Sunday, June 2, 2013

Another victim of the monkey trap

I saw a documentary about monkeys, when I was a kid. I can't remember anything about that show except the scene where they had to catch them. Don't remember why. Just that they were catching monkeys. 
The technique was amazing. They had glass jars, like jelly jars, that they tied to a tree. All it took was a few sugar cubes in the jar and a few on the ground, to draw a few monkeys in. They ate the cubes off the ground quick, then began frantically digging around for more. Eventually, one found the jar. He shoved his hand inside the jar and grabbed all the sugar cubes. All the monkey hunters had to do, was walk up and slip a collar and leash on him. He couldn't get away. No fight, no guns, no blood, no mess. The monkey never got hurt, just captured. How did the trap work? 
He trapped himself. His empty hand slipped into that jar easily. Once he made a fist around the sugar, it wouldn't come out. The jar was on a rope hanging from the tree, he couldn't pull it off. So, can't break the rope, can't get his hand out. Can you imagine what he felt watching those men come out of the bushes, walk up and put a collar and leash on him? He must have been in full panic. Overwhelming fear as the others ran off and escaped, leaving him alone. Taken away to somewhere he didn't choose to go by people he didn't want to be with. Poor monkey. 
I think they were tagging them to track the monkeys in that area. Don't remember. Ether way, the monkey wasn't hurt, just completely freaked out and later released. Just thought the hyper sensitive readers might need that reassurance. 
It seems to be complete defiance of everything logical and rational, that the monkey wouldn't let go of that sugar. Of course, you would know better if the monkey hunters go you, right? You come across this magical, unexplainable treat. It captures your attention, you have to have it. You enjoy your special treat and want more. There it is! Got it! Uh oh. Now you're stuck. The treat you were having is now having you. And look, here come some people to admire your situation and make it worse. Now your magical treat has taken you into a new place where you have no control at all. Your world has become a very different and traumatic place. Because you refused to give up that stupid sugar cube. That monkey got lucky. He was examined, tagged and released. If those were poachers, it would have been different. He would have become a pet or fur coat or dinner. Lucky monkey. 
I am telling this story from the perspective of a lucky monkey. I had my hand in that sugar jar a few times. Got into things I shouldn't have. Took the magical treat and held on too long. Even the bible says that sin is fun for a season. And it was. But, there's always a payday. It's not always an affair. We get trapped by a lot of different things. That position of influence, maybe. The treat is admiration and recognition. The trap is a life wasted on people who don't matter, and lost on people who do. That special hobby or toy in your life can do the same thing. Addictions are like that. Nobody was ever attacked in their house by a roving gang of lit cigarettes. What choice would they have? It all starts the same way. Find something new, enjoy it, want it, crave it, need it, can't live without it. We have minute by minute decisions to make. We can stay in the trap or let go. 
Most of us have gotten into the monkey trap in one way or another. 
That flirting and attention felt so good, but it led to....
That exhilarating rush of getting away with it once, led to...
The release of letting it all out and yelling at the kids led to...
The smoking sure tasted and felt good, but led to...
You get the idea. I hope. 
I have spent a great deal of my life in the monkey trap, still caught in a few areas. I had my first cigarette around 11 or 12 years old. Some older kids found some, I found some, just experimenting at first, habit later. By the time I was 20 it was about a pack and a half a day. After realizing that my little girl was coughing because of me, and that 90% of impotent men are also smokers, I just quit. Done. Gave away eight and a half packs right then. Quit. For 19 years. Once I realized I was headed for divorce and may lose my family, bought a pack and went right back to it. My choice. As of today, I haven't smoked for a month. Time will tell if I am smart enough to stay out of the trap for good. Like I said. This isn't about me telling you to be as perfect as me. This is me sharing my journey. Becoming a better man. Becoming. Not there yet. 
Other traps have been businesses, church work, random projects, stupid toys, etc. Things that started off as good or harmless or even potentially very positive. But, they became things that caused problems, or stole time from my family, or just stroked my ego or whatever. They put me in a place of frustration and aggravation. They caused pointless stress. They hurt my family. They became monkey traps. It was my choice to stay. I could let go and move on at any time. 
Guys. Examine your life. What are you trapped by? Smoking? Affairs? Attitudes? The condition of your body? What is it? If it's not making life better for you AND your family, maybe you need to let it go before the monkey hunters get you. Before they start taking things away. Or taking you away. Take the advice of another dumb monkey. Seriously. 

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