I have a small, magenta (dark pink?) elephant figurine that sits on my dresser. I don’t know what it’s carved from but I thought it was a cool item when I saw in the University of Penn’s Museum Gift Shop. Sometimes you buy things just to buy things. It may be the color, the shape, or it could remind you of someone and to keep that memory alive you throw away a few dollars for the sake of nostalgia. At the time, there was a girl that I liked that had a tattoo of small pink elephant on her forearm. She told me the story about how she got it a year prior with a group of friends to support AIDS research or something along those lines. Whatever. Anyway, I bought the small figurine as gift for her but along the way shit happened and we no longer associated with each other. A blessing in disguise.
So the other day, I’m in my bedroom and I look at the small pink pachyderm that sat idly on the dresser. There was no longer a romantic significance attached. The piece stood as independent entity in need of a newfound importance and I’d find such a thing this morning. The little elephant disrupted my train of thought. Last night while on Instagram, I browsed through the pictures of the renowned Tattoo artist Made Rich and I saw an awesome piece on a woman’s back of a large pink African Elephant. There seemed to be a theme and my inquisitive nature rose to the challenge.
“When there’s something strange in the neighborhood, who ya gonna call?”
GOOGLE. I CALL GOOGLE. Well, rather I used google to look up the symbolism of pink elephants which resulted in interesting information. My first discovery was an old euphemism for drunk hallucinations. I’ve been drunk before. Drunk off of my ass and I never saw pink elephants unless you would count a loud large woman in a pink tank top singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” at the top of her lungs in a bar at 2am. And the other – a holier option – was Ganesh, the Hindu deity of fortune, prosperity ,success and the God of Beginnings also the “Remover of Obstacles”. Seemed pretty legit to me.
Further searching led me to Disney’s 1941 film Dumbo. There’s a scene where Dumbo and his sidekick Timothy Mouse become intoxicated after drinking spiked water. Timothy asks Dumbo to blow bubbles which leads to a drunken hallucination filled with Pink Elephants. I hadn’t seen the movie in quite a while but “Pink Elephants On Parade” is legendary and by today’s trendy standards, TRIPPY. Some of the lyrics to the song that accompanies the scene are:
“I could stand the sight of worms
And look at microscopic germs
But technicolor pachyderms
Is really too much for me!”
After reading this, I began to interpret it as a fear of the unknown or a fear of what’s different. And then it happened, I started to see myself as one of the Pink Elephants from Dumbo. Weird, strange, all around unpredictable; That’s been my modus operandi. Maybe the figurine in my bedroom stands as a reminder to always remember who and what I am. The Pink Elephants on Parade are beings that march to the beat of their own drum. Creatures that know nothing but happiness in their lives because they are quite content with their identities. Pink Elephants are magic and we as people should all strive to be the same.