Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Lighthouse and Elephants

 I really like lighthouses. There is something very romantic about lighthouses. First, the imagery of a lighthouse can so easily be used as a metaphor for something deeper. Second, lighthouse keepers seem like interesting characters. I imagine most lighthouse keepers as being mysterious and wise. Third, somethings about lighthouses seem old-fashioned and quaint, in a good way! Here are some pictures from the lighthouse (and surrounding beach) on Vashon island.

Blue Face

Blue Face

  Today while listening to a podcast about animals, I 'learned' something amazing about elephants! According to the podcast, during the Tsunami in Thailand in 2004, elephants used their trunks to sweep up people and toss them on their backs to save them from being swallowed by the sea. When I heard this story, I thought 'Elephants! They are amazing!' But in recalling this story, there is a reason I put 'learned' in quotations. According to Snopes, this story isn't true! Sometimes it is better not to investigate improbable stories. I want to live in a world where elephants save people from tsunamis!
  But while I still thought this story was true, I came up with an idea for a comic book called 'Adventures of Elephant Woman!' As a child, Elephant Woman was abandoned in the woods. While most small children would perish left to their own devices in the woods, Elephant woman was saved by the kindness of an elephant family. The  family of elephants adopted her and raised her, just like stories of feral children being raised by wolves, but lucky Elephant Woman was raised by animals with a kinder reputation. Most of her childhood, she thought she was a small elephant, until it occurred to her that she does not have floppy ears and her nose is just a tiny thing, not a long trunk! With great sadness, she realized she is much different then her elephant brethren. Even though her elephant family treated her as if she is one of them, she felt like an outsider. So, in an attempt to better fit in, she made a trunk and giant ears out of mud, vines and leaves, sculpting the materials into a trunk-like mask. It was not a real trunk and sagged lifelessly in front of her face, but it was better than the ostentatious button-nose and puny ears she was born with.
  One night, Elephant Woman woke up from a nightmare. Restless and antsy, she got up to take a walk. This is when a flash of light illuminated the sky and a loud crashing shook the earth. Ten feet away from her was a grand crater made from a falling asteroid! Elephant Woman, not trained in proper human safety precautions, decided to investigate. But the asteroid was riddled with mutant alien bacteria! Elephant woman breathed in the bacteria and it some how distorted her DNA. The distorted DNA made it so her real nose fused with her elephant nose and the elephant nose became real! The same thing happened with her fake elephant ears! No longer was the trunk a useless appendage. No longer were her ears a silly facsimile of real elephant ears.  She could swing her trunk about and use it just as a real elephant uses a trunk. She could hear real sounds through her giant elephant ears.
  But while Elephant Woman is investigating the asteroids, cruel poachers murder her elephant family. Just when she feels she can truly fit in with her elephant family, they are gone forever. Elephant Woman is filled with rage and a need for vengeance. She travels to the city to seek out the cruel poachers and wreck havoc on all humankind!
  That would be comic number one, but at some point Elephant Woman would realize not all humans are cruel and it will become her mission to seek out evil-doers, using her mutant trunk to teach them errors of their ways. I am not exactly sure how she would use her trunk to teach them the errors of their ways. Maybe by slapping them, or just by scaring them because a person with a trunk would at the very least startle a person. Her giant ears will also give her super human hearing, which is always handy when trying to foil evil-doers. Eventually she will also use her trunk to rescue people (from tsunamis even!). Maybe not the most scientifically accurate idea for a comic, but I don't think that is important for comics.
  One thing the Snopes article did concede was that one little girl was rescued because she was on the back of an elephant when it trotted away to higher ground, rescuing the girl in the process. I bet this little girl will have a life long love for elephants. And probably a life long dislike for the sea. It is one of those stories where if the event that caused the rescue wasn't so horrific, it would be really cool for the little girl because it sounds like something that would happen in a kids book. 


Optimistic Existentialist said...

I have always wanted to see a lighthouse in person! Sadly, there are none in KY of course. I want to see one in 2014 though so I am hoping to plan any travel destination accordingly :)

The Beans said...

After reading the premises of Elephant Woman, it seems to me that you are on the right path to become the next modern Ruyard Kipling.

And the lighthouse photographs reminded me of home...