A White Elephant
For all man’s belief in his superiority – top of the food chain – smarter – better – faster rhetoric – I’m always amused at how often people reference a human situation and then add an animal into the mix for ease of explanation.
Take the story of the white elephant – it is a commonly used phrase about having to deal with a really burdensome possession that one can’t get rid of – or that is incredibly costly to keep up – financially or emotionally.
Let’s say that your in-laws just gave you their old dining room set. The one they no longer like or want. It doesn’t suit your condo at all but you smile at your wife and say “wow” and wonder if you can accidently set it on fire. That gift is a white elephant.
The story comes from The King of Siam who would give an elephant to someone who had fallen out of royal favour. The hope was that the gift would financially ruin the recipient due to the high cost of maintaining such an animal. Of course one could never give away a gift from the king! A white elephant can also mean a business venture or a wild scheme that has absolutely no value or chance of success!