Hi all, firstly, please accept my apologies that it’s been so long since I gave you the last instalment of my life story; I’ve been rather busy lately getting everything ready for the launch of phase 2 of the site. Do you like it?
I think the last time we talked I’d just finished school, and as the English state school system didn’t cater particularly well to the needs of gorillas I found myself out in the big wide world of work with not a single qualification to my name.
So, what do you do if you’re 16 and have left school with no GCSEs? Ask most people and they’d suggest a job in a fast food chain, so, just to fit the stereotype, that’s where I ended up, a 300lb gorilla flipping burgers for minimum wage.
I had the world at my feet, overtime was readily available, I was allowed all the banana milkshakes I could handle, if I needed new a new uniform it had to be specially made of course but I could cope with that.
There’s something about having large hands that lends itself to working in a fast food establishment, I didn’t need a tray to carry meals to the grill order parking bays and my burger flipping skills were second to none. They even earned me the nickname of, wait for it, “the head g-riller”!
The restaurant chain I worked for had an excellent management training programme and at the time I figured that, despite my lack of achievement in school, I had the smarts to run my own restaurant and perhaps one day become a franchisee, I signed up for the training.
I excelled on the management training and before long was assistant manager of my local restaurant. Other members of the team praised my people management skills, although I’m not convinced they weren’t just scared of me, I’m fairly sure most people would do what they were asked if it was a gorilla doing the asking!
Little did I know my life was about to change though, one day, after a particularly busy lunch shift, I was approached at the counter by the area manager from an up and coming mobile phone retailer. Impressed with the way I’d been handling the team and customers he wanted to know if I’d be interested applying for a position at the new store they were opening.
It wasn’t an easy decision, the fast food business had been good to me and had given me support and a great start to my career but eventually I decided I had to at least consider it. I went for an interview and I liked what I heard, luckily they did too and I was offered a position as a sales consultant.
That was where my love of mobile phones began, it was still relatively early days in the industry, analogue was still predominant, T-Mobile was still Mercury and 3 hadn’t even been dreamed of yet but there was a definite buzz about going to work each day.
The company was expanding fast and opportunities for progression abounded as long as you were capable and flexible about where you worked, and so it was that within a year of joining as a sales consultant, I found myself moving to the West Country and being handed the keys to my very own store.
Unfortunately that’s where I’m going to have to leave it til next time, I’ve still got to check through the new site and shouldn’t really have taken the time out to update you but I realise it’s been a while since the last instalment. Remember to keep an eye on your inbox for the next one!
Are you sitting comfortably? I’ve managed to get control of the blog again so thought it was a perfect time to continue with my life story.
Last time I was here I got as far as my early days so today I’ll move on to my teenage years. My early teens were spent much as any normal teenager spends them, I’d hang out with friends, play football (not the easiest game to play when you’re used to walking on 4 legs and have opposable big toes, as a result over the years, my love of playing evolved into a love of watching!) and listen to music – I was into anything by The Monkees!
My teenage years weren’t all fun and laughter though, as I grew older, the humans’ demand for land to grow their crops grew greater and the area of forest us Gorillas had to graze in grew smaller and smaller.
Not that we went hungry, the crops provided a steady supply of food for us, unfortunately this led to increasing conflict with the humans. As we had to take more and more of their crops to supplement the food we would normally have got from the forest their patience with us started to wear thin.
Eventually things reached a flashpoint and the humans could no longer put up with us helping ourselves to their crops. One fateful day they entered the forest with guns and machetes bent on one thing, ensuring that there would no longer be any gorillas to steal their crops.
Luckily, at the time they attacked my troop was deep among the crops, foraging for food, and as a result the humans didn’t find us while they were searching the forest. Sadly there are still pressures on Gorillas in many parts of Africa even today, as can be seen from articles such as this one. It seems that even today, with more awareness of our plight throughout the world, gorillas still aren’t truly safe.
Anyway, I digress, back to the story. My family decided that the danger was too much and it was no longer safe to bring up a young gorilla with so much potential danger around. They took the difficult decision to move from the mountain home that they’d loved for so many years and seek their fortune in a new country.
And so it was that in the 1980s we found ourselves in the leafy suburbs of Surrey. Something of a departure from our rainforest mountain home, although there seemed to be just as much rain! We had to adapt a bit, my dad got a job as a bricklayer, of course he had the advantage of being able to carry 3 times as many bricks as anyone else on a building site!
We also had to get used to buying our fruit from a supermarket rather than foraging in the forest, quite a novelty for us! My music tastes expanded and I got into Hip Hop and Electro, some of my favourite acts were Run DMC and The Beastie Boys (Brass Monkey is still one of the greatest songs ever!).
I went to school but never did particularly well, it was difficult entering education after living in the wild for so many years and I struggled to keep up with the other kids and so it was that at the end of the 80s I was leaving school with a big wide world in front of me but no qualifications.
What happened next? Well that will have to be a tale for another day, it’s getting late and I fancy a cup of tea before bed. I will be back with the next instalment though so keep an eye on your inbox!
Image courtesy of Just chaos on Flickr.
I’m an excited gorilla! I’ve managed to get access to the blog so you can all get to read something interesting instead of the humans whittering on about mobile phone bills and what have you! Hopefully they won’t notice.
I thought that as I now have somewhere to write in a bit more detail (the Facebook page is great but it doesn’t give me a lot of space) it might be a good time to tell you a bit about my background. A few people have been asking who I am, where I’ve come from and how on earth I came to own a mobile recycling comparison website!
I’ve lived a pretty full life so it’s going to take more than one blog post to get it all down but let’s get going and see where we get, starting at the beginning of course!
I was born in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda in 1971, around the same time that Idi Amin came to power, thankfully, despite whatever else he may have been, he wasn’t an enemy of the gorillas and it was a relatively peaceful time for my troop. We co-existed happily with the humans that lived near the national park.
Our days were spent much as those of any other gorilla troop, we’d split our time between foraging for vegetation and holding regular grooming sessions. In the evenings we’d make our way into the trees to settle down for a good night’s sleep. The only notable occurrences were occasional visits to our mountain home by naturalists wanting to study us, we always found this strange as we had no urge to go to the humans’ homes and study them! Still they didn’t bother us so we didn’t bother them.
It was thanks to one of the naturalists that I ended up with my name in fact! I’m sure you’ll have noticed that Griff isn’t a traditional Ugandan name, it was actually given to me by the naturalist Wolfgang Schiller, an American of German descent, he came to study the troop during the 1970s and observed that as a baby gorilla, I would grab just about everything that I could lay my hands on, thinking that I wanted to handle whatever I could find, he decided to call me “Griff”, which is German for “handle”.
I’m not sure when my love of business began but even as a youngster I would look for ways to turn a profit. I remember that the older gorillas used to love eating the maize and bananas that the humans liked to grow near our forest home but were always being spotted and chased away when they tried to help themselves. I quickly realised that as I was a bit smaller I could sneak in and out of the crops without being noticed, I’d trade the bounty I collected for extra grooming from the rest of the troop!
I’m going to have to leave it there for now, it’s getting late and writing is time consuming when your fat gorilla fingers keep hitting the wrong keys! I’m going to fix myself a banana daiquiri and watch one of my favourite films; I need to decide between King Kong (the original of course!) and Gorillas in the Mist.
I’ll be back soon with the next instalment but before then I’m sure I’ll catch up with you all on Facebook, signing off for now...
Image courtesy of belgianchocolate on Flickr.