Post by Josh Zinn.
Walking home today I passed by a woman, no more than forty, weeping over the loss of her beloved sock monkey. I knew it was a knitted primate her tears were shed over due to the fact that she kept exclaiming wildly, “My monkey! My sock monkey! It’s gone!” as she buried herself in the bosom of a friend whose grimacing face conveyed the fractured duality of concern and annoyance that frequently accompanies the consoling of friends. It was like a scene from Beckett—had Beckett ever tackled the all-too-common personal catastrophe known as “Sock Monkey Bereavement.”
The loss of innocence, as you well know dear readers, far exceeds just the complicated conundrums of sayonara sock simians. In an age when colony collapse disorder is robbing the world of honey whilst Honey Boo Boo showers the world with sass, it can be difficult to ascertain what truly matters and why, in the end, we’re supposed to care at all.
Thank goodness, then, for “Rosemary’s Baby!”
Really, think about it: Compared to the miseries that befall Rosemary Woodhouse as she unwittingly sets down a path that will lead her to give birth to the son of Satan, is an overdue electric bill or a missing monkey THAT big of a deal? Sure, it can be a bit of a pain to spend your afternoon on hold, listening to Phil Collins plead to be taken home while the winter’s darkness envelopes your frigid studio apartment, but it’s not as if your husband and a coven of witchy senior citizens secretly made you bring forth the antichrist. It’s all about perspective.
A classic of horror cinema, Roman Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby” takes the idea of forced demonic birth (typically a bummer) and uses it as a metaphor for the inability of our reality to always match up with our hopes and aspirations. Rosemary may think that she’s got the ideal life she always dreamed of, what with her fancy Vidal Sassoon haircut, actor husband, and enormous apartment on the Upper West Side, but the fact of the matter is that the woman has severely underestimated the tenant requirements in her snazzy new co-op. Needless to say, it pays to read the fine print when Beelzebub is on your building’s board of directors.
As you can imagine, life quickly becomes a nightmare for Rosemary as the forces of darkness conspire to give her morning sickness. What’s worse, while she is suffering—saddled with the upheaval of both her dreams and last night’s dinner—her husband is engaging in nefarious games of paranormal pinochle with the witches and warlocks down in Apt. 6B. Where is the humanity!? Alas, life, it seems, is a losing game for Rosemary, with the cards definitely stacked in Ol’ Scratch’s favor.
While it may seem unfair or unmerciful to compare a stranger’s overwrought reaction to the loss of their sock monkey with the bringing forth of the apocalypse, this contrast serves to highlight how all-too-easily we allow the small things in life to dominate our emotions. While the importance of possessions (demonic, sock monkey, or otherwise) should never be underestimated, it’s hard not to imagine a beleaguered Rosemary, cloven-hoofed child nestled against her breast, telling this maudlin monkey mother to go and, “put a sock in it.”