Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Tug of War with an Elephant

I used to work summers as a ticket taker for the Griffith Park Zoo in Los Angeles.  During breaks and lunch we had time to stroll through the zoo and get acquainted with the animals.

Joyce was a nice old lady who happened to be an Indian Elephant.  Joyce is not an Indian name I know and I wonder how she got it. The animals were separated from the public by a high chainlink fence. Later the zoo was modernized and Joyce and friends got a nice fence-free compound.  But in those days Joyce used to drape her trunk over the high fence and wait for visitors to offer her peanuts.

My zoo uniform included a Safari type pith sun helmet which made us look like Frank Buck in old Sepia toned travelogues of India and Africa.  So, dressed in the Safari mode I strolled one day by the elephant compound, Joyce held her trunk over the fence and said, "Hey, Chuck, are you going to eat all those peanuts by yourself, or are going to share with a starving elephant?" 

What could I do?  I emptied my bag of peanuts into the helmet and held it high so Joyce could reach it with her trunk.

WHOOSH.  The peanuts disappeard into Joyce with her first inhale.  Then with the prehensile finger on the end of her trunk, Joyce grabbed the lining of the helmet.  She had decided she wanted a taste of pith helmet too.

Now I was engaged in a tug of war with an elephant. I clutched my hat, and so did the elephant.  Guess who was stronger.  Joyce would not let go, nor did I,  I would have ended up in the elephant compound if the lining of the helmet had not come loose. 

I returned to work with a tattered hat.  What Joyce did with her trophy I do not know.  Ate it perhaps.


madcobug said...

This was funny Chuck. Helen

bamawmn46 said...

LOL What a great story!!  How old were you at the time?

garnett109 said...

Great entry!
That would have been a great sight to see!
Thanks for sharing!

kateh2ocolorart said...

LOL...I'd forgotten that story Dad, nice to hear it again!  You had some funny adventures at the ZOO!

hewasolddog299 said...

Too bad you didn't recognize the symptoms of a salt-starved elephant! You'd have made her day if you's brought her a bag of SALTED Peanuts.

plieck30 said...

I can just see that tug-o-war. Paula

jocalodave said...

My hat's off to you for this pithy prose, Chuck.

I go nuts for anything with talking pachyderms and fences draped with long noses.

Keep up the good work!


reconcilinglife said...

LOL....what a funny story.Bam