Silly Monkeys

My sisters are wonderful. So is my brother.
The older I get, the more I realize how fortunate I was to be born in the middle of such lovely people. Smack-dab in the middle–as in number three of five. All of us were born within seven years. I sometimes wonder how my mother survived…but I’ll save some of those stories for other posts.

Classic 1970's photo of the grandchildren on my grandmother's "divan. Cousin Richie, sister Kate, sister Ann, sister Mary, brother Patrick, cousin Whitney and me."

When I look at old pictures, I can’t believe how fast time has flown and often wish I had been nicer (I also wish whoever took this particular picture told me to cross my legs before the snapping the shot) because I miss my sisters and brother very much. We see each other as time and distance allows although it’s really never enough.
What I do not miss is the occasional conspiracy if I’m not on the inside. The sisters can be purely and diabolically evil. Time has not dampened the fiendish plotting, therefore my sibling fidelity is occasionally laced with uncertainty that I might be on the wrong end of a carefully crafted prank.
This year the two older ones got together to create the Monkey-themed Birthday for me.
Confession: I don’t like monkeys. I don’t think they’re cute. They scare me with their little faces, beady eyes, creepy hands and bad behaviors. Travis the Chimp did not help matters. Imagine my joy when I opened

Monkey Birthday Card from Mary


Mechanical Monkey Birthday card from Ann

What makes matters worse is this is the backlash of the Monkey-themed Birthday Card Gone Wrong! Something that I had [almost] nothing to do with!
Here’s the story–and I’ll try to keep it simple: 2nd sister Mary is turning 50 this year–a momentous occasion which she’ll be celebrating in Hawaii with her family. As good siblings, we decided to give her a collective card and gift commemorating her big day on Thanksgiving because that’s when most of the family was together.
We were all set, yet a few days before Thanksgiving, sister Ann called–barely able to talk because she was laughing so hard.
She found a great birthday card for Mary–Mechanical Monkey with instructions:
1. Make crazy monkey face.
2. Clap your cymbals
3. Stop the celebration just short of flinging your own poop around the room.

If you don’t know me well, let me assure you that the third directive had me laughing so hard that I couldn’t talk. The major reason for my monkey dislike is they fling their poop, but the sentiment just cracks me up. So I told her Yes! She should definitely give Mary the Mechanical Monkey card! Everyone would LOVE it!
The card was a flop.
Perhaps everyone was just too full of Thanksgiving dinner and had private thoughts of flinging their own poop? Alas, it just didn’t go over very well. The card was received with either a puzzled face, a weird smile or worse, outright offense before it was handed to the next person. Ann’s hilarity quickly dried up by the time the 3rd or 4th person looked at it and went, “Meh.” I worked at the hospital on Thanksgiving, so I missed the entire scene. I’m still trying to figure out my biggest regret: missing the family dinner or not having a front row seat at the Monkey Card backfire.
I was all support and sympathy when Ann miserably regaled the card’s poor reception. I honestly don’t think I had the slightest hint of schadenfreude in my soothing sentiments and even blurted out, “They are dim bulbs who don’t get pure genius when it’s handed to them on a silver platter.”
Well Ann didn’t buy it for a second; she sensed that I found her monkey card flop absolutely hilarious. Which I now freely admit that I absolutely did.
So she got the last word, the dish best served cold, her payback. I have two creepy monkey birthday cards–the one from sister Mary has two dancing dancing monkeys wearing party hats! AND she wrote, “I heard you like monkey cards!” which might mean I’ll get a monkey birthday card for the rest of my life! Oh the humanity!!
All I can say is this is not over, Ann.

About EF Sweetman

bees, baseball, beverly, ma, culture, manners, society, writing
This entry was posted in family, photos, short story, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Silly Monkeys

  1. Karan Parkin says:

    This graphic designer is figuring out all sorts of ways to use monkeys for all the Sweetman’s. HA! This is great. Liz, this was a super story and thanks for sharing it with the world.

  2. What a great story! Makes me wish I had more siblings.

  3. CRH says:

    Monkeys ARE creepy and frightening, and it’s so sad you missed the Monkey Card Backfire.

    • sweetman says:

      Still trying to get over that one…those opportunities are just so rare… it’s a tough one, man. Thanks for your support–and your monkey fear. I really appreciate that too.

  4. mary wissmann says:


  5. mary wissmann says:

    just kidding about the “meh”, it goes with your story which I love!!
    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. where can I buy stock in monkey cards? ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

  6. John says:

    Great story and a classic photo!

  7. Karan Parkin says:

    You hate monkeys, well I hate the grinch. So you can send me grinch birthday cards and holiday cards and get well cards or maybe, if you’re in springfield, you can go the the Suess Statue Garden and take photos with the grinch statue and email them to me. How’s that! 🙂

  8. EF Sweetman says:

    Now that’s a real friend: willing to torture me endlessly with my irrational fear, but offers a reasonable pay-back!
    My, my, my, (taking a tiny sip of tea) how civilized we are!

  9. Rose says:

    Visiting from the Idiot. At least a monkey didn’t show up on your doorstep flinging poop 🙂

    • EF Sweetman says:

      Welcome! Any friend of the Idiot is a friend of mine. Now…we never know about those creepy monkeys, do we? Who knows if they showed up, flinging away…it’s just too scary to ponder…

  10. Pingback: The Curse of the Monkey | Of bees, baseball, bicycles… and other things

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