A Chimpanzee in a nutshell: innovation for innovation’s sake, cleverness for cleverness’ sake, and a wink and a nod to those too slow to keep up. Eschewing the pragmatic goals of the Killer Whale and Spider, and far flashier than the understated Owl, Chimpanzees view themselves as a different breed of Smith. They are highly skeptical of both specialization and laughter less rooms, making them the most versatile and mischievous of all the types.
If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search. … I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor.
– Nikola Tesla
The versatility of the Chimpanzee derives from their relentless desire to discover—perhaps invent—new concepts in a variety of different fields. Differing from the controlling Killer Whales and Spiders, Chimps are rarely fazed when not possessing all the answers. In fact, it’s more fun for them when they don’t. Ironically, this is why they’re such ingenious troubleshooters. If the meticulousness of a Spider makes them the master of creating strategies towards achieving long-term goals, the creativity of a Chimpanzee makes them the master of creating innovative solutions for immediate problems. Unbound by practicality and proven results, the experimental style of Chimpanzees enables them to suggest solution models that no one in their right mind would ever propose—ideas that the Chimpanzee will most definitely spout off in rapid-fire succession.
After all, troubleshooting is just a natural extension of the Chimpanzee’s penchant for tinkering. Anything that can be tested, refined, retested, and then re-refined, falls into the realm of the Chimpanzee. Regrettably, female Chimps face tremendous social pressure, normally learning from an early age that it’s not appropriate for a girl to be trampling around in the mud collecting snails. Perhaps it’s the brashness and danger associated with being a Chimpanzee; girls are expected to act “properly” and let the boys do the dangerous work. STEM fields, areas of work where male Chimpanzees are prevalent, have historically been misogynistic, and even now, the small number of females in the Physical Sciences is comically depressing. Because of this, they are often forced to express their innovation in occupations that are more “female”—it’s no surprise that many of these are related to beauty—as industrial designers, architects, pastry chefs, small business entrepreneurs, and creative consultants.
The Practical Jokester
They made a porn movie about Sarah Palin and the same actress, Lisa Ann, played me in the porn version of 30 Rock. Weirdly, of the three of us, Lisa Ann knows the most about foreign policy.
– Tina Fey
It’s true that most Smiths put absolutely no stock in traditional societal values unsupported by logic, though each Smith deals with social pressure in their own way. The pragmatic Killer Whales and Spiders will assimilate as much as they need to in order to achieve their goals. The reclusive Owl will ignore them completely. The Chimpanzee, usually perceived as the boldest of the four, will broadcast their antagonistic opinions loudly, clearly, and with a subversive touch of mischief. Chimpanzees are commonly thought of as the “cool rebel” or the intellectual comedian, whose jokes, while critical and dismissive of society, are tempered by the fact that the Chimpanzee seems to not take anything seriously.
They are the most likely type to play practical jokes, make sarcastic comments, and to tell dirty stories under their breath during formal functions—yep, they’re the coworker that always seems to slip inappropriate memes into that work email thread. Of course, there’s more to this freewheeling persona than just entertainment, and just like their firebrand Shaman cousin, the Baboon, Chimpanzees employ comedy as a Trojan horse, a device that persuades others to buy into their argument better than any serious debate would.
Hell, if I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn’t have been worth the Nobel Prize.
– Richard Feynman
To the outside viewer, the mind of a Chimpanzee can seem like a hurricane of random thoughts (Can rotors induce flight? What are the benefits of nanotechnology? Where’s the best BBQ joint west of Texas?) and in the eye of the storm sits the Chimpanzee, comprehending it all in real time. Unfortunately, what occurs inside the mind doesn’t always manifest itself on the outside. Lacking the patience of the Spider and the Owl, both of whom seek to present their complex ideas in a digestible manner, Chimps, who might not even have a full grasp of their own concepts to begin with, will blather on in a Holmesian stream of consciousness—Sherlock himself being a Chimpanzee—that would leave the most astute audience confused. Making matters worse, the Chimpanzee will look to address the lack of understanding not by distilling the information, but by increasing the speed at which it’s being communicated. In the end, an immature Chimpanzee will arrogantly blame the audience’s apparent ignorance.
In this manner, Chimpanzees, much like their Smith siblings, seek to remove themselves from the rest of the population—the possible exception here are the Killer Whales, who are totally fine interacting with other people as long as they have a certain degree of dominance over them. This potentially harmful behavior expresses itself differently with the other three. Whereas the Spider might slam the door on others, and the Owl might just leave the room entirely, the Chimpanzee will perch on the highest ledge of their ivory tower, sniping at those they deem intellectually inferior.
Oh, Monty! How many times do you think the wings can fall off a plane?
– Gadget, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers
Despite all their charisma and energy, it’s in the lab, studio, or whatever workspace they use, where Chimpanzees feel most at home. If they could make only one wish, it would be to live a life devoted to inventing cool things. And not just inventing, but re-inventing. Whether they’re building a better chair or crafting a better beer, it’s in the miniscule, specific adjustments made from model to model, from experiment to experiment, where the Chimpanzee gains a greater understanding of the world.
Now this process doesn’t always go smoothly, and one could even say the very boldness and disregard for practical outcomes that makes Chimpanzees’ revolutionary inventions possible can also lead to their undoing. History and literature are littered with the brutal, often fatal, results of Chimpanzee innovation: the Hindenburg, Chernobyl, Frankenstein’s monster. However, this only seems to highlight the risky nature of experimentation itself, a process not for cowards. Now imagining a world without airplanes, radio, remote control, or electricity? That’s scary.