Four little monkeys jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said:
“No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”
This rhyme refrains with one less monkey jumpin’ on the bed each round, until there are no more monkeys to sing about.
You may be thinking this is a story about a mama monkey and her four monkey babies in a fantasy world where monkey people talk and live in houses with beds like human folk.
But is that really what’s going on?
Mama is never referred to as a monkey. Nor is the doctor.
Mama and the doctor are able to speak and use telephones – their behavior is very human. But the little monkeys? They jump up and down with no apparent signs of intelligence, or even enjoyment, as one after another falls off of the bed and becomes incapacitated. Though mama is evidently concerned enough for each little monkey’s head injury to seek medical consultation, the simians exhibit neither empathy nor concern for their fallen siblings. They are as insensible to the pain of others as they are to the personal risks they take – they seem unable to stop or even to consider stopping. What we have here is no childlike pleasure at the prospect of a moment’s disobedience – this is a thrashing, violent hopping frenzy of such intensity that, by song’s end, every little monkey is put out of commission. The human woman we sing of is inexplicably in possession of a brood of creatures who have, to judge by their behavior, too little intelligence and too much raw energy to be fully human or monkey.
And yet, she is called Mama.
This brings us to the Doctor. Mama seems to have access to a private line – she calls the doc, not the hospital or the doctor’s office, and he or she answers directly. She speaks to the same person each time she calls – The Doctor, not A Doctor. So, it seems Mama has quite a close connection with this physician. All the more astounding, then, is the doctor’s relentless reply – “No more monkeys jumpin’ on the bed.”
It may not be fair to surmise from the missing ‘g’ on the end of the word ‘jumping’ that the Doctor acquired his or her credentials at an academic institution of lax standards. We can certainly argue, however, that the Doctor’s advice lacks all the hallmarks of a traditional medical exam – there is no talk of size, color, or shape of any bumps or lacerations sustained. There is no question of breathing or heart-rate, no concern that the monkeys are able to answer simple questions or are even conscious. There is no attempt to schedule a follow-up examination. The Doctor, in short, seems not at all intent on helping these little monkeys.
This, despite the over-involvement indicated by Mama’s having a private line and her compulsive tendency to call after each little monkey’s fall, regardless of the helpfulness of her doc’s advice. We can only logically conclude that this unorthodox, overly-involved medical expert made use of Mama’s generous womb to incubate his mad human-monkey hybrid until such a time as they might be medically able to meet the world.
But they were not ready.
Mama’s grotesque gestation might, indeed, have won the Doc a place in the halls of history – had her spawn, as intended, developed with the minds of men and the athletic prowess of apes, and the next stage of human evolution been bolstered by its last. As we have seen, however – this is not what happened. The little monkeys burst from the uterus in a bestial hopping rage beyond anyone’s control. As is often the case with genetic mutations, their skulls likely were too thin to sustain the impact of a fall from their maternal bed – they succumbed, one after the next, to certain doom, until the insistent mantra of their shamed creator came, at last, to chilling fruition – “No more monkeys jumpin’ on the bed.”