Feb 152006
Authors: Steven Gross

Instead of hopping on the V-Day wagon and wasting your time with a romantically challenged article, I decided I would be a little more creative this week to indulge you with a heart-warming topic of a different species.

Forget about candy hearts, roses, venereal diseases and that short, plump love god with medieval weapons; they're all overrated. Don't try and cure those itchy V-Day day blues with something you can buy at Hallmark or your local pharmacy; the answer to all that ails you is much simpler: Whiplash, The Cowboy Monkey.

That's right, a cowboy monkey.

Whiplash, The Cowboy Monkey, most notably known as the "spokesmonkey" for Taco John's, has entertained rodeo fans for more than fifteen years.

This primitive sheepherder rides "specially trained" border collies as he shows off his old-Western skills. Armed with a cowboy hat, genuine duds, a custom made saddle and enough diseases to make the movie "Outbreak" look like a romantic comedy, this southern primate means monkey business.

The 18-year-old capuchin monkey has been riding since the age of two. I don't want to open up a can of PETA, but this monkey's name is Whiplash for a reason.

While his owners insist he's "part of the family," I've never heard of parents who strap their children to a canine while forcing them to dress up like Clint Eastwood. While common sense would have most individuals deduce that when Whiplash is hanging off the side of the saddle because he's in chimpan-pain, his owners insist that he is merely "mimicking an Indian Hideaway."

Potential ape-abuse aside, well-trained monkeys have entertained America for more than 100 years. From the first "organ grinder" monkey, to so-called helper monkeys, to slapping astronaut suits on the furry beasts and blasting them into space, a lasso-yielding cowboy monkey was the next most obvious step in this evolutionary process.

Whiplash is much more than a rodeo chimp, however. Whiplash and his trusty steed, Ben, have starred in more than eight Taco John's commercials. The plotline of these commercials entails Whiplash and Ben riding around town delivering Taco John's signature entrees to hungry individuals; apparently nothing says clean and delicious Mexican food quite like a monkey riding a dog.

Like most Hollywood stars (and famous Western outlaws), this successful monkey has just one simple request for everyone he works with: don't look him in the eyes – you're not good enough. His original co-star in the Taco John's commercials found this out the hard way with three quick claws to the face; now he can't make the same mistake twice.

Despite a violent side, Whiplash has been making audiences across the world ooo, aww and wash and rinse repeatedly for the last 15 years. The hype around this old-fashioned primate has gotten so big that he even has his own product line. With t-shirts, mugs, mouse pads and even authentic and flingable feces, there's a souvenir for everyone.

So forget about the usual and predictable Valentine's gifts and instead entice your loved one by taking them to see a good old-fashioned rodeo. After all, nothing says romance quite like rednecks in tight jeans, mud pies and a giddy-up'd monkey coming together at one manure-reeking stop. Whiplash The Cowboy Monkey is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Steven Gross is a senior finance and real estate major. His column runs every Thursday in Verve.

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