How to Beat a Monkey’s Paw

How many times have you walked into an antique store looking for old-timey Coke bottles and vintage photo albums, only to find there was a monkey’s paw for sale?  And how many times have you passed it up, certain that tampering with fate would unleash a slew of unintended consequences?  It’s time you learned that it’s not about the paw you’re dealt; it’s the way you play it.

At first glance, a monkey’s paw seems no different from a lucky rabbit’s foot.  Both are severed limbs that prove our dominance over other, cuter species.  All well and good.  But while a rabbit’s foot provides a generic aura of “luck”, the monkey’s paw gets down to business and grants your wishes.  The fear is that these wishes will backfire and ruin your life.  That’s why you need a system.

The first step is to find a shopkeeper willing to sell you a monkey’s paw.  Make sure your monkey’s paw is in mint condition (three wishes remaining) to get maximum value.  The shopkeeper will likely begin to cackle uncontrollably when you ask if the monkey’s paw is for sale.  Ignore him, as most of his days are spent selling used typewriters to bored married couples.  It’s only right to let him enjoy the moment.  For his sake, be sure to yell, “Wowee, I’m gonna be rich!” as you leave the shop.

Great, now you have a monkey’s paw burning a hole in your pocket.  But you have so many wishes to choose from and sadly only three chances to get it right.  You think you have a genius idea, but…

DO NOT WISH FOR A MILLION WISHES.  You’ll be dead by wish five you cocky bastard.  At the least, you’ll be failing to fend off the monkey butler uprising with your solid-gold prosthetic hand.

With that said, here are three sample wishes to beat the monkey’s paw at its own game.

First Wish

People are greedy.  The monkey’s paw knows this for a fact.  The worst thing you can do is wish for a million dollars.  You want it?  You got it.  In the form of a UNICEF pallet of pennies crushing you in your own home.  Even if it doesn’t, people will ask questions, namely, “Why’d you steal all those pennies from UNICEF, you jerk?”

So keep it simple.  Put a helmet on, stay indoors, and wish for a fiver.  Boom.  Five free dollars.  But that’s not all.  Invite a bunch of people over with the promise of seeing a monkey’s paw potentially ruin your life.  Charge two bucks a head, invite twenty people, and that’s another $40.   Factor in the $14.99 you paid for the monkey’s paw, and you’re still up $30.01.

Second Wish

Don’t get ahead of yourself.  Just because you made it through the first wish with a cool $30.01 doesn’t mean your second will be any easier.  One big mistake I hear all the time is people saying they would bring a loved one back to life.  That’s playing right into the monkey’s paw’s hands.  It wants nothing more than for you to play god, foolishly tampering with the mortal coil, only to get your face eaten by your zombie-mom.  People think raising the dead is all about second chances and froyo in the park, when really it’s all about hubris and killing zombies with shovels.

No, it’s best to go the other direction.  People always talk about wanting to kill Hitler, but the logistics of time travel are a nightmare.  Why not do the next best thing?  Wish for Hitler to stay dead.  It’s short, simple, and probably would have happened anyway.  That way, whenever someone brings up Hitler, you can organically bring up the fact that you might be the reason he’s still dead.  Voila!  Instant street-cred and a free round of drinks from your Jewish friends.  Bonus: you won’t have to waste a good shovel!

Third Wish

A 1977 Topps Rollie Fingers # 523 in near mint condition.  Well, not so much the card itself, but more so the idea of a 1977 Topps Rollie Fingers #523 in near mint condition.  While you admire that brilliant ‘stache, take note of my final lesson.  Specificity.  When it comes down to it, the monkey’s paw is nothing more than that annoying grade school classmate who tried to pay you in doll hairs for eating way too much ketchup.  God, that kid sucked.  Simply be clear and direct with your wishes; and always enunciate.  Remember, famous is just an off-rhyme away from anus.

Keep these lessons in mind the next time you come across a monkey’s paw, or face the wrath of a supernatural force hell-bent on destroying you and everyone you care about.

Happy antiquing!