Armstrong State University
Bearings: News and Perspectives for Academic Affairs

Bearings: News & Perspectives for Academic Affairs

Can I Major in Madcap?

Feb 3, 2013, 10:34 pm - Carey Adams

In case you missed it, last Thursday was National Gorilla Suit Day.  Other than Halloween, NGSD is the only day a grown man has anything approaching a legitimate excuse for putting on an ape costume and initiating random interactions with unsuspecting colleagues and students.  So, yes, of course, I seized the opportunity.

Why?  Because it's fun.  And we all need to have more fun, especially at work.  For you, "fun" may mean something different than wearing a gorilla suit.  (If it IS a secret dream of yours, however, let me know and we can talk about executing a gorilla flash mob next year.)  And because it's unexpected.  We also need to celebrate those occasions that shake us out of our normal routines.  I want to say thank you to all of the people who were such good sports and joined in the fun last week.  I hope you had half as much fun as I did.

Here are a few personal obvservations from my 90 minutes in "the suit."  Call it an ethnography of the madcap.

  • A surprising number of people appear to not react at all to seeing someone walk past them in a gorilla suit.
  • Some people are reluctant to accept free bananas from a strange gorilla.
  • It may not be as widespread as fear of clowns (Coulrophobia), but some people definitely don’t want anything to do with gorilla suits, either.
  • When I pose for pictures wearing my gorilla suit, I irrationally smile for the camera and worry that my eyes will be closed.
  • People will tolerate aggravating behavior from someone in a gorilla suit that would otherwise prompt a call to campus security.
  • Some people like surprises; others don’t.
  • In a world of emoticons and “like” buttons, many people have lost the ability to accurately interpret pantomime.
  • People are even more grossed out by ape feet than they are by people feet.
  • In general, people are more likely to wait for a gorilla to approach them than they are to initiate contact themselves.
  • More people than one might expect wish they had their own gorilla costume.

For more thoughts on National Gorilla Suit Day, see my Youtube video.

Have a great week!