Scott Hollifield: No Christmas cheer for the Monkey Action News Team

As the theoretical cigar-chomping, hooch-swilling, skirt-chasing, cholesterol-lowering-medication-taking, underpaid and overworked 1930s newspaper-style bureau chief of the fictional yet highly respected Monkey Action News Team, I usually reign supreme over the office Christmas party this time of year, drinking deeply from the punch bowl under the watchful eye of HR and showering my employees with accolades and expensive gifts that I mark as “miscellaneous” on accounts payable.

Unfortunately, that will not happen this year. Since our company’s merger with Simian Media International, the purse strings for the Monkey Action News Team have gotten considerably tighter. First there was the grounding of the Monkey Action News Team News Chopper 2, then the removal of the massage table from my “work space” and, finally, cancellation of the office Christmas party.

I was forced to break the bitter news of a party-less holiday in a memo to my culturally diverse squad -- Johnny, Rico, Lulu, Jaafar, Kichiro and Toots – the finest group of guys and gals to ever cover global monkey news. Here is that memo.

To: Monkey Action News Team

From: The Chief

Re: About that upcoming Christmas party…

Hello, gang. First, I want to congratulate you on another banner year of covering monkey news from around the world. Our readers can’t seem to get enough of monkey-themed stories.

Kenny from down Winston-Salem, N.C. way was sure our team had a hand in a series Bigfoot stories that captured the public’s imagination this fall.

“Because Bigfoot is just another species of monkey (aren't we all), I'm absolutely certain that you had something to do with that article,” Kenny wrote in an email. “No doubt you've also elected yourself Grand Muckety-Muck for annual celebrations of 'Bigfoot Days' for the next forty-leven years.”

Another reader in Hickory, N.C. sought advice from the team.

“(She) called and asked me to share her wishes with you,” Hickory Daily Record Editor Eric Millsaps said in an email. “She referred to a Dear Abby question about a woman dressing in the same style as another and this causing problems at work. She said the monkeys would say we have no problem dressing alike…She said some more stuff too about monkeys and bracelets and fighting, as she giggled.”

Tim from Yadkinville, N.C., who has a keen eye for monkey news, called and left several entertaining messages throughout the year. Keep ’em coming, Tim.

And just last week, reader Sue Ramsey sent a link to a story on a website called A Science Enthusiast about how a man who was admittedly “high as a kite” tried to steal a squirrel monkey as present for his girlfriend – which I must say is a thoughtful gift – and suffered the consequences.

"I don't know what happened in the squirrel monkey enclosure,” a judge in Wellington District Court in New Zealand told the perp. “The squirrel monkeys know… What I know is that by daybreak all the monkeys were distressed, two of them were injured, and you had a broken leg, two fractured teeth, a sprained ankle, and bruises on your back."

That sounds a lot like last year’s Monkey Action News Team Christmas party! Right, gang? LOL!

Speaking of which, there will not be one this year. It seems the “powers-that-be” would rather devote resources elsewhere rather than to what one snowflake supervisor called “an annual drunken bacchanalia which has in the past resulted in several fires and an astronomical carpet-cleaning bill.”

That said, I would like you to know that I value the work of each and every member of the Monkey Action News Team and I look forward to exciting monkey-related news in the coming year.

Also, everyone should meet at 4:30 at the loading dock to bring my massage table back to my “work space.” Thankfully, the company came to its senses on that one.

Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion, N.C. and a humor columnist. Contact him at rhollifield@mcdowellnews.com .

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily newsletter.