McCULLOUGH: Just monkeying around

Nate McCullough

Nate McCullough

Elrod Fontana here. I have once again been asked to fill in for Nate while he is on vacation, though why he would need a vacation is beyond me. I guess legally they have to give him one every now and then.

I don't get nearly as riled up about things as Nate does, but I do have a reputation for calling it like I see it. So I'm going to give you a little Elrod perspective on a very interesting subject. I just won't ramble on forever.

And don't worry, I'm not going to get into any of the "top stories." Health care and the recession and all that has been done to death. So let's peel back a layer or two on the onion and get to some really interesting stuff. Namely, monkeys.

Did you know that the Transportation Security Administration, the people in charge of airport security, has a policy in place for passengers with service animals? They have it broken down into two categories: Service dogs and … wait for it … monkeys.

I had no idea I could hire a monkey to do stuff for me. Just imagine — no more trips to the fridge for a beer, no more doing the dishes, no more taking out the trash. You just get the monkey to do it.

A good monkey could take most of the hassle out of life. Every little chore, every annoying task becomes the monkey's job. And a monkey would have to be more efficient than, say, a teenager. Plus, they wouldn't eat as much, you don't have to buy cell phones or clothes for them (clothes on a monkey kinda creeps me out) and you don't have to start a college fund for a monkey.

And now I find out I can take them on an airplane with me. Not that I fly a lot. Scares the bejeezus out of me. But I'd probably be a little calmer if I had a monkey with me. (I figure I could train him to steal drinks off that little cart after the stewardess cuts me off.)

The TSA has quite a list of rules for allowing monkeys through security though. For instance:

• The monkey must be controlled by the handler throughout the screening process.

Well, duh. Can't have your monkey running all crazy all over the airport.

• Since monkeys may likely draw attention, the handler will be escorted to the physical inspection area where a table is available for the monkey to sit on.

It's hard to imagine what's more incredible — that the government spent money to pay someone to come up with a rule for inspecting monkeys, or that it has a special monkey inspection table.

• TSOs have been trained to not touch the monkey during the screening process.

I WON'T make a childish joke, I WON'T make childish joke, I WON'T make a childish joke …

And finally,

• The inspection process may require that the handler take off the monkey's diaper as part of the visual inspection.

Might be some WMDs in there. Hey, if suburban white women from Pennsylvania can join al-Qaida, why not Zippy the Wonder Chimp?

So I'm off to the pet store to start shopping for a monkey. Nate will return next week. Until he finds out about this monkey business, of course.

Elrod Fontana is an international man of leisure and occasional newspaper columnist. He does not have e-mail.

E-mail Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays.