The Great Escape

As I have mentioned before, I think Science is a good thing. But today, I am not writing about that at all. At least, not directly. This is more about wisdom and drive.

There are places all around the world that conduct research. Many people give research and “studies” a hard time. Myself included, when that research tells me that “Product X” is no good for me, and then a year later, it tells me that “Product X” is the magical cure for any bad thing in my life. Then the next year, it is bad again. So yes, research and results can be a bit tricky. Nonetheless, there are facilities and labs worldwide dedicated to the advancement of something or another.

One of those places is in Texas. Specifically, the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. To use their own words: They aim to unravel the mysteries of chronic and infectious diseases through innovative thinking, creative problem solving and cutting-edge technologies.

Infectious Diseases.

Now, I bet that is quite a place to work. When you head out the door in the morning, and your wife says, “Be careful today honey,” she freaking MEANS it. So yes, working there could be perilous. But imagine if you are an animal, and you work there. I am probably guessing, your long-term personal outcome will not be a happy one.

I only know of this place because they were in the news a few days ago. More with a slightly funny video, than actual news. The video shows a band of baboons making the great escape. Yes indeed.

An “animal perimeter breach” is how the Texas Biomedical Research Institute described the events of Monday in a statement.  They have more than 2500 animals at their facility, and 1100 of them are baboons. But. But. Four of them, decided to pull the old Alcatraz. The big jail break.

It was actually quite cunning and very daring. Here is mostly how it went. The baboons are housed in an open-air corral. And, they are surrounded by some big walls that go folded-inward. The pens are carefully designed to avert any attempts of escape. Obviously. I mean, can you imagine housing 1100 baboons.

I’ve been to large gatherings where that was true, but those people could come and go as they pleased. Anyway.

Those smarty baboon keepers thought it would be good to give the baboons some enrichment tools. You know, things to make them happy before they get stuck with a syringe filled with some infectious disease. So the keepers rolled in some 55-gallon barrels as “enrichment” tools” which were supposed to somehow mimic foraging behaviors.

I don’t think the baboons saw the foraging connection. Frankly, neither did I. No instead, those baboons were the smarty ones with mad skills. And the ability to use tools. They turned those barrels into some tools, and rolled them over near the fence. Then. THEN, they stood them upright. They judged the height considerations, and figured if the climbed on top of them, they’d be able to make the great escape. And that’s what they did. They went up and over the wall.

Well. The people outside noticed. Civilians were driving down the road, and saw four baboons, single file, running like hell. The reports came pouring in. The Institute sent out a capture team, and unfortunately, they corralled the animals and took them back. They took away the barrels too. Just when the monkeys were having so much fun with those barrels.

If I had been driving down that road, I would have pulled my Beemer over and said, “Hop in fellas. Let’s get to the border before another wall gets built.”

We would have stopped for a great big mess of bananas. Yeah. Me. And the Baboons. That’s how it would have been. I’ve been preparing for that moment since I was a kid. I can’t tell you how many times I played “Barrel O’ Monkeys” and “Chutes and Ladders.”

As is often the case with me. Wrong place. Wrong time. Me and The Baboons. Or conversely. Maybe it all unfolded exactly as it was meant to be.


“The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
― Bertrand Russell


“To generalize is to be an idiot.”
― William Blake


“But I think that no matter how smart, people usually see what they’re already looking for, that’s all.”
― Veronica Roth, Allegiant