There are those who will suggest that even to hint at the monkey story is to bring immeasurable shame upon the good Kogan name, that its mere mention invites the sort of familial acrimony and heartache seldom witnessed outside King Lear. Still, I will tell the monkey story not because I want to—but because I must.
The monkey story takes place in the late 1960s. It was, as Simon & Garfunkel used to sing, a time of innocence, a time of confidences. I wore a That Girl flip and white vinyl go-go boots. Those boots were made for walking, so I'd walk two doors down the street to the Sapersteins' house because the Sapersteins had the biggest color TV on the block, and it was impossible to fully appreciate a masterpiece like Batman in black-and-white. Anyway, at some point between Nixon's election and Elvis's comeback concert, my mother and father, brother, and cousins all went to visit the grandparents in Miami Beach...but not the Miami Beach you're thinking of.
You see, before Miami was filled with fabulously sexy models eating fabulously sexy food at fabulously sexy boutique hotels, it was filled with old people who had dinner at 5:30 and worshipped Eleanor Roosevelt. As for entertainment, a kid could check out Ponce de León at the wax museum, play a rousing game of bingo and still be bored silly by noon. And that, my friends, brings us to the monkey story.