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  • Paul Davidson

Had I Been Charleton Heston on the </i>Planet of the Apes</i>, I Would Have Done A Better Job Than H

“Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!”

Poor Charleton Heston had it all wrong from the beginning. Because you know and I know, if you land on a planet where there are talking apes who ride horses and use ropes and whips and rifles to corral you into a horse-drawn jailcell and then throw you into a cage, they’re probably just as smart as you, and they’ll understand exactly what you’re saying, which basically in no uncertain terms means that saying such a thing was probably not a great idea.

I often sit around and wonder how I would have handled a situation such as that. First of all, I wonder about actually getting into NASA. I normally get car-sickness and nauseous feelings when I’m the passenger in a car and so right off the bat I wonder if that would cause me to be nauseous riding a rocket into space. Now, some people have said that the best way to troubleshoot this is to ride the newest Disney world attraction that simulates taking a rocket into space, but I’m not a big fan of rides like that (they scare me) so I really wouldn’t be able to test it out until I got into the NASA spaceship. So, obviously, there are some questions there — some impasses keeping me initially from getting up into space, but more often than not I like to gloss over that fact and imagine that I’ve already gotten into space.

So, here we are. In space. Ooooooooooh. Pretty.

If I was taking the place of Charleton Heston I would definitely be stoked because I would obviously be the ring-leader of that whole spacepod and although I’ve never been the commander of a spacepod especially since I’m afraid of any rides that simulate space travel, I would have so totally passed over all those “requirements” that my fellow spacepod riders would have had to go through. There might be some jealousy, but when we landed down on that stinkin’ planet with all those damn dirty apes, they’d be glad I was the one in charge. They’d be glad I was the one biting my tongue.

“I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t grab me so roughly, dear sir.”

That’s what I would say to the apes that had captured me. I would treat them with respect. I would let them know that I wasn’t out here to cause problems or trouble. I would let them embrace the fact that I was a talking human being. An ape-circus sideshow act. I would let them use me for entertainment and science experiments until the timing was right. They would trust me. They would like me, as a person. They would wonder why I was so content with my life as controlled by the apes.

And then I’d let them have it!

That has always been the problem with Charleton Heston’s character in The Planet of the Apes. You don’t go balls out, brutha. You play it subtle. You sit and wait for your moment. You treat your enemies as if they’re your friends. Had I been in his place, my altered actions would have resulted in less bloodshed and probably, I’d never have to escape and come face to face with the Statue of Liberty on the shore of the ocean. It would save me a ton of psychological issues and I probably would have lived the rest of my existence on “this strange planet far away from Earth” with my little mute cavewoman wife and my half-mute cavekids.

Periodically, my ape-friends who I didn’t call “dirty stinkin’ apes” would come around to see how the little cavekids were doing and was I still as nice of a really-intelligent speaking human being as they remembered when I first referred to them as “sir”. I would tell them, “But of course, dear sir, I am still so fond of you hairy creatures.” Sure, it would be a subtle jab at their appearance, but they’d know no different and go off satisfied that the nice human from outer space was quietly living an innocent existence between the valley and the prairie. It wouldn’t have spawned a sequel, for sure. But I would have been happy.

And really, isn’t that what it’s all about?

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