He lives in a Palm Springs retirement home.  He enjoys banging on his piano and reliving the glory days of his Hollywood career watching his old movies.  He is living out his retirement in a style that, thanks to the tanking stock market, many of his American human cousins will never see. 

Reporter Charles Siebert describes the retirement of Cheeta, Tarzan’s chimp co-star, in an episode of “This American Life” entitled “Human Resources.”  Siebert’s story, “Almost Human Resources,” is about the fate of chimpanzees after the end of their usefulness in research and entertainment. 

Cheeta, who is believed to be 75, occupies the high end of the chimp retiree lifestyle spectrum.  He rides around the grounds of his Palm Springs retirement home in a golf cart and hangs out by the pool eating Doritos and drinking diet iced tea (he’s diabetic, you know).  Cheeta especially enjoys watching himself in the Tarzan movies he co-starred in, clapping during his favorite scenes.

In these dark economic times, it’s comforting to know that at least a famous chimpanzee has competent people overseeing his investments.  It certainly doesn’t look like Cheeta’s business manager handed his entire fortune over to Bernie Madoff.    

Someone – or something – is still carrying on the American tradition of a well-deserved, comfortable retirement.

“Almost Human Resources” begins 43:30 in.