Thinkstock
Thinkstock

11 Situations Made Weird By People In Gorilla Suits

Thinkstock
Thinkstock

People have been donning goofy ape suits for decades, often in some rather odd and/or inappropriate locations. Here are 11 of the most mind-boggling.

1. Fake Banana Caper Terrorizes Wisconsin

This 2009 news bulletin includes the greatest opening sentence in the history of journalism: “A bandit in a gorilla suit tore through Wisconsin convenience stores and tried swiping big, bogus bananas made of Styrofoam, police say.” After several unsuccessful raids, the culprit—a woman of indeterminate age—disappeared.

2. Bristol Palin Dances in A Gorilla Suit

During her stint on Dancing with the Stars, Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol decided to shake things up by putting on a gorilla suit and rocking out to the tune “Hey Hey We’re The Monkees.” Unfortunately, this performance netted her the evening’s lowest score.

3. Gorilla Climbs Broadcast Tower

Move over, Kong! In 1985, stuntman Donald W. Trest decided to scale a 2000-foot broadcasting tower … while wearing an ape suit. Trest’s previous escapades include dressing like Peter Pan and climbing atop the Houston Astrodome. 

4. The Denver Gorilla Run

How’s this for a head-scratching Guinness World Record category: “Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Gorillas.” The distinction belongs to the Denver Gorilla Run, an annual event that’s been raising cash for the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund since 2003. Every year, participants embark on a five-mile race while clad in simian costumes provided by the contest’s organizers.

5. Driver Uses Monkey Mask To Dodge Traffic Ticket

Jalopnik

After a number of photo-radar cameras were installed to automatically detect speeding drivers throughout Phoenix, resident Dave VonTesmar decided to confound the devices by covering his face with gorilla and giraffe masks to invalidate over 50 would-be traffic tickets, prompting a hefty backlash from the state’s Department of Public Safety. “You’ve got to identify the driver, and if you can’t, it’s not a valid ticket,” VonTesmar said.

6. Gorilla Thief Foiled by Meat Cleaver

When a thug sporting a hairy primate outfit attempted to burglarize the cash register of a Conway, South Carolina restaurant, one worker responded by warding him off with a meat cleaver. 

7. NBA Fan Shows Up in Gorilla Suit, Gets Promoted to Mascot

In 1980, performer and motivational speaker Henry Rojas was hired to strap on a gorilla suit and deliver a singing telegram to an unsuspecting fan at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona. “My dream was to play in the NBA, not go there wearing a costume,” Rojas said. At the Suns game in question, he couldn’t locate his target, so instead, he wound up amusing the entire stadium by shooting a few hoops and joking about with the referees. The audience liked his antics so much that “Go” the Gorilla became the Phoenix Suns’ official mascot, though Rojas himself retired from the gig in 1988.

8. Gorilla Creepily Watches Neighborhood Fire

When Kali Burns of Hampton, New Hampshire saw that his neighbor’s house was going up in smoke, he chose the only sensible course of action: He put on a gorilla suit and conspicuously stood behind a nearby fire truck.

9. Psychological Test Uses Gorilla Suit To Gauge Alertness

Watch this clip, designed to test selective attention. Be sure to count how many times a player wearing white passes the basketball:

Afterwards, you’ll be asked two follow-up questions: “How many passes did you count?” and “Did you see the gorilla?” According to the experiment’s designers, when the video was first shown at Harvard University many years ago, only half of the observers failed to notice the seemingly-obvious creature that walked directly through the shot.  

10. Bicycle Stolen by Two Gorillas and A Chicken

Talk about adding insult to injury. A Long Island teenager’s bike was taken by a trio of crooks back in 2010. Two of the thieves were disguised in gorilla suits while the third wore a chicken outfit

11. Banana Attacks Gorilla

It’s the primatological equivalent of “man bites dog.” A gorilla-costumed employee of one Strongville, Ohio cell phone store (who served as its mascot) was tackled by a prankster dressed as a banana in 2011.

This wasn't the last time a banana stirred up trouble. In February 2014, frightened motorists in Texas reported a man who was wearing a banana suit and holding an AK-47 while standing on the side of the freeway. Cops arrived and discovered he was acting as a gun store mascot. They issued him a citation—for soliciting alongside a roadway.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
From Snoopy to Shark Bait: The Top Slang Word in Each State
iStock
iStock

There’s a minute, and then there’s a hot minute. Defined as “a longish amount of time,” this unit of time is familiar to Alabamians but may stir up confusion beyond the state’s borders.

It’s Louisianans, though, who feel the “most misunderstood,” according to the results of a survey regarding regional slang by PlayNJ. Of the Louisiana residents surveyed, 72 percent said their fellow Americans from other states—even neighboring ones—have a hard time grasping their lingo. Some learned the hard way that ordering a burger “dressed” (with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo) isn’t universally understood, nor is the phrase “to pass a good time” (instead of “to have” a good time).

After surveying 2000 people (with proportional numbers from each state), PlayNJ created a map showing the top slang word in each state. Many are words that are unlikely to be understood beyond state lines, but others—like California’s bomb (something you really like) and New York’s deadass (to be completely serious)—have spread well beyond their respective borders thanks to memes and internet culture.

Hawaiians are also known for their distinctive slang words, with 71 percent reporting that words like shaka (hello) and poho (waste of time) are frequently misunderstood. Shark bait, one of the state’s more colorful terms, refers to tourists who are so pale that they attract sharks.

Check out the full list below and test your knowledge of regional slang words with PlayNJ’s online quiz.

A chart showing the top slang words in each state
PlayNJ
nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
20 States With the Highest Rates of Skin Cancer
iStock
iStock

They don’t call it the Sunshine State for nothing. Floridians get to soak up the sun year-round, but that exposure to harmful UV rays also comes with consequences. Prevention magazine reported that Florida has the highest rate of skin cancer in the U.S., according to a survey by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS).

BCBS surveyed 9 million of its insured members who had been diagnosed with skin cancer between 2014 and 2016 and found that Florida had the highest rate of skin cancer at 7.1 percent. People living in eastern states tend to be more prone to skin cancer, and diagnoses are more common among women.

Here are the 20 states with the highest rates of skin cancer:

1. Florida: 7.1 percent
2. Washington, D.C.: 5.8 percent
3. Connecticut: 5.6 percent
4. Maryland: 5.3 percent
5. Rhode Island: 5.3 percent
6. Vermont: 5.3 percent
7. North Carolina: 5.2 percent
8. New York: 5 percent
9. Massachusetts: 5 percent
10. Colorado: 5 percent
11. Arizona: 5 percent
12. Virginia: 5 percent
13. Delaware: 4.8 percent
14. Kentucky: 4.7 percent
15. Alabama: 4.7 percent
16. New Jersey: 4.7 percent
17. Georgia: 4.7 percent
18. West Virginia: 4.5 percent
19. Tennessee: 4.5 percent
20. South Carolina: 4.4 percent

It may come as a surprise that sunny California doesn’t make the top 20, and Hawaii is the state with the lowest rate of skin cancer at 1.8 percent. Prevention magazine explains that this could be due to the large population of senior citizens in Florida and the fact that the risk of melanoma, a rare but deadly type of skin cancer, increases with age. People living in regions with higher altitudes also face a greater risk of skin cancer due to the thinner atmosphere and greater exposure to UV radiation, which explains why Colorado is in the top 10.

The good news is that the technology used to detect skin cancer is improving, and researchers hope that AI can soon be incorporated into more skin cancer screenings. To reduce your risk, be sure to wear SPF 30+ sunscreen when you know you’ll be spending time outside, and don’t forget to reapply it every two hours. 

[h/t Prevention]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios