Barrel of Monkeys

I spent my whole life hearing and using the term “More fun than a barrel of monkeys.” When we are young, we usually don’t question such things.

I did…to the point of nearly driving me crazy.

For a time, I lived with my grandparents. I was five, a kindergartner.  Whenever I would walk into my grandma’s kitchen and she was always busy. Baking, cooking, cleaning, or redoing the tack paper in the old metal cupboards.

“Grandma, what are you doing?” I would ask.

She would reply with her pat answer. “Playing pinochle with the boys down on Lake Street.”

That answer created a level of confusion for that young version of me beyond comprehension. After all, I was the same boy who could not find elemeno on the alphabet line in his kindergarten class. I could find A through K, and P through Z, but the letter elemeno was missing. There were a lot of letters between K and P, but none of them looked like elemeno.

Going back to my grandmother’s statement. I just walked into the kitchen, not Lake Street. I had no fucking clue as to what the game of pinochle was. But that didn’t matter! May grandmother was in the kitchen, not on Lake Street. And she was clearly not playing anything!

Maybe she said it because it left me dumbfounded and I would walk away wondering, what the hell she was talking about. Where is Lake Street? What is Pinochle? Why isn’t there an elemeno on the alphabet line at the school?

That is just one example of statements adults made that drove me crazy! I had to find the answer!

In my twenties, I would use the phrase, “More fun than a barrel of monkeys!” Without giving it much thought.

These days though, if someone asked how things were going and the old cliché would rise to the forefront of my mind, I would respond. “More fun than a barrel of monkeys.” But ad, “Whatever that means.” Because I had no idea where the expression came from. I also thought the game “Barrel of Monkeys” was lame!

As a we young lad, I was familiar with the game. “Barrel of Monkeys”. My cousin had it, and loved to play. She had all the games of the day, while I had none of them. She felt sorry for herself claiming her childhood sucked. I went through life as though all was good.

But that is for a different blog.

Because of that game, I didn’t question the idiom through most of my life…until now.

First off, that game sucked! It was stupid and boring. We may not have had video games, but the dozens of other board games and childhood entertainment was much more fun. But the fact that it existed kept my mind quiet for many years.

1 comment for “Barrel of Monkeys

  1. Christopher Stark
    August 18, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    My Father quipped rhapsodic with these mystifying idioms; “As useless a three-peckered goat”; “More fun than a barrel of dog shit”, “As useless as tits on a boar.”; “Slicker than frog’s hair”; “Slicker than snot on a door knob.”. And his most famous adage; “Time will tell, shit will smell and water tends to seek it’s own level.” Oh!…and, “Eyes right, foreskins tight and assholes to the rear.” Almost forgot that one.

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