My son recently informed us that he feels increasingly uncomfortable in the body of an eight year old boy and wants us to to assist him in his transition to a howler monkey named ‘Bobo.’ As you can imagine, we want the best for our little bo-, er, monkey, but between his insistence on a steady supply of soft fruit and the 3 AM wailing sessions out his bedroom window, well – we’re having trouble adjusting.
Help us Amy!
Dear Concrned Parent,
So your son wants to be a howler monkey – you should be proud to parent one of the ever ripening first-fruits of our society-wide identity crisis!
I imagine it feels like quite the transition from parenting a prepubescent male to one of the most vocal members of new world primate. The first things you’ll want to do is surround yourself with people who will affirm the feelings you’ve already decided are the right ones. Asking advice from a random, totally neutral columnist like myself, is a great first step.
The next thing you’ll want to do is remind yourself that even the most demented aspirations of your child must always be affirmed and encouraged without qualification. Never start to imagine that your job as a parent is to actually be responsible for the training and guidance of a young mind – there is nothing so hideous as a youth who, having been taught respect for authority, grows up into a reasonably well adjusted citizen. To me the most beautiful, fruitful gardens have always been those which were allowed to grow into their own without anyone there designating which plants are weeds and which ones are intentional.
Since the greatest threat to Genus Alouatta in our day is their increasing loss of habitat, your first priority will be to purchase an industrial strength humidifier for his room and to decorate the walls with vines and leafy flotsam. Do you have any contacts in South America? See if they’d be willing to smuggle in a few new friends; while howler monkeys aren’t typically violent, extended periods of isolation have been known to bring out violent behaviors.
Oh and don’t forget to invest in a commercial-grade scouring agent for your walls, which will soon be covered in Bobo’s attempts to alert you of his displeasure. This is completely natural for any jungle primate and you’ll want to ensure every room of you house becomes a ‘safe-zone’ for him to express himself in this way.
As the weeks of hormone therapy begin to work their magic, you will likely find your son increasingly resembles not so much the life you have nurtured since infancy, but more the feral tomcat you occasionally set out a bowl of food for on Sundays. He may eventually revert to monosyllabic communication and, as you’ve already witnessed, decide to scream some of it from your roof at inconvenient hours of the day.
How can I be so confident that all of this is such good advice?
Because love, that’s why.
Everyone knows the main problem in our society is a lack of love – and what could be more unloving than not affirming a young child’s power of subjective choice! All that will be lost if you start delving into questions like: “Will me affirming a poor decision for someone I care about lead to them one day waking up lost and lonely somewhere in the Amazon rainforest.” The important thing is to allow yourself to be swept up in the euphoria of the revolution – repercussions be damned!
Best of luck to your family! Assuming Bobo can keep his distance from poachers, you can expect him to live anywhere from ten to twenty years!