I was in the mood for philosophizing, so I went to my favorite gastro-pub. I walked through the entryway with it’s green tiles and stained glass interior doors, then through to the long bar with it’s padded green wooden stools. I sat at the end of the bar, ordered a cold stein of beer and contemplated the oil painting behind the bar of Aphrodite, Greek Goddess of Love.
Then I noticed the cage on the shelf behind the bar in front of the long mirror. There was a small monkey in the cage!
Just then, a gentleman with grey hair and beard slid onto the stool next to me. He ordered a beer and sat staring straight ahead.
“Beautiful, isn’t she?” I said, pointing to the Aphrodite painting.
“I wasn’t looking at that, I was wondering what that monkey is doing here.”
I smiled. The bartender said:
“This monkey is very smart, it even has a favorite President.”
“ Who’s that?”
Oh, this bartender was a gem, I thought. Too bad he left to serve some customers.
I turned back to my stool buddy and said:
“Maybe the innkeeper is trying to remind us where we all come from.”
“Oh, you mean evolution and all that.”
“Yes, that’s right. I was just reading the other day about the famous “Scopes Monkey Trial” that occurred in 1925.”
“What was that all about?” He asked, watching the monkey squirm in its cage.
“Well, Scopes was a school teacher who was on trial for teaching evolution when that was unlawful in Tennessee at the time, because evolution was against the teachings of the Bible.”
“I think it’s sort of a put down to say we come from a lower order of animals. I mean we’re different from apes!”
“My brother-in-law looks and acts like a chimpanzee!”
Oh! The bartender was back!
We both laughed, as we ordered two more beers.
“So, how are we different from other animals?’
“Well, us humans have evolved much farther. The animal kingdom is still living like they always have, but us humans have created a different environment for ourselves than the one we started out in.”
My bar stool buddy looked pensive.
“I’ve never really thought about that. But you’re right, we build cities, create art and music, design all kinds of things, we’ve created an environment unlike anything else in nature.”
“Another great difference between us and other animals is our capacity for self-awareness. Other animals don’t evaluate themselves. If they look in a mirror, they think they’re seeing another animal! The exception being the great apes, they recognize their reflection.”
“Well, that monkey in the cage is looking at itself in the mirror and combing its beard.”
Just then, I noticed my bar stool buddy was combing his beard also in the mirror.
The bartender came over, laughing, and said:
“Monkey See, Monkey Do!”