Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Interview With a Silverback

Recently, wildlife researchers made the astounding discovery of an estimated 125,000 Western lowland gorillas, living in a swamp forest in the Republic of Congo. This mindboggling revelation doubles the number previously estimated for the worldwide population of these rare creatures. Sadly, Western lowland gorillas are still endangered, even with their known numbers increased, and they face extinction because of the tremendous threats to their well-being and environment.

Today's remarkable news has sent a shockwave through the wildlife conservation community, and the question remains: how is it that no one has ever found these gorillas before?

To uncover the answer to this and other burning questions, I have turned to Modubowange, senior silverback in this enormous newly-found gorilla community.

Merujo: Modubowange, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me.

Modubowange: My pleasure, and please - call me "Modub."

Merujo: Thanks, Modub. I have so many questions!

Modub: No problem. Fire away, and, just so you know, I may need to make this short. There's been a lot of press today, and the battery on the satphone is dying.

Merujo: So, how is that we're only finding out about your community now?

Modub: Well, it's not as if we're invisible, you know. I mean, we're gorillas - large, black animals on a lush green background? It's not like a "Where's Waldo?" game. The Congo *has* been mapped before, you know. I've been expecting guys from some cable channel to show up and start filming us for ages now. I have no clue what took you guys so long. A 125,000-gorilla encampment? It's the size of a liberal arts college town, for god's sake.

Merujo: So, you weren't trying to hide?

Modub: Uhhh, not really. Like I said, we're gorillas. We go where the food and water is plentiful. It's not brain surgery. Something to chew on, something to drink, and yeah, we're pretty happy. Sure, I've been aiming to stay "off the grid" but that's just because I'm so tired of the reality TV lifestyle that plagues most African wildlife. All these goddamn nature show TV guys angling to catch us in glorious hi-def. Look, if you're relaxing at home, do you really want some stranger with a camera filming every clogged pore, scratched ass or monkey fart for middle America to ooh and ahh over?

Merujo: Point taken. Well, it's clear you've stayed well off the grid until now. Yours is a totally renewable lifestyle, right? Living off fruits, leaves, shoots... a solar-powered life, if you will...

Modub: And wind-powered, too.

Merujo: Wind-powered?

Modub: Ever been around 125,000 gorillas who drink swamp water? Yeah, we got wind power, alright! Heh heh, I kid, I kid! I'm a kidder. But seriously, jeeezus, gorilla gas is powerful bad.

Merujo: 125,000 gorillas. That's an impressive number. It seems there's no problem with fertility and reproduction.

Modub: Why, thank you!

Merujo: Pardon?

Modub: I said, thank you. For complimenting my mighty manhood. (beats chest, shrieks)

Merujo: Uhhh... are you suggesting what I think you're suggesting?

Modub: Why, yes!

Merujo: There have to be thousands of infants and juveniles in that group. Are you saying--

Modub: Yep. All mine. Mine, mine, mine.

Merujo: That's inconceivable.

Modub: That's what she said! (stops, snorts, and beats chest) Sorry, I just love that joke. I know, it's so tired! So dumb! But yeah, seriously, they're all mine. What can I say: Modub, mo' luv. I am a machine. Sure, I am one tired-ass silverback. But satisfied. Deeply, deeply satisfied. Two words of advice for all the guys out there: rest and hydrate.

Merujo: Huh. Hydration is key, huh?

Modub: Why do you think we live on a swamp? Heh heh heh.

Merujo: Well, now I've gotta ask - how do you keep so many females satisfied?

Modub: You know, I'm just a guy. Just a guy. Anyone can achieve satisfaction with their mate. Or mates. Or favored alpha females. It's about technique and variety and really being a caring, loving partner. Plus, I've watched that kama sutra "instructional video" on Netflix download a few times.

Merujo: Pardon?

Modub: Get this - we "appropriated" this laptop from some trust fund baby pseudo-researcher while she was taking photos of bugs. Bugs! She's spending 10 minutes setting up some macro photo of some friggin' fly on a leaf like she's Ansel Fucking Adams and completely misses the gorillas cruising her tent. Good job, Wild Kingdom Girl! People forget - we have OPPOSABLE THUMBS and we can grab shit. Handy hint, Ranger Rick: we are stealthy and mysterious as midnight, and we can steal stuff from your camp so fast, your head will spin! I'd like to thank this particular chick for the solar batteries and charger, too. We've hacked her Netflix account and used up all her iTunes store credit. There is just so much Congolese drumming that anyone can handle, you know. I've discovered I really like the whole singer-songwriter genre. You know, a little Elliott Smith, Aimee Mann, Michael Penn... it's nice. But the ladies still love Barry White and some Love Unlimited Orchestra when the time is right, and you know what I mean, dontcha?

Merujo: Strangely, I think I do. So, what was your reaction when the conservationists showed up to do this head count survey.

Modub: (sighs) Oh man, I knew it was coming someday. I mean, 125,000 gorillas wandering around a huge swamp... some tool is eventually going to find you... First dude who showed up? He tried to lie down next to me and do the whole Dian Fossey routine, you know, "become one with the primates." I got right in his grill and was like, "Man, I knew Dian Fossey. Dian Fossey was my friend. And you, sir, are no Dian Fossey." He backed off pretty fast. Don't fuck with the silverback, man! I will cut you! Well, not really, but... you know what I mean. Gotta look tough.

Merujo: Now that you've been outed, what are your plans?

Modub: (sighs again) Well, I'm not sure. We're gonna have to move, of course. Ever try to relocate 125,000 knuckle-walking primates? God, that will suck, but we'll have to do it. Cuz now, there will be a sea of eco-tourists showing up, dressed like goddamn Marlin Perkins, wanting to pet us. Gaaaah, makes me shudder. I need time to think, and I have to wait until the media circus dies down a bit. I've been considering hiring a PR guy. I have no idea how the press is going to portray us. I need to be clear with people that we're not like some strange cult, hiding out and trying to evade taxes or re-write the constitution. I don't have any delusions that I'm a biblical prophet. Although, I've gotta say, considering my family situation, I do have some sympathy for the crazies in the Little House on the Prairie gear down in Texas... Right now, I have Smithsonian calling in a few minutes, and then National Geographic. Discovery is sending out some film crew - they want to do "Gorilla Week" to follow up their insanely popular "Shark Week." I'm not sure if that's gonna work. I mean, we're mammals with brains larger than a frigging pea and, as I mentioned before, we have opposable thumbs. We're not just going swim around in the swamp and bite at chum for them. Unless the price is right. And hey, I'd like to meet those Mythbuster guys. I'd love to blow something up.

Merujo: Well, it's been a pleasure speaking with you. Is there any message you'd like to send to the people of the world?

Modub: Yeah, we could use a couple more laptops. PCs please, Netflix isn't configured for Macs. And a Wii. The kids really want a Wii. Look, I've gotta go. Food Network is interviewing one of my alpha females, Tongkowesi, for a show on raw food diets.

Merujo: Sure thing, Modub. Thanks so much. Hope we can do this again sometime.

Modub: My pleasure, babe. If you're ever in the Congo, you have my number. Peace out.

Modubowange: "I'm just a guy. Just a guy."


Chuck said...

For some reason this interview reminded me of that Far Side cartoon where there is a researcher in a bad gorilla suit surrounded by about four other gorillas, and they're telling him, "So, you're a lowland gorilla, huh? Well, why don't you eat some of these nice tasty grubs? In fact, we wanna see you chug 'em!"

Merujo said...

I remember that one! And I'm laughing. Oh, and I must credit my colleague LK for the line in my post about this community of gorillas being the size of a small college town. So true - and too good a line to pass up!