2008-04-30

Poly 416

Last Friday, while grading my students' homework, I found a cover of People Magazine slipped into the mix. I'm not sure who turned it in or why, but it made me giggle, first in concept, then for its content. "Texas Polygamy Sect: Behind the Gates" -- what a brilliant headline.

I mean, look at their hair! Look at their matching modest, dowdy dresses. I decided since I had the good fortune to receive this photo, I should pay it forward and taped it to the passenger window of my car for others to enjoy.

A couple of hours later, Cecilia came by my house to carpool to an anthropology talk. Jenna was hosting an event for eir graduate school that we decided to go ape for. Honestly, part of the appeal I think was having an opportunity to make monkey puns. We intended to act inappropriately: monkey around and go bananas.

On the car ride over, we discussed Polygamist Fashion and the inevitable mainstream trends that were sure to follow. During the conversation, I let the phrase "the Poly 416" slip from my mouth as if it were some kind of established name. When Cecilia questioned it, I explained matter-of-factly that I was referring to the 416 children of the polygamist compound. I admitted that it actually sounded like a Bible verse. Cecilia suggested that I make it into my instant message screen name, and I compromised, agreeing to get a vanity license plate. If you're driving behind a Corolla that reads POLY416, give me a honk.

The event was pretty well-attended by anthropology students. You know, people who when they hear the word "gibbons" think of a species of small apes and not talk show host Leeza Gibbons.

One of the lecturers was a former standup comedian, though eir talk was hardly funny. It was all about how orangutans are all going to die and that it's too late to really do anything about it. The most important thing I learned is that orangutans are pronounced orangutans, not orangutangs. There is no second G. This was never explicitly stated, but I realized that must be the case when the lecturer who devoted eir life to the cause persisted in this pronunciation and probably had more knowledge on the subject. Probably.

Also, I learned how horrible it was for people to dress up orangutans and treat them like baby dolls. The lecturer showed a picture of orangutans playing golf and stressed how not amusing it was. I felt bad when I laughed audibly anyway. They're monkeys! And they're playing golf! Look at their monkey suspenders! When humans are being exploited, it often involves the removal of clothing, but it's the opposite with primates. You tell me which species is more primitive! For the record, I don't think it's appropriate for apes to play golf... I would let them carry my clubs, though. Hah! Take note, former comedian, this is how you reel 'em in.

At the conclusion of the evening, Jenna held a raffle with some genuinely impressive items, so Cecilia and I bought a few tickets in the hopes of winning. One of the prizes was a pair of tattoos; afraid of permanency, I've never desired a tattoo in my life. A free, prize tattoo, however, is another story; Cecilia and I made a pact that if we won, we'd get "Poly 416" tattoos. Previously, we brainstormed ways to brand me with the catch phrase, and now we had found a way to literally brand our bodies with it. I still don't want a tattoo, but I always like a crazy story, so why not do something stupid where I then have to explain for the rest of my life that I won a tattoo at an anthropology talk and put a nonsensical inside joke about a topical news story inked on my calf?

Jenna called out a ticket number. As anyone who has been part of a raffle before knows, the caller doesn't usually say the first several numbers of the eight digit ticket since everyone has those, just the last few that are unique to the holder. Jenna read the number "1-0-8," then paused. I looked at my ticket and screamed, causing a minor scene. I was going to get a ridiculous "Poly 416" tattoo -- this was my fate. Then Jenna gave me a confused look and said, "I'm not done yet." Apparently, the last three digits of my ticket, 108, were also the same three digits that each ticket number started with. So I'm pretty sure everyone assumed I was a dumbass, but I think my confusion is justifiable. In the end, we lost the tattoo to a sixty-year-old woman; the mere thought of what she'd do with it compensated for losing it in the first place.

More and more tickets were drawn until there were just a few undesirable prizes left. Someone drew Cecilia's ticket, and she screamed and grabbed a Gross Soap kit, a box with soap-making materials and fake bugs to put inside them. When it was down to just one last prize, a Glitter Butterfly maker, my ticket was finally drawn, so I once again screamed with delight and grabbed my Glitter Butterfly kit. An organizer came up to us and apologized that we got stuck with the kid prizes. Evidently, ey bought them with kids in mind, and though one young girl won three times, she kept inexplicably choosing mature prizes like garden supplies, leaving us with the children crafts. Whatever, everybody else won legitimately awesome prizes, and we took the cheap crap, and we still acted more excited for it than anyone else. That's called gratitude, monkey lovers. Gross soap!

We left the event intending to make our respective crafts, but got sidetracked at Jenna's house. She has two ridiculously tiny dogs, one of which could just about fit in the palm of my hands and is pregnant. The baby daddy was standing on my lap at one point, when the pregnant mama came up on my lap under him and started sucking on his penis. Now, I've seen dogs lick and sniff one another's genitals, but this was full on, prolonged fellatio. Naturally, it made me uncomfortable and I was unsure of how to handle having miniature canines engaged in a sex act on top of me.

If only the orangutangs were this sexually forward -- they might just stand a chance. Maybe some fashionably dowdy polygamist dresses would inspire some procreation, too.

1 comment:

Alex said...

That picture is an excellent addition to my collection of animals doing human things

Have you ever heard of that mad scientist who did the experiment where he raised a chimpanzee alongside his human child in order to civilize it? The experiment failed when the chimpanzee refused to become more human; instead, the scientist's kid became chimp-like. And then Ronald Reagan made that movie about a similar experiment except in the movie version the chimp learns good and evil and solves a crime or something. Ronald Reagan was a master of deception even before he entered politics