CINCINNATI – Concerned friends and family of Nubbins, a fifteen-year-old chimpanzee at the Cincinnati Zoo, have recently registered deep concern over his excessive consumption of bananas.
In the wake of several personal tragedies, including the accidental deflation of his favorite rubber ball and the loss of several key sleeping spots, Nubbins has reportedly sunk into a depression and begun downing the soft yellow fruits at an alarming rate.
“He took the loss of Mr. Bouncy rather hard,” stated Tony Bananas, 19, Nubbins’s exhibit-mate and closest companion. “And then when Brutus nabbed his favorite rope hammock, he just couldn’t bear up anymore. He started hitting the bananas. I’ve seen him pound as many as eight or nine in a single evening.”
“He’s going to kill himself,” added Egbert.
Most of Nubbins’s immediate family was unavailable for comment, but his eight-year-old sister, Drusilla, issued a statement yesterday.
“This is too much,” she said. “This chimp can’t keep living like this. It’s affecting his health. He’ll eat and eat and eat until he can’t stand up. His potassium levels are through the roof. And when the bananas are gone, I’m sure he’ll start in on the harder stuff, too—apples, oranges, pears. This is a full-blown addiction. Our family intends to step in.”
Nubbins, however, denies that he has a problem.
“I can stop anytime I want to,” the chimpanzee proclaimed, scratching his forearms and shaking. “Hell, some days I can get by with just a kumquat or a mango. Bananas aren’t my coping mechanism. I’m fine, I’m just fine, honestly. I just like to kick back in the evenings and have some fruit, you know?”
“Don’t even act like you don’t do it yourselves sometimes,” Nubbins added.
Competent authorities, however, beg to differ with this self-diagnosis. Veterinarian Lawrence Danville, 42, Nubbins’s personal physician, gave an astoundingly different picture of the great ape’s mental and physical health.
“He’s right down to the wire,” Danville avowed. “He’s burning himself out. Blood and fecal samples indicate that his banana, orange, apple, and mango intake is off the charts. He’s consuming a literal ‘fruit cocktail’ daily. He should really cut back and try to take in more meat and vegetables, or he’ll risk osteoporosis and gingivitis.”
“He may get a little irritable, too,” the doctor concluded.
“It’s a shame to see him tear himself apart like this,” said Lauren Baker, 24, zookeeper and Nubbins’s primary caretaker. “I’ve tried to limit the number of bananas he has access to, but then he just goes around to his friends and family and cries, begs, wheedles or steals. He can be absolutely charming. He’ll look into my eyes, and run his fingers through my hair, and coo that he’s A-OK and I’m worrying about nothing. But he can’t fool me. I can see the desperation in his eyes. This is killing him.”
When pressed for further comment, Nubbins snatched the microphone and camera and smashed them both to pieces on a nearby block of cement.
“Get these fucking things out of my face,” he shouted. “I just want a little peace and quiet, okay? Can’t an ape get a little peace and quiet around here? Jesus Christ.”
As of yesterday afternoon, Drusilla was seen escorting her eager brother into the main play area of the chimpanzee enclosure,
promising him that there was a “crap-ton” of leftover bananas to be had there.
“That’s right, that’s right,” Drusilla stated. “Come along now like a good boy. In fact, I’ve called the whole family together. We’ll have a nice little party, you know? And maybe talk a few things over.”