When Siddhartha Gautama sat in meditation for days and days in that seminal moment 2500 years ago, he did so beneath a bodhi tree. As in, the bodhi tree. The very same bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa) is still alive in thriving at Bodh Gaya near Gaya, India.
So I figured the very least I could do to give homage to the zazenkai mini retreat I had such high expectations for is give the 7-foot tall ornery, adolescent chimp a name that’s a variation on the word “bodhi.” Hence the name Brody.
Now then, the serenity, courage and spiritual strength I was convinced I would come out of that day fell short (really, all I came out of the day with was a ravenous hunger for a big sloppy cheeseburger and curly fries,) I thought about what it’s going to take to cure me of my addictions to sugar and smoking. It isn’t even a nicotine addiction but a smoking addiction because, as anyone who has ever smoked for any length of time will tell you, the buzz is quite different from smoking than it is from the gum. I smoke American Spirits, which don’t have the 400 other chemicals that provide a more intense hit of nicotine as say Winstons or Camels. But it is still far superior to the sort of the wimpy, red-headed stepchild cousin of nicotine gum.
With Brody, the 7-foot tall adolescent, ornery male chimp, the odds of me having the opportunity to enjoy a smoke would be totally obliterated. Just check out this YouTube video I found of adolescent chimps and you’ll understand.
Now, I know that chimps don’t grow to be 7 feet tall, so I’d have to petition a cutting-edge genetics company to make Brody for me. Plus, I need him now because my body is of the age where smoking is starting to do some serious damage. I can barely run three miles without needing a nap afterward. So I’d start a GoFundMe campaign to raise enough money to have the cutting-edge genetics lab engineer Brody so I’d have him in a couple months, he’d be an adolescent for maybe a year, long enough for me to kick the sugar and smoking habits for good. Then, with all the money I saved from not smoking and buying cookies and non-dairy coconut milk brownie fudge ice cream, I could afford the plane ticket to Botswana to release Brody back into the wild. He’d most likely scare the bejesus out of the other chimps (Think about it. Relatively speaking in human terms, how would you react if a 13-foot tall angry thug with a dew rag, a gold chain and baggy pants came up to you in a dark alley? Exactly.) But that’s not my problem. That’s all the other Botswanese chimps’ problem.
During his childhood at the lab, I would make a weekly visit to play with him and bond with him and we would become pals. But as soon as those cranky, pubescent genes started expressing themselves, I’d handcuff myself to Brody and he would become my roommate. I already pay my landlord an extra $25 per month just so I can have joint custody of my dog with my ex-girlfriend, so I have no idea what kind of surcharge I would have to pony up for Brody to live with me, but it’s gotta be steep. Never mind if there’s city ordinances about living with ornery chimps. I mean just imagine the kind of damage Brody could do to my apartment. The worst thing Zimmer, my Golden Retriever and the most chill dog you’ll ever meet, could do is vomit on the carpet or shit in the heat vents if I’m asleep and his extremely sensitive stomach can’t handle the five or six kernels of popcorn I toss him when I have popcorn. When chimps reach adolescence and experience that surge of testosterone, forget about it. The genetically enhanced, cranky teenaged primate wouldn’t take kindly to being a handcuffed to my pot-bellied middle-aged butt in the first place, never mind the fact that I would have to share my bed with him because when I can’t sleep, I’m prone to getting out of bed and going outside for a smoke. Oh, and I’d also probably have to convince my ex-girlfriend to take care of Zimmer for that month because I don’t know how a chill Golden Retriever and a 7-foot tall ornery, adolescent chimp would do sharing my little one-bedroom apartment and I don’t want to find out.
So, now me and Brody are handcuffed together, sharing an apartment and a bed, and now I must train him to do two things. He has to wear around his neck the keys to the padlocks that I would have to put on all the cupboards and refrigerator so I don’t get up in the middle of the night to eat ice cream or cookies (a lovely habit I inherited from my mother.) And I must train him to pummel me to the ground and beat me into submission every time I even think about going to buy cigarettes (Dammit. That also means I probably must pay the genetics lab extra so Brody is telepathic too.)
Keep in mind, me and Brody haven’t even left the house yet.