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Monday, September 29, 2014

What's bigger than the both of us?

... AN ELEPHANT, of course.

In looking through my "SAVE" files, I noticed a handful of clippings on elephants. My delusional thought: "Hmm... maybe I'll use this one day." Well guess what? Today is the day!

There is no animal on earth that has the majesty and presence of the elephant. Elephants are socially, a lot like us. They cry, play and laugh! They have incredible memories (really), are sensitive and compassionate... if a baby cries, the entire family will rumble and go over to comfort it. Elephants have greeting ceremonies when a friend returns.  They rejoice at the birth... and grieve at the loss of a stillborn baby, a family member, and sometimes, other elephants.

These magnificent creatures are unbelievably more awesome in the wild than demeaned in a zoo or circus. It's just them in their element and you, literally face to face. I've been surrounded by a large herd which walked around our stalled Land Rover... making for a few really uncomfortable, but incredible moments. I was at the rear, seated highest out of the vehicle when a large male stopped and stared at me from about six feet--I could almost touch his trunk... and vice versa-- for what seemed like minutes... then, walked on.

While elephants have no natural predators, they are terrified of... no, not mice... they are terrified of bees, which tend to sting around their eyes and inside their trunks. Recently, scientists have recorded a distinctive call, or "bee rumble" that is used to warn others of swarming bees. When the recording was then broadcast to other herds, some of the elephants fled, even shaking their heads as if to deflect bees.

If you are ever chased by an elephant, you should know that elephants do not run. They can't lift four legs off the ground at the same time. Moving their legs as fast as they can, they break into a brisk walk. However, don't get too comfortable. That brisk walk is still about 11 miles per hour. The average human running speed is perhaps 13 mph... but they know the territory. So your best bet is to stop, make friends and tell a funny elephant story, like:

Guy goes into a snack shop specializing in exotic sandwiches. Sign on the wall says, "We can make any sandwich you want." So the smart-alec customer winks at his buddy and orders an elephant ear sandwich. Snack shop guy says sadly, "Uh, we haven't got elephant ear sandwiches today." Customer says with glee... "No elephant ears, huh?" "Oh, no, that's not the problem." says the shop guy. "We are just out of the big buns."

Whoops! bad choice of stories. Instead:  What’s the difference between a dozen eggs and an elephant? If you don’t know, I’m sure not going to send you to the store for a dozen eggs!

Oh, my God, is he still chasing you? Last chance: What is the difference between a tavern and an elephant's fart? One is a bar room and... are your ready?... the other is a BAROOOM!

SQUASH! (Sorry.)

No, this is not Oklahoma, but it will show you who is in control

Not a joke: An Oklahoma couple on the way home from church ran into an elephant... literally. "I didn't have time to hit the brakes, so I swerved," said the driver as he sideswiped the 8-foot-tall, 4,500 pound beast which had just gotten loose from a circus. No animal was hurt in the making of this story.

My favorite fictional elephants: Babar, Horton and Dumbo, of course.  My jumbo tip of the day: Read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen... tons better than the movie.

PS: Yeah, published in 2011 but I liked it this much (---------------------------------------------)

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