Sally and I were hired to act in a Michelob beer commercial. The theme of the spot was evolution. I was hired to portray a Neanderthal Man. Type-casting. Four hours I sat while a crew of highly-skilled make-up artists glued thin layers of skin-colored latex over every inch of my face, transforming me from end of second millennium American Homo Sapien into a caveman. They sculpted a gigantic forehead with a scary hairy monobrow, wee sunken eyes, a flaring nose cauliflowering across my cheeks, thick rubber caveman lips, and huge wooly mammoth-eating fake teeth. My hair was almost fur, extending from the thicket atop my head to my jaw lines, and down both cheeks.
When I looked in the mirror I didn't recognize myself.
I looked for a long time but I couldn't find myself in there anywhere. Until I looked all the way inside my simian face. There I was. I felt the strong desire to grunt and snarl and hump someone from behind.
Finally, I'm ready for my introduction to Sally the Monkey. Her trainer comes up to me, very serious, doesn't even notice that I look like a 2,000 year old Neanderthal Man-
"Don't make eye contact at first. Let her come to you. Get down on her level and don't make any quick movements. Be very calm and very still. They sense fear. A chimpanzee can jump six feet straight up in the air, and they're ten times stronger than a human being. For example, Sally's jaw is so strong she could snap your arm in two like a twig. But it's really important she doesn't feel any fear coming off you."
Suddenly all I can see is my bloody hand dangling out of her mouth.
Sally the Monkey comes out of her trailer, hand-in-hand with another trainer. I squat down to her level. Avert my eyes. I can feel Sally's monkey stare as she inches slowly towards me as only a wary monkey can. Sounds like a bass drum has been transplanted into my chest cavity. I'm so scared I have no spit. There's a small crowd gathering, all quiet tension, waiting to see what Sally the Monkey will do to David the Neanderthal. Finally she's right in my face. Since I'm not making eye contact for fear of having my Adam's apple ripped out, I smell her before I see her. She smells animal clean, wild, untamed, and of the earth. I feel myself calm with smell of her. Slowly, ever slowly, I turn towards her, raising my head like a simian Southern belle, bringing my eyes up to meet hers. Follow the Words...