Except perhaps, when he caused the hurt. One day when Mike and Barbara were playing tickle, Mike tried to put the hood of her sweatshirt onto his head, and scratched her neck with the zipper. Barbara told him he was too rough. He signed, “Unlisten” — he didn’t want to hear what she was saying. Barbara insisted that he listen but he still refused, and tried to pull her outside to play, signing “Out!”
Then Mike examined the red mark on her neck. When she asked him how her neck got hurt, he replied “Zipper.” She told him that he was right and asked why it happened. He told her he’d been a bad boy by signing — “Toilet Mike. Rough.”
When Mike realized that he had hurt Barbara, he showed his compassion and admitted his guilt. He was uncomfortable causing pain. As he grew into a huge strong silverback, there was very little that could hurt him. Tough as he was, he was equally sensitive.
Mike learned to love music, and asked often to hear symphonies and opera. The tenor Pavorotti became his favorite singer. To watch Mike lounging in his room blissfully listening to violins and woodwinds made one wonder if the classics are primeval music that soothes the emotions, like the ripple of rain showers falling onto the canopy of the gorilla’s forest home.
As a “Kid for Koko,” you are the key to waking people up to the importance of treating other intelligent species and our planet with love and respect, and ensuring a brighter future for all.
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