monkeys on the ceiling

The most frequently asked question of my entire career: ‘Sir, why are there monkeys on the ceiling?’ Now, I’ll admit that the question was not random, and it had something to do with me. I will also admit that the room below does not resemble, even remotely, any of the classrooms I ever taught in, and neither do the monkeys on the ceiling. What is even more confusticating, and indeed discombobulated more than the occasional young scholar, was that the monkeys were in fact gorillas, that the gorillas had names, and the first to appear, by curious synchronicity, was called Dorothy…


‘Go figure!’ I used to reply. Or more usually: ‘What monkeys?’ If successfully pestered I might offer ‘The Parable of the Camel in the School Field’, the tale of a wise and beautiful guru who informed his acolytes of said beast. Some  sat in their chairs disbelieving; others rushed to the window to see for themselves, alas in vain; others went into the field at lunchtime to locate worthy dromedary (the guru evidently thought Bactrian would be a step too far); and one determined soul went back with a trowel to try and uncover the telltale spoors. For those who solved the riddle, the answer to the original question became to rather ask yourself another question: ‘Why are there no monkeys on the ceiling?’ In other words, just asking the original question was the whole point. Everything begins with curiosity, with the right questions, and with intent. If you don’t find the camel, you will indeed find something else of greater value, and I don’t mean camel droppings!

Confused? No matter… I’m explaining all this now because ghosts can no longer put monkeys on ceilings, except in the virtual classroom, and the gorilla is an endangered species…


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