"You're a helper monkey! This isn't helping!"
June 17, 2005 5:50 AM   Subscribe

Helper monkeys! Severely disabled people can get trained monkeys to help them out in their daily chores, though sometime this causes problems. Haven't you always wanted a monkey? The Mesa SWAT Team certainly want one.
posted by Kattullus (23 comments total)
Pray for Mojo...
posted by 1016 at 6:30 AM on June 17, 2005

You're a helper monkey! This isn't helping!
posted by naturesgreatestmiracle at 6:39 AM on June 17, 2005

Haven't you always wanted a monkey?

Yes. Oh, yes.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 6:47 AM on June 17, 2005

You're supposed to be a helper monkey! This isn't helping!
posted by knave at 6:53 AM on June 17, 2005

Arg.. my bad.
posted by knave at 6:54 AM on June 17, 2005

From the third article: "to purchase and train a capuchin monkey, considered the second smartest primate to the chimpanzee. "

NO!!! This is wrong on so many levels! If you want to rank intelligence in primates (which doesn't really have much point), it goes something like humans, bonobos, chimps, gorrillas, orangutans and gibbons, with the chimp to orangutan pretty close together. None of those primates are monkeys.

A capuchin is desirable as a trained animal precisely because it is *not* like a chimp. It is safer than a chimp because chimps -- with their high intelligence -- have their own interests firmly in place and will generally be dangerously uncooperative (as adults) if you ask them to do something they are not interested in doing.

Even so, monkeys are not domesticated. It strikes me as rather risky to train a wild animal to help a disabled person (or really, to be a pet of any kind).

Sorry for the outburst. Primatology is my second love. Reading a sentence like the one quoted is like a cheese grater on my spine.
posted by carmen at 7:07 AM on June 17, 2005

Monkeys? Helping?

That's a bad idea! A VERY, VERY BAD IDEA!
posted by Neosamurai85 at 7:22 AM on June 17, 2005

Arg.. my bad.

Eh, it's a good line. No worries.
posted by naturesgreatestmiracle at 7:49 AM on June 17, 2005

Overall this is a potentially very profitable idea. According to the video they cost $26,000 to train and work for 30 some years, thats less than $1000 a year! I wonder what other industries they could be adapted too? Could we use the new crop of intelligence enhancing drugs to improve performance levels? Image a service monkey with proper enhancements to prevent aggressive behavior, not unlike how dogs have had the wolf bred out of them.
posted by stbalbach at 7:50 AM on June 17, 2005

I laughed for about 10 minutes when I first saw the logo for helpinghandsmonkeys.org!
Can I get that on a TShirt?

I also briefly imagined the SWAT monkey, clad in its kevlar and its little video helmet, flinging poo at some bank robbers or some poor guy who's about to jump off of a building.

on preview: Metafilter: Flinging Poo
posted by Jon-o at 8:12 AM on June 17, 2005

oh, and by the way:

I might have to start a band, just so I can name it "Attack Macaque."
posted by Jon-o at 8:19 AM on June 17, 2005

I want one!
posted by Francesnash at 8:32 AM on June 17, 2005

Jon-o: That's an awesome band name. Sign me up!
posted by Kattullus at 9:28 AM on June 17, 2005

Dressed in a Kevlar vest, video camera and two-way radio, the small monkey would be able to get into places no officer or robot could go.

Somehow I expected to hear a punchline somewhere... "But I never had money before!"
posted by zaelic at 9:34 AM on June 17, 2005

Mmmmm, I can't wait to eat that monkey.....
posted by aramaic at 10:19 AM on June 17, 2005

i bet they can be taught to program in C#.
posted by muppetboy at 10:50 AM on June 17, 2005

You know, I loves me some monkeys, like most everyone else I know. And yet, I don't know a single person who's had one as a pet. I mean, they must just be remarkably unpleasant to have around the house or somebody I know would have had one, at least briefly.

Plus, what are monkeys best at? Squabbling and masturbating. I don't need any help in those areas.
posted by Gamblor at 11:37 AM on June 17, 2005

Another advantage:
"Any cost of securing or maintaining service animals, such as a seeing eye dog, hearing guide dog, or housekeeper monkey is (an) allowable (medical cost), including food and veterinarian bills" in the Food Stamp program in the U.S.
posted by badger_flammable at 11:54 AM on June 17, 2005

i bet they can be taught to program in C#.

A thousand monkeys randomily hitting keys in C# will get you an open-source browser.

Up it to ten-thousand, you get an OS
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:14 PM on June 17, 2005

Having a helper monkey is one of my strange dreams. They're so awesome.
posted by aGreatNotion at 1:17 PM on June 17, 2005

By the way, the Banterist had a funny piece on this subject.
posted by knave at 1:48 PM on June 17, 2005

This reminds me of my favorite Miss Manners advice column ever. Someone wanted to bring the helper monkey they were training to a wedding with them, and the Bride wanted advice on how to dissuade them tactfully. Miss Manners responded that she should reply:

"We are so sorry that we can't have your darling monkey, who would no doubt behave beautifully, but we feel we just can't make an exception because other people might bring theirs, who would not behave as well."
- From 'Miss Manners: On Weddings'
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:10 PM on June 17, 2005

Monkey hate clean.
posted by Balisong at 7:30 PM on June 17, 2005

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