Tales from The Water Cooler: Any vacancy for an Ice Cream Tsar?

Now we know how to combat the threat of hyper-intelligent simians

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The Independent Online

Even if Charlton Heston and Mark Wahlberg hadn’t made films about it, we could have guessed that the planet of the apes was a sinister place, just by its utilitarian name. It’s easy to picture gorillas in leather waistcoats, mounted on gleaming black horses, chasing ragged humans across cornfields; easy to imagine officious orang-utans ensconced in endless committee meetings. What else do you expect to find on the planet of the apes? Conversely, the planet of the monkeys sounds like a right laugh – banana skins everywhere, tickle fights and non-stop scratching. The only downside is the poo-throwing. Well, I say “downside”…

Perhaps it’s this inherently unsettling notion of packs of intellectually sophisticated apes – as opposed to daft, fun-loving monkeys – taking over the Earth that gave me chills this week when I read how a band of chimpanzees had effected a partial escape from Twycross Zoo. It was such a relief to hear they had been cajoled back to their pens by keepers bearing ice cream and fizzy pop. Not only because armies of vengeful chimps roaming Leicestershire is no-one’s idea of heaven. But also because it seems our closest genetic cousins are just as malleable as us if ice cream and pop are in the equation. If the day ever comes when the knuckle-draggers attempt a concerted takeover, all we need do is maintain an emergency stockpile of Häagen-Dazs and Fanta. And, given the logistical challenge, if the Government needs an Ice Cream Tsar to co-ordinate things, I’d be delighted to help…