MONKEYS AND ALLIGATORS


Fifty-five years ago, I decided that Canadian winters are too long and too cold. So I sailed my 50-foot schooner down to Florida where I stayed for the next twenty years.  Florida lives by extracting money from visitors coming from the north, lured by the warm climate, sandy beaches and various other tourist attractions.

  Soon after my arrival in Florida, I was attracted by a sign advertising a
 

JUNGLE RIVER  BOAT CRUISE
through the MONKEY FOREST
to the ALLIGATOR POND


How could I resist?

The Monkey Forest, near Silver Springs, has hundreds of rhesus macaque monkeys living in the trees.  Monkeys are not native to North America, so how did all those monkeys get to central Florida?


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In 1938 Colonel Tooey, who ran the Jungle River Cruise boats in Silver springs, reportedly released six rhesus macaque  monkeys to enliven his tourist attraction.  And beginning  in the 1930's at the same location, no fewer than six Tarzan movies were filmed, featuring many monkeys in supporting roles.  There must have been plenty of escapes.  Either of these reports (or both) could be true and the natural population increase of these amorous animals would swell the colony into the several hundred monkeys living there today.

T resume our story, back in 1969, the cruise boat - which looked like a giant canoe with an outboard motor - cruised slowly up the Silver River with monkeys in the trees, hanging out over the river and begging treats from the tourists.  These monkeys are addicted to sugary offerings and their favorite seemed to be marshmallows.  The boat crew had plenty of marshmallows to sell to the tourists to feed to the monkeys.  And when those were all gone, the crew had plenty more to be purchased.

The cruise boat continued upstream to the alligator pond.  For at least a century, the locals have been hunting the alligators from boats and skinning them for the manufacture of alligator hide shoes with matching handbags for fashionable females.  Consequently, the alligators tend to be shy of humans in boats.  Something was needed to lure them off the bottom of the pond and up to the surface where the tourists can admire them.  What could the tourists throw onto the water surface as bait?  You guessed it - more marshmallows.    What an example of marketing genius!

This little story should have had a happy ending.  The monkeys and the alligators (and the tourists too) got to eat plenty of  marshmallows.  The tourists got to see lots of  "wild" monkeys and alligators.  And the cruise operator ordered another truck load of marshmallows.

It would have been a happy ending if not for the woman tourist lazily trailing her white finger-tips through the water as the boat glided slowly across the alligator pond.

But you really can't blame the alligators...........

One final observation.  It recently occurred to me that, in one way, a computer is much like sex, only the other way around.

With a computer, the software goes into the hardware.

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