We all have heard about the “elephant in the room.” You know that thing that you should talk about because it’s there, but you choose to ignore it? Guess what? I’m leaving the elephant in the room unmentioned. Why? Because it’s Friday, March 13, 2020, as I write this. I was going to publish a column about it being Friday the 13th, but I’ll save it for the next Friday the 13th.
In dealing with elephants, we need to be smart, but we also need a little humor. Mark Twain was an often-serious humorist, and I wish I could channel him right now because the world needs his wit and wisdom. One thing Twain is credited with saying, “There is nothing wrong with having nothing to say unless you insist on saying it.” (I have also seen this quote attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, so I’m not arguing that point.)
The truth is, we really don’t know how the elephant gets into the room. But we know we need to elephant-proof ourselves. Some say the elephant comes in by air. Some say you must come in contact with the elephant to bring it in. But the CDC says very little about elephants because they haven’t dealt with elephants much. All they can do at this point is to make suggestions.
Here’s another Mark Twain quote: “It is better to find out than suppose.” That’s true (and I know for certain that Twain wrote that.) And since I have been talking about elephants, I am reminded of a poem I often read and teach called “The Blind Men and the Elephant.” In this delightful little poem, six blind men encounter an elephant. One touches the tusk, another the trunk, another a leg, and so on. Each insists he is right when he describes the elephant, but we, the readers, realize each is only telling it from his point of view. Then at the end of the poem, they all get mad at each other because someone disagrees with each assessment. They all insist they are right about something they had not seen.
“Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!” from the “Blind Men and the Elephant.”
A lesson therein exists- and I didn’t mention its name.
Stay safe and love a lot.
“If I were King” series by Dale Powell