The Story of the Red Monkey
May 16, 2005

I love antique stores and junk stores. I have this thing for toys, particularly old toys. I'm fascinated by everything from the packaging and advertising to the toys themselves. The problem is a lot of those so-called antique stores - at least the ones that also sell old toys - are really antique store and collectibles store combos. So I'll see a booth full of Nascar stuff next to one with clothes from the 20s and 30s. Not a big deal, really, it's usually all interesting stuff - if it wasn't for the crazy prices some of the collectibles folks tend to charge.

Anyhow, this is about 1999 or 2000 and I'm walking through a pretty cool antique store when I round the corner to the biggest flippin' display of Ty Beanie Babies I've ever seen. And despite their frenzied, must-have popularity, some of these little guys are really cute and clever. I already had a handful of the things, ones I thought were really cool or cute. I have the otter, the Ireland bear and a few others. (Why haven't they made a dolphin yet??) I also have the first monkey they made, cuz I've always really liked monkeys.

So, in this display case they have this really cool new Beanie Baby I haven't seen yet, a little red monkey with a cute tan face and a little fluff of hair on top of his head. I have to have him. DId I mention that some of these collectible places think they can charge 4-5 times the retail prices on a toy that's just come out? Not a toy that's been out and then discontinued, excuse me, "retired." A toy that is currently being mass produced but just barely started hitting the shelves - those toys are worth the retail price. Not "scalper" prices.

So this scalper booth wants $20 or $25 for a $5 stuffed animal. I stomped past, growling and grousing about opportunistic scalpers and this kind of artificial supply and demand being among the worst of human impulses. I do not "have to have" something like a little stuffed animal so badly that I will pay 5x its actual worth. I would pay $1 or $2 more to have it now - I can be that shallow and that careless about my spending money from time to time. But this, this is not capitalism - it's stupidity. Stupidity on the part of the seller and on the part of anyone who gives in and buys the overpriced goods.

Yeah, my friends are tired of that rant, too.

So, later that night, my friends and I are sitting in the living room watching a movie. It's a pseudo-SF movie called Strange Days. It's an awesome movie set just a touch in the future when people don't just watch reality tv, they experience it through virtual programs on the computer.

Well, I'd seen the movie before and it was fast becoming one of my favorites, but I was a little restless and bored that night. So everyone's really really into the movie, the tension's building and I'm kinda looking around the room. I see my little beanie-baby monkey on the bookshelf.

"I really want that red monkey," I say aloud.

The whole room turns to stare at me in shock. "What?"

The movie had to be paused and rewound a bit. Evidently it was a really intense point in the flick.

"What?" I ask, all wounded innocence and surprised at their reaction.

"Where did that come from?" they reply.

"I was just looking around the room and saw my little monkey and that reminded me of the beanie baby we saw in that store today - " there's much eye-rolling at this pronouncement "-and I just realized that I really want that little monkey."

"We're in this intense part of the movie and you're talking about a stuffed monkey?"

Somehow, my explanation did not help my case at all. "I've seen the movie before" I point out helpfully.

"I repeat, we're in this tense and intense part of the movie and you are thinking about a toy monkey?" The room is staring at me now. Finally someone grabs the remote and flips the movie back to play, muttering, "You are so ADD."

You've maybe seen the t-shirt that says "They say I have ADD, but I don't think ...Hey look! A chicken!" Well, my chicken is a red monkey.

Interestingly enough, a year or so later I was diagnosed as ADHD.

Now, I have a McD's teenie beanie version atop my monitor at work and the regular-sized one in the home office.

So, that's the story of the red monkey.

And now you know lots of important tidbits about me.

  1. I collect toys
  2. I rant about scalpers and other stupid people
  3. I like SF and computer-type movies
  4. I like comic books
  5. I have ADHD
  6. I like monkeys, evidently particularly red ones

Important tidbits that got left out:

  1. Apple computers rock
  2. WWdN rules
  3. I'm from Texas
  4. Notre Dame sucks
  5. I'm utterly fascinated with the southwestern tribes and the concepts of hozho and koyaanisqatsi
  6. Hodgkin's disease is Cancer Lite

So now you know.

Posted by Red Monkey at May 16, 2005 8:36 PM | People Say I Have ADHD, But I Think - Hey Look, A Chicken | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


naiah said:

Still clicking around; I am really enjoying your site(s)...

June 21, 2005 8:28 PM


dre said:

interesting story

January 13, 2006 10:02 AM


Cat said:

Nice blog and I enjoyed reading that story. I really did want to know why you named your site Red Monkey so it ws nice to find the origins link.

I'll be back, as always... :)

January 16, 2006 12:06 PM


Matt of Borg said:

Have you been reading my diary? I only ask because in 2000/2001 I was in a second hand/junk shop in Australia and found one of the monkeys you are talking about. He was 20 cents Australian, (I guess about 17-18 cents US). I had to have him and he became my personal mascot, when asked by a friend what his name was I replied "that's umm...Red Monkey.." it seemed to suit and from that day I began collecting these monkeys where I found them. McDonalds restaurants in Australia gave them away as part of happy meals for a while there which is how so many of the teeny ones came to be in the junk shops. My collection is now nudging 40 of the little guys and has no sign of stopping any day soon. I have a shrine to Red Monkey on my website, though it is long overdue for an update.
As a 35 year old, professional, straight, sane and rational Australian man, my friends often wonder why I have taken to these plump little monkeys with the enthusiasm I have. I can't explain it to them and still do justice to just how much I love them. Finding your site goes part way to validating me that there are other people who have been bitten by the monkey bug. Drop me a line through the email link on my site if you wish to compare notes.
Until then, keep up the good work.

April 7, 2006 8:53 AM


Ann Wendell said:

Hey Robin,

Found your site while on a mission you will identify with - to find a copy of Bagthorpes Battered. I became an unrepentant Bagthorpe addict when I found the series while wandering through the children's lit stacks while I was getting my MLS. (hmmm...maybe I should pay them a visit and see what the fine would be if I never gave it back...that's if they have it of course). I just can't see paying $188 for a copy which is the cheapest I've found on the net. I do have a copy of The Bagthorpe Triangle that I just found at a local bookstore (I always check...). Just found out about the BBC program...which of course doesn't seem to be out on DVD. Which reminds me...have you read Gerrald Durrell's series about his family - My Family and Other Animals, et al? Kinda a real life Bagthorpe family ;-). You might also enjoy Hilary McKay's The Exiles series - very funny.

Bagthorpes United!


September 28, 2006 3:33 PM


anthony said:

no english

soy fanatico a sus ropas pero no tengo ni una

October 7, 2006 9:19 AM
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