Coworkers described Curious George as a welcomed addition to the team when he started in data entry several years ago. Even after George caused a 3-day power outage in his quest to understand florescent lighting, and later when he flooded the building after wondering how many bananas would fit in a toilet, people still loved George’s infectious enthusiasm.
Francis, head of George’s department, adds, “He was the kind of monkey that as soon as he entered the room, you instantly felt a palpable sense of happiness. But lately, something’s changed. He used to climb over the top of a cubicle and ask, ‘Ooh-ooh-ooh-eee-eee?’ and hold up a stapler or a hole punch or some other mundane office item. I would explain to him what they did and he was thrilled.
“This went on for the better part of the first year. But there’s only so much to ask about in data entry. I also showed him how to enter numbers in spreadsheets, but after about 8 months he stopped asking questions. His curiosity seemed to vanish.
“Most days I walk by his cubicle, he won’t even say ‘Hi’; he’s…he’s just too driven in his work. You can tell he’s really turned into a no nonsense guy here who wants to get ahead at any cost. His ambition is frightening.”
George’s first cousin, Non-Curious Gary, an accountant, is relieved. He indicated that George has always been a dreamer, an impractical clown who should suck it up like the rest of us do and make a living. After all, not all of us have a man in a yellow hat to lift us back up again after we’ve been foolish enough to pursue a ludicrous adventure or spill paint all over the place like some impetuous fool.
Non-Curious Gary can’t speak, of course, but he did put me in a headlock, squish a banana all over my face, and end his fit by smashing his monkey fist into a picture of him and George that hangs above his desk. I can only infer this is what he meant by his outburst.
I did track down the man in the yellow hat for comment. He’s in a retirement home in south Florida, where his ridiculous choice in headwear at last made some sense.
He was almost obliviously upbeat and I’m still unclear whether he understood the question. I asked the man in the yellow hat if he thought George was in a career that sullies his natural enthusiasm. The man in the yellow hat responded cheerfully, “One time George was lost in a museum because he wanted to know where the dinosaur bones came from and what they were! He loves dinosaurs!”
I visited George in his cubicle. He was quite adept at data entry and seemed to work at lightning speed. He had one poster on his wall; it was a sunset with some insipid inspirational quote about success. George didn’t turn around when I walked in or show any interest in the tuba, box of bananas, or basket of kittens I had with me to pique his once infectious curiosity.
I asked George if this was the life he envisioned for himself when he was a child monkey. He dismissively responded “Ooh,” which I’m told by his coworkers means “Sure, whatever” in monkey speak. He quickly went back to data entry, shooing aside a kitten that escaped from the basket. I began to question his career choice when, out of the blue, he became severely agitated.
I often heard about shit-slinging in journalism, but this was the first time it happened to me. Joke’s on you, Curious George. I ducked and now your corporate Success poster is covered in monkey poo. A notable improvement if you ask me.
A version of this post originally ran on Bourgeois Alien
About the Author
Elizabeth Argyropoulos, also known as, “Bourgeois Alien” on Twitter and on her website by the same name, has always thought of herself as funny…but not funny, “ha ha” more of a, “ha ha, wow…that’s sad” kind of way. She has a degree in English Lit and studied improv at Second City in Chicago. While living in Chicago, she met, married, and moved to Greece for a almost a decade with her perfectly loud Greek husband. While in Greece, together they produced an even louder Greek-American son. They now all live in happily Florida, where they all fear they’ll be eaten by gators or man-size mosquitoes.