Princess Pricklepants, Magnificent Mender of Monkey Manners


Dear reader, hopefully you were led here from this post’s immediate antecedent. Due to technical reasons far too risky to explain, we shall now only refer to that previous post as The Post That Must Not Be Named.  Still, there’s happy news – those previous complications, digressions, and Dark Arts can now be left behind (provided they are never discussed, explained, or named).

And so we begin with our first picture with words under it.

DSC_0935Princess Pricklepants was profoundly pleased.  After a complicated series of events and delays (which must not be discussed, explained, or named), she was finally able to fulfill her supreme destiny in teaching a monkey all the things a monkey should know – politeness, manners, and grace at a tea party (well, there was also dancing, singing, and proper diction, but those were a digression, and at this point Her Highness had become very suspicious of digressions). The tea was set out, there were some nice snacks, and she had her artful friend Artemisia as a model manners  assistant. There was even a fancy chair for the monkey. Things were going swimmingly.

Now all she had to do was teach the monkey.  She’d been so busy with email and avoiding meetings that she’d overlooked making a lesson plan. She decided to wing it as delightfully as possible.

“Now Monkey, um, let’s see.  To be polite, one should use the term ‘one’ instead of ‘you’, smile nicely (as I and Artemisia always do), and also… Hmm…”  She thought about having Monkey walk with a book balanced on the head to teach grace and poise, but that really didn’t seem like the right thing to do around cups of tea.  Enunciation lessons would be frustrating since Monkey didn’t speak English like a normal hedgehog, bear, or cow. At a loss, she decided to google something polite to do at tea parties.

DSC_0928Puzzlingly, when she looked up ‘Tea Party’ on google, the results were utterly bizarre and distressingly impolite.  Google was clearly confused, it seemed to be looking into some strange and rather grumpy alternate reality she was pleased to be no part of.

With no help from the internet, she bravely forged ahead. She began a lesson showing Monkey how to make a plate of treats with impeccable manners. Surely this would be a simple and foolproof lesson.

DSC_0947

She illustrated daintily placing a treat on a plate with grace and poise. Next came Monkey’s turn.

DSC_0948Unfortunately there was a mishap. But in every mishap, there’s an opportunity to be polite and helpful. “Oh dear, Monkey, are you okay? Let me help you back up.” She politely helped Monkey back to the seat. Monkey got back on the seat but at this point, things took a turn towards the complicated, as reality cruelly conspired against etiquette lessons.

DSC_0964Monkey sat upon the chair, but in a sense that was not so much “upon” as “upon, but in the entirely wrong way.” Monkey sat in a manner sadly lacking in refinement and sophistication. Princess politely looked away to give Monkey the chance to correct the posture problems.

In retrospect, looking aside was a poor choice. While looking anywhere but at the monkey, she noticed the wonderful beckoning dark space under the table. The beautiful, hypnotic, irresistible dark space. The allure was strong, so she decided to gracefully climb under the table.

DSC_0970She felt wonderfully sublime exploring this mysterious and fascinating new space, but the monkey posture problem remained. She had to think of a solution. She thought, and realized the solution. It was incredibly simple and elegant. “Monkey, perhaps you’d like to look under the table? It’s so lovely to crawl around there, and it’s so polite and refined,” she helpfully suggested.

DSC_0977It a was a perfect solution. The posture problems were in the past. There was a slight down side, though. The monkey’s trip under the table left Artemisia inexplicably distressed. Princess Pricklepants felt great concern. She tried to comfort her artful model friend.

DSC_0991Some aspects of this may have comforted her friend (though the quill stabbing aspect was much too uncomfortable to be very comforting), but it had an unfortunate complicating effect. Monkey noticed that comforting Artemisia looked incredibly fun and decided to try it too.

DSC_0983 (7)

Unfortunately, despite the monkey’s best efforts at being comforting, the end result was somehow not comforting at all, but distressing.

At this point Artemisia needed additional comforting due to these attempts at comforting. Princess politely jumped in great enthusiasm to offer aid and comfort. The outcome was truly memorable, which is the hallmark of a good party, so it worked out really well.

DSC_0995

There was one tiny issue. She may have jumped in a little too enthusiastically, since bits of party ended up strewn across the floor. Still, there was a happy side, since some cookies had fallen to the floor. With the floor cookies she could both practice and illustrate her manners at not eating off the ground (challenge level: extreme), and there was added bonus – she could say “excuse me” for the minor faux pas.

While the incident had many wonderfully polite and delightful aspects for Her Highness, there was one very, very unfortunate side effect. In clambering across the table, she spotted something with an allure even greater than the magnificent sub-table space. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted the wonderful, enticing, tantalizing Gap Under The Sofa (so delightful it had to be capitalized). An irresistible space with an allure so tempting that there was only one possible polite pursuit.

DSC_0997

Clambering under the couch was so fantastically, irresistibly polite that Monkey, as a new student of politeness, joined in happily. This pleased Her Highness to no end. These manners lessons were going so well!

DSC_1000

With Her Highness sniffing under the sofa in the most refined and delightful way she could manage, and with Monkey following suit, her heart swelled. Her charge in charm training was clearly getting the knack of politeness, grace, and delightful things! Monkey Manners Mission Accomplished!

And with that happy ending, she was as delighted as could be. Clearly Monkey had seen that manners are fun and would now behave like a proper monkey. With a bit of work at balancing books on heads, a bit of refinement of diction, and perhaps some ballroom dancing lessons, things would be peachy. Now she just had to get those chickens in shape.

Coming soon in our next episode:  Will the monkey manners be maintained?  Will the chickens learn civility? What happened to the skunk?  Will the story shift in some other unrelated direction pretending none of this ever happened?  Will the author lighten up on the adjective extravagance? Will the crocodiles (or is it alligators?) return? These and other questions may or may not be answered in Princess Pricklepants and the Chicken Charm School (working title – subject to change).

 

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Princess Pricklepants and the Mystery of Monkey Manners


(previously)

Dear reader,

Please be advised that the following story contains graphic self-referentiality. Younger readers and those sensitive to chronic self-reference exposure might experience dizziness, confusion, and mild irritation when reading this post. Precautionary meta-measures should be taken, though were we to mention them, this in itself could trigger acute self-referentialititis in those afflicted.

Since this is a longer post somewhat past the bounds of prudence and justice in hedgehog-blog related literature, we’ll keep this preamble brief except for this one item of note: Someone came to this blog from a search for “how can make the models of cow & duck from waste materials.” We feel like someone who suddenly found a mysterious doorway in their home that they’d never noticed before. This opens new dimensions.

And now, our first picture with words under it.

PP and Boris“Good morning, Boris.”

“Good morning, Your Highness. I notice that we’re in a standard two character intro.  Lovely!  Things are looking nicely normal for the literary form. I assume we’ll be briefly describing an important detail of the plot’s conflict to the audience mixed with a bit of light banter to set the mood?”

“Not sure what you mean about standard intros, but I was just having some tea and sitting here working out my plan for Monkey.”

“Ah, yes, Monkey. Have you read my latest blog post on Monkey?”

“You have a blog?”

“How could you not know this?  I email links to it every time I post something… It’s a handy way for me to explain my displeasure at certain cows and other figures in a delightfully indirect way. I just skip sending links to the annoying… Uh… So, yes, eh, I have a boring blog.  You shouldn’t read it. Very dull.”

“Ah.”

“So, the monkey business?”

“Yes, I have a perfectly pleasant plan to promote politeness and philanthropy in our primate pal.”

“Interestingly, I wrote on my blog about alliteration recently…  Anyway, you’re going to send Monkey to a zoo?”

“No. I’ve realized the error of my ways. The key is the tea. That’s what I always say now. So we’ll have a lovely and tasteful tea party. Monkey will be pleased, delighted, and educated.”

“Do those three words usually go together?”

“Yes. Now you too are pleased, delighted, and educated.”

“You know, I suddenly have a new blog post to work on. Good day.”

PP and Jane

Jane entered in a way no adjectives could properly describe, so no description was offered. “So, the meeting. You ready? I’ve got a few new items. I found an amazing way to make models of ducks and cows from scrap paper! Oh, also it turns out the bear has a blog where he talks about us and how we’ve annoyed him. One of the chickens forwarded me a link.”

“Oh, maybe we could not have the meeting today? I have plans. Tea party plans with the monkey. It will be luminous.”

“So you’re really skipping an important meeting where you can contribute valuable time and resources to go have a tea party with a monkey?”

“It’s to teach Monkey manners.”

“I thought we were going to get that monkey a job. We’ll be going over this in the meeting we all really should be attending.”

“Would you mind holding on just a moment? I need to send a quick email.”

Checking Email

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: A Missive on Manners in Meetings

I have some incredibly important business to attend to teaching a monkey proper primate etiquette, but to do so would require skipping a meeting. Is it polite to skip meetings if it’s for the purpose of furthering a great and noble cause?
-PP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: A Missive on Manners in Meetings

Dear Somewhat Impolite Nickname,
Pursuing the promotion of proper politeness is a perennially perfect and proper plan. Perhaps you could try telling the meeting organizer you’re busy and see if they can reschedule.
-Princess Pricklepants

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: A Missive on Manners in Meetings

What if they don’t agree?
-PP

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: A Missive on Manners in Meetings

Dear Still Inexplicably Using That Somewhat Impolite Nickname,
Mention that they skipped the meeting yesterday. Note that there’s clearly some flexibility in scheduling.
-Princess Pricklepants

To: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
From: theprincess@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: A Missive on Manners in Meetings

Oh, that’s a great idea. But how did you know about the rescheduling? Oh, wait, you must read my blog…
-Princess Pricklepants

“Say, Jane, could we reschedule the meeting?”

“I really want to have a word with everyone about that bear and his blog.  He said I was a passive-aggresive control-freak!  You should hear what he said about alliteration!”

“Couldn’t you just talk to him?”

“That’s a kooky idea. We’ll talk about it in the meeting.”

“Remember how you rescheduled the meeting yesterday?”

“Yes, it’s been so long since we’ve had a meeting. I really miss our meetings.”

“Perhaps you could write a note about impolite blogging for the bear and leave it on the refrigerator? Then we could discuss leaving notes in the meeting tomorrow.”

“Fine. I’ll leave a note for the bear. I guess. But someone else might be seeing her own note about meeting rescheduling… And in the next meeting we’ll be discussing the importance of attendance.”

Dear reader,

An astute reader might have noticed that we’re already remarkably far into this story with a withering sea of dialog, but no tea parties, few photos, and barely any story per se. Yet adorable photos of hedgehogs participating in tea parties with monkeys are really the main purpose of this blog post. “Why?” You are probably asking, “Why no hedgehog monkey tea parties? Why all this dialog and email business? Why this rambling authorial intrusion?” The answer is perplexing to us all, I’m afraid, even to the narrator. Sorry. We’ve really been trying to make things go that way, but instead here we are not presenting you with hedgehog-monkey-tea, and are even talking about not doing that very thing, adding to the sense that this digression is as distressing as it is inexplicable, like a metaphor without a comparison. Apologies. We really ought to do something about that.

-Author

To: sirsandwich@princesspricklepants.com 
From: excelsior@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: A Dramatic Failure

Dear Author,
I know you don’t read my blog. I check. You really should. You’re a terrible writer tormenting me with an endless litany of literary failures, non-existent dramatic structure, meandering prose, and peculiar diction. I have so much advice for you. Please subscribe to my blog. Regarding your current meandering malaise of muddled mystification, hideous whimsy, mutilated story progression, and crimes against literature I also have some advice. Instead of reading your email you might want to just write the story. Or at least plug some pictures in with our charming bear protagonist offering helpful advice and commentary to his hapless animal friends.
-Boris Maximus
“Excelsior!”

To: excelsior@princesspricklepants.com 
From: sirsandwich@princesspricklepants.com 
Subject: Re: A Dramatic Failure

Dear Bear,
Thanks so much for contacting us with your criticism. Negative feedback can be a valuable part of the development of a creative work, but sadly, we are busy writing a lovely story about a hedgehog having a tea party with a monkey and currently cannot accept your criticism. We also regret to inform you that we have no plans to process criticism anytime in the near or distant future, including complaints about not accepting criticism, complaints about spending time writing email about not accepting criticism when we should be writing other things, criticisms of literary structure, complaints about typos or or speling errors in response emails, or any other from of complaint, critique, denunciation, etc. For further details, please see:
http://the-toast.net/2014/09/19/no-criticism-thanks/
If you’re concerned about us effectively recycling someone else’s material, that too is a form of criticism which again falls under the category of things we are currently not accepting.
Kindest Regards,
Sir Sandwich
P.S. Please feel free to review this email whenever the thought of contacting us with criticism arises.

Soon another email arrived, but the Author had stopped checking email, since he was busy reading some articles found after googling procrastination, thinking about whether there actually was some way to construct a metaphor without a comparison (since that would be really cool), and trying to think of a way to work the phrase “bear umbrage” into the story somehow.

Things got complicated, and it didn’t seem like there was any hope the story could progress. How could a denouement be reached? With far more than a thousand words already spilled in a format with an arbitrarily self-imposed thousand word limit, a story that was in revolt against its own plot, and levels of self-reference that seemed like they’d suck everything into a swirling vortex of recursion the impasse seemed intractable.  Fortunately Her Highness had an idea.

“Perhaps you could just call this complete, then start a new story. In the new one, we just need to find the monkey, set up a nice tea service with a few treats, some tasteful decorations, and an environment full of sweetness and light. With that, things will naturally unfold just as they should, and all will be well in the world.”

So, it is your Destiny that you must click here to continue to Princess Pricklepants, Magnificent Mender of Monkey Manners (we were going to title it, “Princess Pricklepants and the Quest for Monkey Manners – A New Beginning,” but certain editors protested) in which there are many photos, monkey manners may be modified, and tea is served.