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Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Wooly Sheep-Monkey

Jane Goodall and the Wooly Sheep-Monkey
(Someone sent me this photo, and I do not know who took it.
I use it with apologies to its owner, its photographer, and its provider.)
One of the greatest primatologists and anthropologists of our time is Dame Jane Morris Goodall, DBE.

Back in the 1990s I did some consulting and industrial seminar work with the Cleveland Advanced Manufacturing Program (CAMP), in Cleveland, Ohio. Getting to Cleveland from Manchester, New Hampshire, in those days involved two flights on US Airways, with a change at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As I was boarding the plane in Pittsburgh for the short final hop to Cleveland, a pair of women also boarded, one of them carrying a stuffed animal that looked to me like a sheep. It had curly fur all over it, except on its face, and a somewhat extended nose.

Being a gregarious sort, I asked the woman carrying it if it were a sheep. "No," she replied, "It is a monkey."

Then, her traveling companion said, in a distinctly British accent, "Actually, it's a wooly sheep-monkey."

I took that to be an attempt at humor. I sat in my assigned seat, just one row ahead of the two ladies, and across the aisle. My seat-mate, a woman of forty-something, whispered to me, "Do you know who that is?"

"No," I replied.

"That is Jane Goodall!" she whispered excitedly.

So, I played along. I leaned out into the aisle, turned around, and said to Ms. Goodall, "My name is Duncan McDougall. Do you know why a Scotsman wears a kilt?"

Jane looked at me and asked, in an exasperated tone, "Which one is it?" (There are a great many "kilt jokes" in Great Britain.)

"Because a sheep can hear a zipper a mile away."

The entire center section of the cabin erupted in laughter.

Fortunately, Ms. Goodall was not offended. I know this because as walked through the terminal, I overheard her telling the man who had come to meet her, "Because a sheep can hear a zipper... ."

Thanks to Col. William R. Benoit, U.S. Army, Retired, who first told me that kilt joke! 

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