(This is the fifth entry of 26 I’ll be writing in August. It’s a challenge to myself: to see if I can actually keep a daily deadline anymore. It’s been a long time since the old CSN days!)
Q: Why do ducks have flat feet?
A: To stomp out burning forest fires.
Q: Why do elephants have flat feet?
A: To stomp out burning ducks!
Q: What’s big and grey and stomps out burning ducks?
A: Smokey the Elephant.
Q: What’s Smokey the Elephant’s middle name?
Yes, it’s the return of the elephant joke! Why? Well, to paraphrase Monty Python’s Flying Circus “It’s not easy to pad these things out to 500 words, you know.”
My family took a tour of the Tufts campus a few weeks back. (Somebody in my house is looking at colleges.) The guide, who described herself as a “rising senior” – even though she seemed to have both feet on the ground – spent some time telling us about the school athletic mascot: Jumbo the Elephant.
(Tufts is apparently a Division 3A athletic school. I believe this means that women are allowed on the football team, but only as wide receivers).
The guide seemed a bit embarrassed at having “the only mascot in Webster’s dictionary.” Or perhaps it was having to admit that Tufts players used to stroke the stuffed Jumbo before every game. (The elephant was donated by PT Barnum, who I think was trying to find any place that would accept a stuffed elephant. There’s a university born every minute.)
After a few decades of “stroking the elephant”, there was a fire at Tufts, and Jumbo was burned. For a few years, the team would rub the urn containing Jumbo’s ashes—which may actually be worse than stroking a stuffed elephant. Eventually, the school built a statue of Jumbo, and this marble elephant receives the attention originally lavished on the real Jumbo.
Unfortunately, Jumbo was an African elephant, and the statue is of an Indian elephant. Ooops!
Q: What’s the difference between an African elephant and an Indian elephant?
A: An African elephant comes from Africa, and an Indian elephant comes from India, of course!
(YOU thought it was going to have something to do with athletics or competency at mathematics, didn’t you? For shame!)
Q: What do you give a seasick elephant?
A: Lots of room.
Q: What do you get when you cross an elephant with a kangaroo?
A: Giant holes all over Australia!
It was a particularly dull day in the jungle, so the ants challenged the elephants to a game of soccer. It was a hotly contested game, tied at 0 – 0 in the 88th minute, when the ant striker broke away from his defender and ran towards the goal. Desperate, the elephant came up from behind and stomped the ant flat.
This drew an immediate red card, of course, and the ref berated the elephant: “You call that sportsmanship? What in the world were you thinking, squashing your opponent?”
“I wasn’t trying to squash him,” protested the elephant, “I was trying to trip him!”
One of the lasting myths about elephants is that they’re frightened by mice. A lot of folks think its ridiculous, but the folks on Mythbusters actually ran an experiment a few years back to discover the truth of the matter.
Guess what? Elephants ARE afraid of mice. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpTSA_25wGE. And I mean, spinster leaping on top of a chair and swatting it with a broom scared of mice.
This seemed to surprise the Mythbusters a lot more than it did me. I don’t remember the source but somebody (maybe T. H. White?) pointed that men react to bugs just about the way elephants react to mice—and the size differential is about the same.
(I know a really dirty joke about an elephant and a mouse. I can’t post it here, but email me and I’ll tell it to you.)
Q: Why did the elephant cross the road?
A: The chicken was on strike!