Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Going a Little Bit Ape

            I am a patient mother.  Okay, I do not want to start the New Year out lying, so I shall rephrase that.  I am a forced-to-be-patient mother who doesn’t freak out at the first mention of disaster because I have four children who have dished up regular servings of so much disaster that I’m actually accustomed to it.  There.  Better?
            Our second son, Brandon, took a French class in high school.  
 Normally this would not bode catastrophe, but then the teacher gave an assignment which required creativity.  Parenting Rule #17: You do not give Brandon free reign like that.
            The prompt was to make a movie in French.  So Brandon and four of his buddies wrote up a Star Wars-type takeover of the world script, rented Gorilla costumes, and ran around town shouting lines from their script and waving swords from Brandon’s sword collection. 


 St. Bob was the driver, who carted these guys around Sacramento, dropping them off here and there to film their scenes.  At one point, downtown, Brandon and two of his friends wanted to work for a few more hours, and decided to call when they were ready to be picked up.  So Bob came home and we had a nice, quiet evening. Until about 8 o’clock.
            Suddenly the phone rang and Brandon asked if Bob could come and get them.  No problem.  “Good,” Brandon said, “because there are some state troopers who want to speak with you.”
            OF COURSE THERE WERE.  Isn’t this how every homework project ends?  Brandon told him they were at the Capitol Building, waiting.   

Oh, marvelous.  Turns out these monkeys—yes, that’s the word—decided to waltz into the State Capitol Rotunda to film a sword-waving, French-shouting takeover scene.  All at once the elevator doors opened, and six state troopers burst out, yelling, “Okay, put down the swords and take off the monkey suits.”  Trust me on this; I have videotape.
            And I, as a mother, was actually feeling grateful that these teenagers did not correct the troopers and explain that gorillas are technically apes, not monkeys.   Instead, they (wisely) obeyed, took off the costumes, and turned off the camera.  (But they were still monkeys, if you ask me.)

            St. Bob arrived, was recognized as a local TV news anchor, and learned that some of the troopers had attended the same high school as our film team.  The troopers could see these boys were clean-cut, albeit foolish, young men, and let them go with a warning.
            Today the Capitol is surrounded by sturdy fencing that I like to believe is due to terrorism, or to a fellow a few years ago who plowed into the building with a giant truck.  I hope (but do not want to research this) that it is not because of some sword-wielding boys.
            And we have often wondered how that emergency call went, from some guy watching the security monitors, to the troopers themselves.  
 He had to have said something like, “There are three gorillas in the rotunda, shouting in French and waving swords,” and the troopers had to have said, “What?” a few times.  And  “Are you sure?”  and then “Are you drunk?” Alas, we’ll never know exactly how that conversation actually played out.
            As luck would have it, today Brandon is so fluent in French, that in France people think he’s French.  But it’s because he later served a two-year mission there for the LDS church.  

Something tells me the high school film assignment didn’t have much to do with it.
(Portions of this story appeared in Funeral Potatoes—The Novel)
            I can’t promise you gorillas, but you’ll read about some amazing creatures and customs in Jungle, my romance/adventure novel on Kindle here and in paperback here.  It takes place on an uncharted island in the Indian Ocean.  Check it out!


  1. Hi Joni,
    You knew me as Lisa Kline back in Cedar Rapids, and I just wanted to share that I wrote something nice about you on my website today. If you want to see it, it's here http://www.giftedguru.com/my-only-new-years-resolution/.

    1. Hey, you awesome girl! So great to hear from you after all this time. And I'm not at all surprised by the wonderful things you're doing for gifted education. Readers, check out the dynamo, Lisa Van Gemert, at http://www.giftedguru.com/my-only-new-years-resolution/