Earl Hangslow was hiking through the tropical forests of Uganda looking for the famed silverback gorilla known only by tribesman in those exotic parts as Carl. It was a mystery why they named this legendary gorilla “Carl” but that’s kinda beside the point. You ask a lot of questions. Carl was a menace to the villagers. He displayed human type qualities like ransacking encampments, destroying local wells that pumped much needed water and beating his chest three times culminating in holding his arms out to his side almost as to say “mic drop.” He was a real bastard. “A beautiful bastard, nonetheless.” Hangslow recounted.
Anyway, after a short stint clearing the village of man-eating snakes Hangslow quickly earned the villagers trust and they let him in on their Level 12 enemy boss Carl. Being the sport Hangslow is, he verbatim said this: “No ancestor of mine is going to wreak havoc on you fine people.” Insinuating that he was a descendant of Carl, which in a way I guess maybe that’s possible. Maybe not Carl exactly but an ape. I don’t know my leg fell asleep during a lecture on Darwin and the teacher was just muffles as I pounded my leg to bring it back to life. Anyway I digress…
Hangslow was armed only with a machete, 6 grenades, 2 assault rifles, exploding bow and arrows, 14 land mines, a samurai sword, limited edition night vision goggles, full body armor, bazooka, air strike back up units and a six-pack of RC Cola. Post script, if you guys remember that cola, you’re a boss. Good stuff. Well, as he cleaved through the greenery he bent branches down to suckle on nature’s sweet sweet nectar….water, for the lay people. With his parched throat eased, he knew he could go another couple weeks without water if he had to. Earl was kind of like a camel. He could hoard water in various voluntary muscle groups and release it at will, sometimes through his eyes when he was at a function that called for a few tears. Earl never cries so this came in handy.
So Earl comes face to face with Carl who immediately laughs as Hangslow strides up to him and says “Carl, we need to have a little chatteroo.” Taken aback by the giant primate’s lack of respect, Earl proceeds with an Indian rug burn. Carl was shocked. No man had ever dared anything close. When he was a baby gorilla someone gave him a wet willy but that was the extent of it and he held a grudge ever since. He walked over to a giant slab rock in the middle of the jungle and put his elbow on it as to lure Hangslow into an arm wrestle. Being the wise man that Earl was, he took his seat, put his elbow on the slab and nodded at his thumb. It would be the thumbwar heard around the world. They began “one, two…..three, four…I declare, A THUMB WAR!” The battle was on. In one corner the obscure bearded village defender. In the other, a body bearded behemoth defending his jungle kingdom pride. The battle lasted 5 days and 6 nights. Hangslow was happy he drank that sweet, sweet nectar days before. Monsoons came but they did not yield. Volcanoes erupted yet they did not yield. Both were at the point of utter exhaustion, just trying to hold their thumb up was a challenge. Finally, as Hangslow was about to fold, a single solitary beard hair of his fell slowly towards the table. It came to rest on Carl’s thumb and weighed it down. Hangslow let his thumb fall and it landed with a thud over top of Carl’s.
“One. Two. Three.” Hangslow counted. And just like that the battle was over. It was understood that Carl could never trespass to the village again. The water wells would be safe. Hangslow and Carl shared a moment where their foreheads touched and they knew they would be forever bonded by their 5 day 6 night struggle as well as their 98.25% DNA match.
After that day a new phrase was born. Gone was “the straw the broke the camel’s back.” Replacing it was the phrase you have certainly come to know just as well, “the hair that broke the gorilla’s thumb.
Hangslow made repeat trips to Uganda to see Carl in the years to come. Some say a rematch occurred behind closed doors but neither of them talk about it to this day.