed or something and snuck out of their cages to wreak havoc on the guy and his wife who were throwing the party. The couple and the birthday chimp were all sitting around enjoying big slices of chimp-themed birthday cake when - as they say when such things take place- all hell broke loose. The angry chimps tore the man to shreds as the birthday chimp watched on in horror, confronted with the knowledge that next year he'd most likely be receiving a card at best. They even managed to rip off the man's wife's thumb while they were at it. That in itself seems pretty extreme, but when you compare it to the fact that her husband lost his fingers, ass, nose, foot, and nuts, the whole thumb incident seems relatively minor. In the years to come, I imagine the couple will sometimes forget to mention the lost thumb when they retell the story at Thanksgiving and other major holiday gatherings. The lady might try to pick something up and drop it and then her husband will casually say "Oh yeah, and my wife's thumb got ripped off too! I tell you- that was the craziest birthday party I ever went to!" Then his wife will nod in agreement while thinking back to a day when she had both thumbs.

I guess if there's anything to learn from all of this, it is this: chimpanzees can be really great when it comes to roller skating or detective work, but when they don't get invited to parties they can be seriously uncool about it.

Dave Hill