Sunday, July 10, 2005
My friend Ben and I were sipping margaritas and noshing on Nachos one Saturday after sunning ourselves at a local Beach. As is common in Los Angeles, a woman more beautiful than we could have ever imagined walked into the restaurant. Our Cabo-Cantina Venus, was escorted by a very tough, but very miserable looking bald man who looked peeved, as his girlfriend or ward (It's tough to tell sometimes) chatted away on a heavily blinged Blackberry. As we both oggled the scene and wiped drool from our chins, young Benny turned and asked, with the wide eyes of inexperience,
"Do I even want a girl that hot?"
I recounted this tale:
In Old Siam, before it was known for gender bending, the elephant was revered as something of a holy creature. Even to this day, the elephant is known as an object of good luck in Thailand, and can be seen branded on the lower backs of many teenage prostitues. No other animal holds higher esteem in Thai culture.
When a WHITE elephant is born in Thailand, the entire country goes apeshit. The king and the entire royal family, travel to wherever the elephant is, and have some sort of party I think. I'm not exactly sure of the details, but I'm pretty sure they put a costume on the elephant, not a wig or anything like that, but gold and stuff. Regardless, the WHITE elephant is the ultimate symbol of good fortune and holiness in Thailand. You will even find it on the national flag
However, an astute king, King Rama the Somethingth, was known to present white elephants to nobles who displeased him.
How could this be? Why would you gift a priceless animal, who embodies all that is holy and fortunate, to your enemies?
King Rama knew that an elephant makes for a terrible gift. They eat much more than anyone but the extremely wealthy can afford, they run rampant over gardens, poop small houses evey five minutes, and are generally stinky and unpleasant. Very often this amazing gift spelled ruin for the haughty nobles, who could not return or deny such a blessed creature.
Much like going to the zoo and seeing elephants. You admire and love them from afar, but what would you ever do with one if you owned it?