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Mike Redmond Column

Please refer to the Mike Redmond Column main page for columns published in other issues.
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 Getting Ahead in Animal Smuggling

Of all the idiots in the world, my favorites are people who try to smuggle small animals by hiding them in their clothing. Really. It takes a special brand of idiocy to think you can get away with that one.

For example, a guy I read about the other day. Actually, he almost DID get away with it, flying all the way from Lima, Peru to Ft. Lauderdale, FL with a marmoset under his hat.

A marmoset, for those of you who didn’t pay attention in zoology, is a small monkey, one of 18 species of the genus Callithrix. It is native to the New World, rather primitive in appearance, with claws instead of nails. Marmosets of all varieties are known to be, in the language of the scientists, “active little devils.”

OK, let’s do the math: Claws, active … oh sure, where else would you put it EXCEPT under your hat?

I guess the little dickens stayed quiet for the flight from Peru to Florida. It was only after they caught another plane to New York that the cat was out of the bag, or, to be more precise, the lid was off the marmoset.

The giveaway was when his tail popped out. This is when people realized it was an actual small monkey up there, and not a really cheap toupee.

“Excuse me,” they asked the man, who was not identified, “do you have a monkey on your head?” That’s a first. Monkey on your back, I’ve heard of, but ...

Well, anyway, the monkey spent the rest of the flight on the guy’s seat (I’m guessing he enjoyed the little bag of peanuts and perhaps even the in-flight movie) and was taken into custody upon arriving in New York.

Like I said, this is a special kind of idiocy. I’m thinking now of a woman I read about two years ago who stole a Greenwing macaw from her employer, a pet shop, smuggling it out in her brassiere.

Her intention was to trade the macaw for a car. She only made one mistake: She told the guy with the car how she got the macaw out of the store right under the owner’s beak. Turns out the guy with the car was friends with the shop owner, and the woman was busted. So to speak.

Speaking of which, the story didn’t indicate whether the macaw could talk. I kind of wish it could. I mean, can you imagine the looks the woman would have gotten if she’d been walking to her car with a bird in her bra, and a voice started saying “Pretty bird! Pretty bird!” from in there?

Of course, neither of these adventures hold a candle to something I read about 20 years ago in Outside magazine: Ferret legging. It’s a “sport” in Yorkshire, England, in which a man’s pants are tied shut at the ankles (while the man is in them). Then two ferrets, equipped with the standard number of sharp teeth and claws, are placed inside and the pants are cinched tight around the waist. The winner is the man who lasts the longest without ripping off his pants, screaming. The record? Five hours and 26 minutes.

Personally, I’d much prefer a monkey under my hat. I can’t really speak with much authority about the parrot in the bra, but I’m willing to bet it’s better than a ferret in your pants. Or worse, two ferrets.




© 2007 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.