Sunday, May 1, 2016

Consider This

Pocket Pachyderm

      I have an elephant in my pocket. Really, I do! He’s been in all my pockets for years except for when I lost him once and for when my pockets are too short and I’m afraid he’ll fall out and get lost again. He is so far nameless and I love him. Do I think he brings me good luck? Dunno. I’ve never believed in talismans. We either have good luck in life or we don’t, but a little nudge I think, in the direction of “what if??” in the form of a lucky stone or coin or whatever, can’t hurt, right? So I have my little elephant. He’s about a half inch high, an inch long, he’s silvery and yes, his trunk is raised.

      Does an upward trunk on an elephant bring good luck? Word out there is yes. Elephant statues and charms and things are popular all over the world and in some places it’s believed that one should always buy an elephant picture or carved icon and place it facing one’s front door, trunk up, to keep good juju in and bad juju out. Those things will bring the occupants success, longevity and much knowledge, not to mention providing stability and wisdom and chasing away all negatives. Is all this true? Who am I to judge? After all, I carry a pachyderm in my pocket!

       Word is that the raised trunk brings good fortune, but if lowered, not so good. Some say that if you happen to pass a stray elephant on your way to Hannaford or somewhere, and its trunk is upright, you are pretty much in clover, maybe even for life, so make an effort to cross directly in front of one of those magnificent, intelligent animals. It’d be kinda prudent.

      Anyone remember elephant hair bracelets? Very popular back in the day. They were supposed to bring good luck and great wealth and babies or something. I was skeptical. It made me think about those believers who wear a shark’s tooth around their necks and jump into chum-filled waters knowing absolutely they’ll be protected. I’ll give you one guess about who’ll not surface that day. At least elephants never ate people who wore elephant hair bracelets, none that I ever heard of at least, and one hopes it didn’t cause the great beasties any pain to sacrifice their hair for human adornment ala mode.

      The great tragedy about these wonderful sensitive family oriented animals is that they’re being ruthlessly slaughtered by poachers for their tusks, their huge bodies left to rot where they fall. I try to think about those poachers; maybe they are horribly poor with children to feed and they have no other means of income, but it’s extremely difficult to be sympathetic when it comes to poachers. And why is there still a market for ivory tusks? By themselves they are just teeth. But they’ve always been desired for carvings because it is beautiful, ages well and doesn’t splinter. Fabulous ornate ivory carvings are in museums all over the world.

      When I was growing up all pianos had ivory keys. Now when I look at an ivory keyboard and think those keys once were in the heads of gorgeous, intelligent animals, beasts who can be trained to use tools and to help humans the way we’ve always used animals, wondrous beasts that were tortured for centuries into performing humiliating circus tricks, animals that loved and protected their babies and other elephants,--- well it’s hard to play the piano on those keys. Of course I can’t play anyway, but that’s not the point, is it?

      And elephants do in fact have long memories and are superbly intelligent; they are emotional, and even Aristotle, the ancient Greek philopher, wrote that elephants surpassed all other animals in wisdom and could express grief and compassion. They also have the largest brains of all mammals, and know how to use them. We could learn from “effaluntz,” as all little kids call them. But will we? Does my little pocket elephant bring me good luck? Who knows? I’m not even sure if she’s a girl or a boy elephant, although I’m leaning toward girl. Anyone have any suggestions about what I should name her?

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