When the public demands hard-hitting monkey news, the Monkey Action News Team swings into action, never afraid to fling handfuls of truth at our faithful readers who yearn for all things monkey.
Until one day, when it doesn’t.
Recently, I was inundated with requests (there were two, if my math is correct) to dig deeper into a couple of monkey-related stories reported by the mainstream media.
As the theoretical cigar-chomping, hooch-swilling, skirt-chasing, cholesterol-lowering-medication-taking, underpaid and overworked bureau chief of the fictional yet highly respected Monkey Action News Team, I ignored those requests until I had no other column topic and then decided it was time to address them.
One of those involved an on-going lawsuit over the copyright of a monkey selfie.
“Scott, this may be of interest to the Monkey News Network,” a reader said in an email passing along a helpful link but incorrectly referencing a rival monkey-news gathering organization, the more conservative MNN, instead of the most trusted name in monkey news, MANT.
Another email came from Jennifer, who some readers may remember as the couch-loving consumer of monkey news referenced in previous columns, but probably not.
“ There's been a dry stretch of monkey news in your column lately,” Jennifer wrote, presumably from her couch. “I enjoyed your outrage over the Florida schools curriculum & the eclipse-viewing tips, but it's time for some MANT news.”
Jennifer sent a link to an AP story featured in The News & Advance of Lynchburg (one of the nation’s best newspapers for monkey coverage, by the way) headlined “Wild primates in Florida park: Monkey shenanigans on the rise.”
It was time to gather my team.
“Johnny! Rico! Lulu! Jaafar! Kichiro! Toots! Get in here and pronto!” I exclaimed from my office. In the past, I bellowed or roared from my office, but a recent HR webinar I was forced to take discourages both, saying they contribute to a hostile work environment.
“What’s up, chief?” said Johnny.
“I got a couple of emails we need talk about,” I said.
“Look, chief, we’ve told you over and over no Nigerian prince is going to give you ‘one million US dollars for your assistance in this urgent matter,’” said Lulu. “They’re scams.”
“It’s not that, knucklehead. Readers are demanding the kind of hard-hitting monkey news only we can deliver.”
“Yes, Jennifer again, but another reader, too. It’s time to get to work.”
Kichiro spoke up.
“Chief, I need the rest of the afternoon off. I have a job interview with the Monkey News Network.”
“Why you son of a ---! Our rivals?” I bellowed and roared at the same time. “Why, I oughta -- ! Clean out your desk, traitor, you’re fired!”
“You can’t fire Kichiro just for listening to an offer from MNN,” Toots said. “And if I am not mistaken, you just bellowed and roared, which is a clear violation of current company policy.”
“You’re fired, too!” I exclaimed and bellowed and roared. “I’ve dedicated my career to the single-minded pursuit of monkey news and this is thanks I get from my team? I’ve neglected my family. I’ve sacrificed my health. I’ve read emails from Jennifer. All to satisfy the public’s insatiable hunger for stories about monkeys. If that’s the way you feel, then all of you get out. Scram. Hit the bricks. I’ll find a new team, see, journalists with the same burning desire to cover monkey news that I have.”
And with that, they left, the Monkey Action News Team in shambles.
I got HR on the horn.
“Yeah, Linda? I’ve got a little problem…”
Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion, N.C. and a humor columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .