The Story Behind My Monkey

   Ahhh…a special day for sweethearts. A day when those of us who are normally conservative with our dress will be brave enough to vamp it up and wear sinful red from our lips to our stiletto heels. Likewise, men will spit and polish themselves up this one day of the year just to please us, and well…make no mistake about the other motive they have. 🙂 

Sadly, the Old Man and I will not be two of those people. He has to drive in to the big city after work to pick up my son who intends to spend the rest of the week home with me. My boy is still nursing a broken heart, unfortunately the object of his affection is playing the ‘I-don’t-want-you-but-don’t-want-anyone-else-to-have-you, so-I’m-going-to-make-your-life-miserable’ game, and he’s gotten depressed to the point that now I’m really starting to worry. So home it is, and I’m sure we’ll be spending Valentine’s evening dealing with his open wounds. Not exactly how I would’ve planned it, but then my plans and preconceived notions never seem to pan out, do they?

I never got to go out this weekend. ((sigh)) Kristy had to cancel plans for her birthday to work due to both her asst. managers having to attend the same funeral. As shitty as I felt about not being able to go out, imagine how crappy she felt pulling a fourteen-hour day on her birthday. Yippee..fucking..skippie! I did manage to get in to see her to wish her a happy birthday, but that was the extent of my weekend abroad. The Old Man and I planned to go out on Saturday to celebrate an early Valentine’s Day, but that didn’t happen. He woke up that morning sicker than shit, and I spent the next couple of days nursing his ass that was on the couch. Dandy, huh? I did get a nice surprise on Friday though. He brought me home my monkey. Well, it wasn’t exactly my monkey, it had been someone else’s monkey, but it was close enough to bring tears to my eyes and choke me up. It was a ‘monkey’ nonetheless and I was touched beyond words. 

I am very sentimental. I am the kind of person that still has birthday cards given to me from when I was in elementary school. I have a skate case full of mementos from my childhood, boxes of loose photographs that never made it into albums, my children’s school papers, the pair of roller skates I received for my fifteenth birthday that still has my old boyfriend from the junior high years’ name on it; anything and everything else you can imagine. I put ALOT of emphasis on memories; things and people that are important to me. Losing any of these things would break my heart. And unfortunately one did. Nine and a half years ago when I lost my ‘monkey’. Here is HER story…

I got through the last year of a shitty marriage with my second husband by ‘tuning out’. I was in it but not exactly present. He wouldn’t give me the divorce I’d been begging for, so I just divorced him emotionally. I went through the motions of being a wife and mother, took care of the house and kids, made dinner in the evening, cleaned up after everyone, watched them all go to bed, and would find myself sitting in the dark at the kitchen table night after night drinking coffee and thinking about a future with me and my wants and needs in it, and him not. Then there came a time I couldn’t sit anymore, and to save my sanity I began to slip out. Where I slipped out to was  my second-cousin’s bar. There I wasn’t anyone’s wife or mother. There I had no obligations and no one expected anything from me. There acceptance was unconditional and I began to find ME again. Yeah, I know…not ideal. But then, I didn’t have a lot of options. 

I’m not one to sit still for long, and definitely not the kind of person who can booze it up all evening while looking at a tv set. Given that I didn’t know anyone but my cousin and the bartenders, I started to look for other ways to insert myself into the atmosphere. This particular place was known for it’s antique pool tables that had tighter pockets than you could find in most bars. This was where many chose to go to shoot and hone their game. This was where I picked up a pool stick and shot a real game for the first time. This was something that enabled me to escape. I quickly found with the aid of alcohol, when I focused on the game everything and anything just melted away in the background. I’d found a new addiction. 

I finally unloaded that husband and what I thought was my real problem in December of 97. Unfortunately, I never stay alone for very long and just found another one. One at the time I naively thought was completing me. But then, all seemed quite well: I was working, the kids seemed happy, I had a social life and had made many new friends at the bar. More important, I had grown to love the game. So much so, that when income tax refunds came around I did something that was unheard of for me…I dropped a chunk of cash on something brand new for myself. I bought myself a pool cue. 

I can only compare what I felt for that pool cue to someone who has a love of shoes that is able to buy what they know will be their first and only pair of red-bottom, Christian Louboutin’s. Being the self-proclaimed thrift-whore that I am, I only intended to splurge for two hundred dollars, and only that because I wanted a Mcdermott and to get a decent one at the time you couldn’t spend much less . This was the price in my head when I went in there, still the price in my head when I spotted the cue in the corner of the rack on the wall, and the same I had as I carried this particular cue around for more than two hours in my left hand, while continuing to pick through others with my right. I found I couldn’t let it go. I couldn’t put it back. I still don’t know why. It wasn’t as elaborate as many others that were there, but it was different, and in a billiards shop of carbon copy pool cues it stood alone. Why? This particular model/design was retired in 1995. I can only assume it was the only one left. Anyway, the sales guy was sick of me, offered to throw in a hard case if I’d finally buy the damn thing already, so I trudged up to the counter with my new baby in my hands and shelled out, which was to me, the outrageous amount of $305. I knew she was a keeper when the sales guy couldn’t get the weight out to change it from a 19 oz to a 21–which was what I shot with–offered to send it back to the manufacturer to have them replace it, and I told him he’d have to pry it out of my dead hands first.

I shit you not when I tell you that this pool stick became my shadow. I was seldom without the damn thing. It was either in a room near me in my home, in my car, or at the bar with me. In a sick sort of way I attached myself to the only thing that I thought made me happy and couldn’t hurt me. I named her Monkey. I’ve always said the best part of being a woman is my ‘monkey’. Let’s face it, the joke is not so far-fetched; with one of ‘these’ we can have all of ‘those’ that we want. Well, she became the best part about me…so Monkey she was dubbed. And years later as the new relationship began to hit the skids, I was bartending and used it every day as a means of escape. Is it any wonder that when she mysteriously disappeared I was beyond solace? And worse yet, was the suspicion that this man I loved more than life might have been the one to do it to hurt me. But that’s another story about another man and unhappy times, and this one has little, if anything, to do with him.

I soon after bought another cue from the pawn shop. I guess you could even say a better cue. It was a newer Mcdermott in the Harley Davidson series, and in near mint condition. I felt I had no other choice as pool league was starting back up and I was without a cue. And though I had nothing but compliments on this new stick, I soon found that without Monkey the love of the game was gone, and with it my game. For months after, nay years since, I have looked for her in local pawn shops, searched with no luck online for one exactly like her in the hopes it might bring back the magic. I’ve searched, and the Old Man has searched. We’ve seen a couple with the design, but none with her special ‘pearl’ color under it. Recently I realized that I might never find it/her again. She, with her special ‘pearl’ color, might just have been one of a kind.

The Old Man brought me home my Valentine’s Day present Friday, and beamed like a school boy with an apple for his teacher when he handed it to me. It was a Monkey! No, as I stated earlier it wasn’t exactly my monkey, it had been someone else’s monkey, but it was close enough to bring tears to my eyes and choke me up. It was a ‘monkey’ nonetheless and I was touched beyond words. He’d gotten her from a pawn shop, took her over to the billiards place to get her shaft and tip spruced up, and brought her home to me. Seriously, I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t do anything but sob. The thought that this man loved me enough to know how truly important this was to me and go out of his way to replace her, made the ex-fiance I suspected took her in the first place seem almost laughable in comparison, and made me realize that I got more than just Monkey for a gift this Valentine’s Day. I gotta remember that the next time I’m good and pissed at him. 😉 So anyway, here she is. Here is my new Monkey. 

This is what my original monkey looked like, minus the 'pearl' color under the design. She is a Mcdermott, model e-i3.

See how unique the design is?

There is an 8-ball rack on one side beneath the wrap...

...and a 9-ball rack on the other.

Monkey's original case that has long since sat empty out of respect, now house's 'Monkey too'. Yaaaayyy!

Oh, I've still got the Harley one. I'm not stupid after all.

And as you can see....

it's very nice...

but it was never worthy of the monkey case, and resides in another.

So yeah, it sucked to be me sitting home all weekend, and sucks to be me even still having to sit home Valentine’s night, but then there are some things more important than going out for even me. 🙂 I got a Monkey!!! I got a Monkey!!!

“Happy Valentine’s Day!” tee…hee…

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