Go-Rillas and heat stroke…

February 21, 2009
So I’m at work one day, happens to be October 31st, and one of my midshipman, United States Naval Academy, is sporting a no-kidding full size gorilla costume. Most people would probably be alarmed at the sight of one of their employees dressed in such a manner- but I am a Marine, the only feelings that I experienced were those of pure envy.

It took my warped mind approximately 3-seconds to develop an intricate plan involving the use of the Gorilla costume and from that point on I would not be denied. So I pulled Magilla-Midshipman to the side and asked him if I could borrow the ensemble for a day or two; he quickly agreed.

A couple of hours later a beat-up cardboard box containing one well-used, full-sized Gorilla costume appeared in my office. After a detailed inspection I realized that maybe it was not as high tech as I had thought at 5 a.m. Hair (or what ever you call synthetic Gorilla fur) had fallen out in several spots and the rubber chest plate (complete with disturbingly erect Gorilla nipples) had started to peel away from the suit, but all-in-all not bad, especially for free. I found it very hard to concentrate on work with the temptation of wearing a full-sized Gorilla costume staring me square in the face, but somehow I managed to be productive. In fact, by the end of the day I was pretty sure that I had developed quite possibly the best Gorilla Suit plan in the history of the world.

As the work day drew to a close I considered jumping into the Gorilla suit for the ride home, but then considered the loss of peripheral vision due to the protruding brow and narrowed eye holes a road hazard so I ended up throwing the box in my back seat. (See how responsible I am?)

THE PLAN: I would call Connie and ask her if she could take the kids out of the house for a few minutes. I would then run in, put on the gorilla suit and move to the backyard. Our backyard is sloped upward toward the back. At the top of the slope are some trees and vegetation (the closest thing to woods that we have). My plan was to hang out near the top of the slope looking “Gorilla-like”. When the kids came home they would enter through the kitchen, walk past the sliding doors leading to our backyard and “Holy shit Mom, there is a Gorilla in our backyard!!!”. Don’t get me wrong we do not encourage nor condone our children using profanity, but if by chance there was a real gorilla in our backyard I would probably forgive them if they did.

After I was discovered I would slowly begin the ascent to our back patio. Looking as menacing as possible I would inch closer and closer to the sliding doors. I visualized my boys transfixed as I drew near. Finally, when the moment was right I would charge at the sliding doors beating my chest while giving the best angry Gorilla roar that I could muster. Are you feeling me people? Or am I sick for thinking that this scenario could quite possibly be the funniest thing ever? I couldn’t wait to see their expressions; priceless.


I called Connie on her cell phone; she just happened to be out with the boys. I sketched out my plan for her. I can’t really put my finger on it but I don’t think she was as excited as I was, could have been the statement “Shane you’re an idiot, someone is going to get hurt!” I walked into the house and threw on the suit. It fit like a big, furry, sweaty glove. The only way to describe the feeling of wearing a full-sized Gorilla suit is to compare it to wearing a giant sheepskin seat-cover that had just been pulled from beneath a morbidly obese man after several hundred miles of driving on a hot August day. Secondly, I have never been close enough to smell a real gorilla, but I can all most guarantee they don’t smell like Axe Body Spray. Something tells me that the owner of the suit actually believed the Axe commercials and that the odor alone would draw women to him in droves; the fact that he was wearing a Gorilla suit must have escaped him. At this point I was all most running to get in place, but I did have the piece of mind to grab my cell phone just in case I needed it. Luckily the realistic Gorilla suit came complete with front slash pockets.

Once outside I moved into position and rehearsed some basic Gorilla mannerisms. It was a little past 5 o’clock just enough daylight left to successfully employ my plan. I was ready.

5:15- no Connie/kids

5:30- no Connie/kids

5:45- no Connie/kids

Right about 5:45 I started to question my plan. First of all it was getting dark and I hadn’t told anyone in our neighborhood what I was doing. This could go tragically wrong in a couple of ways. One, a good Samaritan could spot me and call the police then I would look like a fool trying to explain my plan to terrorize my children. The second scenario, and probably most likely, was that my 72-year old neighbor (Sonny) would see me and attempt to exterminate me. Sonny is my best friend; he’s also a good ole boy from Tennessee who has a penchant for getting rid of “Critters”. Sonny wouldn’t care if it was a rare silverback or a ground hog; he would view both as potential hazards to the health of his lawn, and once you fall into the “lawn-hazard” category it’s only a matter of time before you disappear. So to ensure I wasn’t hit over the head with a garden spade I called him on my cell phone. Here’s how the conversation went:

Shane- “Hey Sonny this is Shane I’m in the back yard dressed as a Gorilla”

Sonny- “Wire you dressed like a GO-Rilla?

Shane- “I don’t have time to explain, but it’s a joke I’m playing on the kids”

Sonny- “Good God-A-mighty, you are dressed as a Go-Rilla! (Sonny is the neighborhood depository of information as such he has an unmatched ability to immediately recognize even the slightest modification in normalcy, sort of like Robo-Cop only shorter and less metallic)

Shane- “I look cool don’t I?”

Sonny- “I think you look like a Baar” (Hill-Billy term for Bear)

Shane- “Close enough, please don’t shoot me”

Sonny- “I ain’t gonna shoot ya, if’n you stay off my grass”

Shane- “Deal”

Sonny- “When yer done, stop by for a Budweiser”

Shane- “Will do Sonny, Bye”

Feeling fairly safe from ending up in a garbage bag or buried in Sonny’s back yard I went back to work preparing for Connie/kids return. Another 20 minutes passed by, it was getting darker, I was getting impatient. The suit no longer smelled like Axe Body wash, it was starting to smell like a real gorilla. Ants had found there way into my suit and there was absolutely no way for me to reach them. On top of that, the rubber chest plate was starting to peel back from all the heat I was generating. I pulled off the gorilla mask to get some air, it was then I realized I was dangerously close to heat stroke. My lips were numb, my tongue was the size of a cucumber and I had stopped sweating 25 minutes beforehand. The fear of being found unconscious in the back yard dressed as a Gorilla started to become a very likely reality. I was able to hold out for another 15-minutes before my fight or flight mechanism kicked in. Looking like a tranquilized beast off some old “Wild Kingdom” episode I stumbled to the garden hose to bring down my core body temperature. But to my dismay I was unable to work the spicket with my Gorilla gloves and had lost the presence of mind to pull them off. In a last ditch effort to preserve my dignity (as much dignity as any grown man in a Gorilla suit can have) I opened the sliding door and threw myself in to the air conditioned comfort of our family room.

It was while laying in the family room half dressed in my Gorilla costume that the boys came bounding into the house. My plan was foiled. In fact to add insult to injury all that Mack said (matter-of-factly) was “Hey Dad, what’s going on? Can I have a play date?”

Moral of the story:

Gorilla suits, though exceptionally funny, can cause severe dehydration and loss of good judgment. They are not toys and should be handled with extreme care and should never be sold or lent to United States Marines. We just do not possess the level of maturity and common sense to employ them safely.

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Teri and the cats of Furrydance posted the following on February 25, 2009 at 3:42 pm.

I couldn’t stop laughing, and I was at work…let’s see, nipples, obese, Axe…you got all the topics in to make for a funny story and then there’s how you just take us there with your weaving of a true adventure!

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