Breakfast with Adam

Their first live-in simians, a pair of yellow squirrel monkeys named Emmett and Greg —

(A brief digression on Stein family pet names: it strikes some people as odd that my parents would name their monkeys Emmett and Greg, just as it strikes some people as odd that our family dogs have been named, in order of appearance, Casper, Willy, and George. I assure you that the Stein family finds it even more odd that some people give their animals idiotic pet names like Fido, Spot, and Bonzo. We’ve never discussed the matter amongst ourselves; we all just intuitively understand the fundamental rightness of giving pets normal people names, and we will get rather indignant on the issue if pressed.)

— were terrible pets, and I’ve never heard my parents express the slightest sentimentality toward either one of them. They were dirty and smelly, my mother assures me, and worse, they were constantly (here I quote) “blowing each other.” Now, this was the late ’60s, and Emmett and Greg surely had a right to their own lifestyle choices, but you have to admit that this is not very attractive behavior in a pet. Imagine my poor parents trying to throw a dinner party for a professor while their two pet monkeys engage in acrobatic monkey sex on top of the credenza. Savor the image as I have.

–Adam Stein, “Glory Days”

I’m in New York. After five months of log-cabin isolation, I’m as hepped up as a two-year-old who got into the Smarties. This morning’s date: breakfast with international man of mystery Adam Stein, with whom I’ve been corresponding for about a year. He is already disappointed that my voicemails don’t sound like Shrek. To make up for it I’ll spend the subway ride practising a list of questions about monkey sex in a reinforced brogue.

6 thoughts on “Breakfast with Adam”

  1. Dervala – Hope you are enjoying NY.

    I, too, love animals that have people names (although I can’t say I’ve ever had monkeys or any other animals who have been as amorous as Emmett and Greg). Although my dog’s name is Thisbe (from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream), I have an adorable tabby cat who answers to…..Dave.

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  2. When they were four or five or so, my twin brother and sister named their two goldfish Kenneth and Ian. I don’t know why that still cracks me up.

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  3. My childhood panda was called Derek. He appeared to be a boy, and the only boy I knew was my cousin Derek, so that’s what I called him. Ming-Ming might have been more appropriate.

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  4. Shrek (as voiced by Mike Myers) had, for no good reason, a Scottish accent. And we Celts (I’m Irish) all sound the same, according to some of my American friends.

    I gave up correcting the inevitable “You Brits…” thing years ago.

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  5. I’ll chime in here, only a few weeks too late:

    In addition to talking funny, Shrek was a digital character. Just like Dervala, prior to my meeting her in NY. Get it? Thanks, folks, I’ll be here all night.

    Incidentally, I can tell a Scottish accent from an Irish accent if I care to. But I never let reality get in the way of a bad joke.

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