My grandparents had a big mimosa tree in their yard that was perfect for climbing if you were a girl about 9 years old. One summer day I wanted to climb the mimosa tree, but my aunt said I shouldn’t because her son was there, and he was too young to climb a tree. Then to clarify her point she added, “monkey see, monkey do”. This was the first time I had heard that phrase, so I begged an explanation. She told me that whatever I did my cousin would want to do. I didn’t get to climb the tree that day, but that was okay because I had a lot to think about.
If I had looked at it from another perspective I would have realized that monkey see, monkey do was a familiar dynamic in my life. But I was used to being the little monkey, always wanting to do what my big sister did. [It occurs to me that my sister needs a pseudonym. I can’t go on calling her “my big sister” forever. So, what the Hell… let’s call her Marcia] I was forever apeing Marcia, and she’d call me a copycat, I’d say no I’m not, and it went on and on and on. The concept wasn’t new to me at all, but it looked new. I was the big monkey? Amazing. I immediately began to think about how I would test my new found power.
I was an insomniac from my earliest memory, so I was always the last one to wake up. The day after the day I didn’t get to climb the mimosa tree, I woke up (last, as usual) at my aunt’s house. I went in to the kitchen for breakfast. Everyone else was finished, except for my cousin. He was still sitting at the table with a bowl full of cereal, and across from him was a place set for me, with my empty cereal bowl. Without saying a word I picked up my empty bowl and flipped it over onto my head. My aunt walked into the kitchen just in time to see her precious baby boy pick up his bowl full of cereal, and make good on her prophecy.