Watch Out For The Free Elephant
Once upon a long time ago, I owned a circus. Jugglers, fire-eaters, unicyclists, tightrope walkers, acrobats, and clowns. We performed with symphony orchestras in great halls for thousands and in small schools and parks for a few families. It was great fun and we made a living.
One day a man came up to me and said ” I love what you do and want to help you be even more successful, I ‘d like to offer you a free elephant.”
I thought ” Wow, how kind, how generous, so many more people will want to see our show if we had an elephant, what a great offer! ”
We had a nice dinner, he showed me pictures of this beautiful 6 ton 12 feet tall creature, explained all her great tricks, then over coffee, asked when I could pick her up.
That’s when it hit me. Pick her up- in what? I was going to have to buy a tractor trailer, an $80,000 item.
Where would the elephant live? The average zoo provides 2 acres per elephant in the USA. I was going to have to move to a bigger place.
Elephants are the largest living land animals. Elephants eat 200 pounds of hay, grain, grass; 40 pounds chopped fruits and vegetables; (they don’t like cucumbers and broccoli); and 20 pounds whole fruit costing about $100 every day or $36,000 per year.
50% to 80% of the nutrients they consume are not fully digested and become elephant manure. What was I going to do with a daily 160 pound pile of pachyderm poop?
Needless to say The No Elephant Circus remained elephant free.
It is often said that “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”. Most everything offered “for free” comes with the proverbial “strings attached”. So, if someone offers you a “free elephant” my advice is to politely decline.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.