Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Society • Jesus and Animals Part 7: Chimps Made a Monkey Out of Writer

Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.  James Anthony Froude-Oceana ch. 5.

It has consistently been shown, during this series, that there is no such thing as “just an animal.” Animals are extraordinary beings with a wide range of personalities and emotions—I once saw a dog cry…with tears…when his master died.
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Animals can be joyful, mischievous, fearful to the point of trembling (when going to see the veterinarian as an example). They experience pain the same as we do. And they can have their own ideas about things.

Chimpanzees for some reason hate clowns which can be a problem in the circus. Especially since [often] the clowns perform right before or after the chimp act, meaning they have to pass each other in the hallways to and from the dressing rooms to the performance area, something the clowns always dreaded.

The clowns tried to make a wide swath between themselves and the chimps in those narrow hallways as the chimps screamed and yelled at them while the trainers tugged at their leashes.

It was during an engagement of the Pan American Circus at the Palacio De Los Deportes in Havana, that the age-old antagonism came to a head….actually to a bottom.

As the band played oriental music, the clowns, including your writer who was Kokomo the Clown, entered to do the snake dance routine.

Just as everyone got into the ring, the air was pierced by extra loud chimp screeches, only these were NOT in the hallway. They had broken loose and were charging through the entrance toward the clowns in the ring who all scattered, leaping over rails into the seats and up the aisles to get away.

That is with the exception of your writer who slipped on some tiger poop left in the ring, slowing down the exit strategy enough that one big chimp was able to grab the seat of my pants, ripping it completely out, leaving my bare bottom in full view, as I frantically vaulted over a rail to an aisle running to safey while the chimp stood in the ring with pieces of the bottom of my pants in both hands as he beat his chest triumphantly. The audience ROARED with laughter that could be heard outside the Sports Palace.

Safely back in the dressing room, the clowns slumped into their chairs around the dressing room table, breathing heavily, especially little George Sonny Riley who stood at 28 inches tall. That chimp to him was like a gorilla.

As we caught our breath, the head of the Sports Palace, who was the brother of President Fulgencio Batista, bounded into the dressing room excitedly, saying, “That was GREAT, the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, the audience LOVED it, keep that in.”

That was many years before I answered the call to the ministry and was able to give a response back then that would not be productive to utter today.

(To see your writer as Kokomo the Clown, check the archives on this website and click on July 2009. then click on story, Angels Unawares Everywhere.)

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