DAYTON, OHCaptain Bananas, a funny little monkey whose simian shenanigans never fail to crack up everyone he meets, was strenuously and repeatedly tested on at ViviTech Consumer Products Research Laboratory last week.
The delightful Captain Bananas, a four-year-old rhesus monkey, is a source of never-ending amusement for the people lucky enough to work with him in ViviTech's Irritability And Toxicity Testing Division.
"I just love the Captain. He's always doing something crazy to make me laugh!" effused subcutaneous/ocular-irritant trauma technician Sarah Downing. "Yesterday morning, when he saw me coming, he jumped around his cage and squealed with glee. Then he spun around and did a handstand! I was laughing so hard, I was barely able to strap him to a table, drill a hole in his skull, insert electrical probes into his cerebral cortex to monitor pain responses, sew his anus shut, cut his left eyelid off with shears, seal his tear ducts with a cauterizing iron, and inject a concentrated mixture of cadmium chlorate directly into his exposed eyeball."
"Aren't you a silly little fellow? Aren't you?" Downing said to Captain Bananas, patting him lovingly but carefully on the head to avoid dislodging the high-amperage electrodes in his cranium. "Yes, you are! Yes, you are!"
Downing said that after yesterday's experiment, designed to measure the time necessary for cadmium chloride to completely dissolve an eyeball, Captain Bananas was given "the cutest little eyepatch."
"Who's a little pirate? Who's a liddle widdle pirate?" she asked Captain Bananas as he scratched meekly at the square of cloth sewn over his now-empty socket. "You are! Yes, you are! Ahoy, Captain!"
Downing is by no means Captain Bananas' only fan at ViviTech. "I never get tired of that crazy little guy. Every time I see him, he always puts a smile on my face," said Dwayne Stebbins, a chloroxylene chemist who has enjoyed plenty of the monkey's hilarious antics during his study of the long-term effects of stove-cleaner ingestion on primates. "I remember this one time, we forced 2.7 liters of flammable lighter-fluid/paint-thinner mixture down his throatoh, the look on his face! A few hours later, he really cracked us up when he defecated the entire volume of undigested chemicals onto a lit bunsen burner. I tell you, you haven't truly seen 'monkeyshines' until you've seen liquid flame pour from Captain Bananas' anus."
Admittedly, after years of having his skin shaved off with experimental razorblades, limbs broken and rebroken to test playground equipment, and mucus membranes injected with new industrial solvents, Captain Bananas is a bit worse for wear. But ViviTech spokespersons say his remaining eye is as bright as ever.
"We've got lots of animals here in the lab, but Captain Bananas is still everyone's favoritenot just for his bottomless bag of crazy tricks, but also for his phenomenally high pain threshold," Downing said.
As beloved as he is, though, Captain Bananas will soon have to move on. "Unfortunately, even an irrepressible critter like The Captain has only so many tests in him," Downing said. "So next month, after Captain Bananas helps us determine how much tub-and-tile spray it takes to remove a monkey's skin, it's off to 'Monkey Retirement Camp' for him."
Officials at ViviTech's Monkey Retirement Camp, a motorcycle-helmet testing range, said they are "very much looking forward" to discovering Captain Bananas' unique sense of humor, as well as his skull's elastic and tensile limits, for themselves.