The Common Good
November 2007

There's Something in the Room

by Ed Spivey Jr. | November 2007

As the election season progresses and the inevitable wreckage shows up on the side of the road—Gilmore who?

As the election season progresses and the inevitable wreckage shows up on the side of the road—Gilmore who? What’s a “biden”?—it is fascinating that Republican Rudy Giuliani is still in the lead for his party’s nomination. Despite being pro-choice, pro-gun control, and pro-gay marriage, positions that go against fundamental GOP tenets, Giuliani is the 800-pound gorilla in a crowded field of dogmatic loyalists.

800-Pound Gorilla: Ahem.

Sojourners: Oh, sorry. I didn’t see you standing there.

Gorilla: People always say that.

Sojourners: So, you’re, like, Koko, or what?

Gorilla: [sigh] No, my name is Robert. Koko’s that idiot who gets way too much press, just because he can type. Like that’s hard. And the so-called “sign language” he uses? You’d make those gestures, too, if you had a piece of dung beetle larvae on your finger. They’re actually quite tasty after a good rain, but you don’t want to get that stuff on your keyboard.

Sojourners: If you’ll excuse me, we’re talking about presidential politics. Fred Thompson is another force to reckon with. Despite his advanced age and minimal public service, compared to most other candidates he’s another ... um ...

Gorilla: You were going to say “800-pound gorilla” again, weren’t you?

Sojourners: Was not.

Gorilla: Look, these constant references to me are very annoying. While part of me is flattered that I’m used as a reference for something substantial and imposing, the other part of me is ...

Sojourners: Really hairy?

Gorilla:

Sojourners: Sorry.

Gorilla: My point is, I am not just a symbol of overwhelming power. I have a sensitive side that’s never talked about. Actually, an 800-pound gorilla could lend a certain dignity to any proceeding, even the most contentious gathering. On Capitol Hill, for example, I could easily bring an end to partisan bickering with a simple nudge from one of my huge, fleshy hands, or perhaps with an unyielding stare from my deep-set yellow eyes. Or I could just squash their heads.

Sojourners: I see.

Gorilla: Having a huge bull ape in the room could enforce a respectful discourse that only comes when opposing parties know that, at any moment, they could be flung against a wall with brute force. It’s a role to which I would gladly give my full attention, except for those periodic moments of personal grooming, which may or may not include popping a large tick in my mouth.

Sojourners: But—and I’m not sure how to say this delicately—you’re naked.

Gorilla: On the contrary, my body is completely covered by a thick and lustrous coat. It’s not like I’m one of those god-awful baboons who parade around with their obscenely naked red butts. They might as well be carrying a billboard that says, “Hey, look at my obscenely naked red butt!”

Sojourners: Do I detect a little interspecies animosity here? Did you have a bad baboon experience in your earlier life?

Gorilla: I’d rather not talk about it.

Sojourners: Fine. So anyway, do you think we should go back to the tried-and-true phrase “elephant in the room”?

Gorilla: Possibly. Elephants are grand and docile behemoths which, when domesticated, often work side by side with their human partners.

Sojourners: How would you know that?

Gorilla: I saw it on a National Geographic special.

Sojourners: By the way, no offense, but have you ever thought about cutting back on the carbs a little, and maybe being a 700-pound gorilla? I’m just sayin’ ...

Gorilla: You’re right. I’ve tried to cut back on the bananas, but they’re not as filling as you might think. I start out wanting to eat just one, but before you know it the forest floor is littered with yellow peels. Ook.

Sojourners: Did you just say “ook”?

Gorilla: Yes. It’s a word my species uses to express guilt after a regretful self-indulgence. Like reading this column, for example.

Sojourners: Ook.

Ed Spivey Jr. is art director of Sojourners.

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