When I was a boy, I used to go to a local Zoo. It was great fun, you could actually interact with some of the animals there. You could buy a coke and feed it to a thirsty bear, you could take a pony ride, you could get spit on by a Llama. One hot summer day, I bought an ice cream and wandered over to a monkey cage to enjoy the silly antics of our less evolved relatives. I was standing there next to the cage licking my ice cream when I locked eyes with a monkey at the back of the cage. About eight feet back, there sat a monkey ever so still, unusually still as his friends were all jumping around. I guessed he was eyeing my ice cream, and watching me delight in eating it. I decided to tease him, being the little brat that I was!
I decided to show him what it's like to be human, outside of a cage, with delicious food at my fingertips. I began licking my lips making yum yum noises, really turning on the tease. I could see he was totally stirred up, unable to blink it seemed, as I tried my hardest to remind him who's boss with the cream. I had just really started to eat the top off of the cone when I heard a sudden noise. I quickly turned instinctively, to my left, but I didn't see a thing. My eyes returned and searched for the monkey at the back of the cage, but he was gone.
My vision darted around and I looked back at the perch the monkey was sitting on. There he was, climbing up to his perch. As he turned to sit, I noticed he had an ice cream cone in his hand, and I honestly wondered where he got that from. I thought for a millisecond that "it couldn't be mine", and I quickly dropped my eyes to verify that I was right. I focused on my half open fist holding an invisible ice cream cone. He was eating my freakin' ice cream!!! We locked eyes again, with a certain primate understanding, this time the monkey was doing the same lick tease I had done to him. Deliberatly licking up the ice cream with a look that said, "Thanks sucker!".
I had just been intellectually humiliated by a monkey. He knew it, I knew it. He knew there was no way I was going into a cage full of monkeys to get it back. I looked down on a monkey, and now a monkey was looking down on me. I stood there in anger, realizing I could not afford another ice cream, as he gleefully finished my barely eaten treat.
So I'm thinking this monkey waited until I blinked, climbed towards me and reached through the cage raising the cone from my hands before I knew anything. It was only years later that I wondered if the monkey's friends were in on this. "There comes another dumb human with more ice cream, you make a noise and I'll go for the cone.", I imagined the monkey saying. I bet that monkey ate ice cream all day. Easy target, unevolved human. If a monkey could outsmart me, humiliate me, then surely any human could too, I thought.
It did seem like poetic justice. If you look down on someone, you won't see your own image in their eyes; you won't see how you look to them. When you look down on someone, you are inviting humiliation, you are dangling your idiot string in front of them asking them to pull it. It feels good to pull someone's idiot string after they have tried to humiliate you, and being looked down on is humiliating. On that hot summer day, that monkey made a human out of me.