Monday, November 5, 2012

Blind Guys and an Elephant

Several blind men took a bet that they could not correctly identify an object by touch. They were led to an elephant, and they began to feel around to try to figure out what it was. As they were doing this, the elephant spoke to them (because this is a special elephant, and anyway it's my story and I want him to, so there) and said "Hey guys, let me help you out - I'm an elephant."

Ignoring the elephant's words, the blind men began to touch its body. One of them touched the elephant's leg and proclaimed, "I know! It's a concrete pillar!" The elephant tried to correct the man, saying, "No, I'm an elephant. Like I already told you. Not a pillar, an elephant. That's my leg." But the blind man continued to ignore him, insisted that it was a pillar, and wondered what manner of capital adorned the structure.

Another touched his trunk, and announced that he had found a large snake. The elephant yelled "No! That's my trunk, not a snake. Listen guys: I am an elephant. E-L-E-P-H-A-N-T. Elephant!" The blind man continued to disregard him, debating whether he had found a python or a boa constrictor, and whether such a distinction really mattered for the bet anyway. "Of course it doesn't matter" said the elephant, "because both answers are completely wrong. It doesn't matter which you pick, you lose." The blind man decided to go with 'python'.

Others took their best guesses, suggesting that the elephant's tusks were spears and that the ears were old canvas tarpaulins. All along the elephant kept trying to correct them, and the blind men kept completely ignoring him. Finally the elephant let out an exasperated bellow, which the blind men thought might be the brass section of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. "Oh for crying out loud! LONDON?!? Yes, blind men, the streets of London are just overflowing with elephants. Are you even trying? No, you're not, or else you would have listened when I told you the answer. Forget this, I'm out of here." And the elephant stormed off.

The blind men submitted their answers to the bet. Since they couldn't arrive at a consensus answer, they decided that each would just answer whatever he wanted, because they all were right in some way. That way, they would all win the bet!

But no, they all lost. You know, because they were all completely wrong.

When the verdict was announced, the blind men indignantly protested, "Why didn't anyone try to tell us?"

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