On Elephants

By: goodislove

May 29 2009

Tags: ,

Category: Uncategorized


Here I am at the circus in front of some elephant butts. This is really exciting. Watching elephants at a circus, I mean. There were people on the trapeze, amazing jugglers, crafty cyclists, motor bikes in giant orbs, a tricky lady with clever dachshunds, insanely hoppy gymnasts and tigers.

But let me get back to the elephants. Elephants are really wild. Have you ever seen an elephant? I’ve been lucky enough to see them in the wild, I’ve seen them on TV, I’ve seen them in zoos; but there’s something about seeing them performing at a circus that really blows my mind.

As they loped around the ring in a line, trunks holding tails, with the lights shining down upon them, I realized how sentient they are. When they had finished their routine and went to circle the ring one last time, the third elephant tried to reach for the tail of elephant #2. The other two were ready to go and just moved along, but the other reached somewhat desperately and couldn’t quite catch that tail.

I just finished an article in Smithsonian Magazine about these obscure nerve cells that scientists have associated with the ‘seemingly’ human need to socialize; nerve cells that we share with elephants, primates and whales. After reading this, that tail grab seemed to carry so much more meaning. It wasn’t just an animal grabbing at an object, it was another being trying to keep up with the others, feeling the need to feel wanted.


Special thanks to Nathan Slabaugh, circus trumpeter extraordinaire and great coffee guy, who hooked the Coffee Kids gang up with tickets! Check out his podcast bestmochalatte and Web site. He travels with the Ringling Brothers’ Circus nearly 50 weeks out of the year and in his downtime he interviews anyone who has anything to do with coffee. Tomorrow Nathan is stopping by Coffee Kids to interview us. Check it out now!


2 comments on “On Elephants”

  1. Hey Kyle!
    Another altogether fresh concept out of that head of yours… Sooo good.
    This is just as good as your chinese menu run from some years back. Keep on keepin’ on.

  2. I hear what you say about the sentient elephants–that’s pretty amazing. I feel the same way about whales, though I’ve never seen them in the wild. Animals are amazing–I can only imagine what their consciousness is like.

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