Saturday, March 7, 2009

Next, A Moose Head

Electronic devices have topped the list of preferred gifts for normal American males for years now, and for years Dave has asked for an elephant's-foot wastebasket for Christmas. You can draw any conclusion from that that you wish, including that Dave is an antique or possibly deceased British gentleman from the Raj era given to monocles, pipe-smoking and imperialism. Or, he is not normal. As you prefer. It's all the same to me.

But a while back I decided the only way to get him to quit asking for such a revolting item would be to make him one. First step is to look it up online, and sure enough, there is such a thing as a wastebasket made of a sawed-off elephant's foot, and there is no effort made to pretty it up. Anyone who has one of these objects in his possession is seriously depraved, and no mistake. I know there is a tendency towards hyperbole these days, days in which failing to strap a bike helmet on your child constitutes abuse, and meat is murder; but I will state here unequivocally that elephant's-foot wastebaskets are way worse than eating a hamburger.

One night I concocted a plan involving ceramic elephant toenails and batting and fabric and flour paste and a lot of criss-crossing with dental floss to simulate wrinkles, with the intention of removing the floss once the fabric was dry. It beats staying awake worrying about your finances, although it's just as effective from an insomnia point of view. Once I got the toenails back from the kiln, it was going to have to be a quick operation so as to achieve full wrinkle while the foot was still wet. You never know how these things are going to work out until you try: as the old saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing fancy to toss your toilet-paper tube in. Well, it didn't work so well. I couldn't keep the fabric straight, and it tended to wrinkle up on its own, so I changed gears and went with that, only it took more and more fabric, until finally I had about forty bucks invested in cotton elephant skin. If I'd had to take down a real elephant, though, I'm sure it would have cost a lot more, even if I sold off the other three wastebaskets.

Dave ain't right, but he ain't bad, either, and he probably envisioned the wastebasket as the perfect accessory for his beloved bathroom, which he designed himself with wainscoting and dentil molding and nickel-plated faucets and a marble floor and an art collection. He spends an awful lot of time in there and it pleases him to have fancy surroundings, even if all he's doing is the same thing England did to India.


  1. Well I had to google elephant foot waste basket just to see for myself! There is quite a bit on them- your story being 4th! But it took awhile to find a photo- and when I did... well all I can say is, Dave, you are one lucky dude. And Murr don't tell Dave but they have hampers out there too!

  2. Now I know just what to get my son for his birthday!
    How much are you charging for one?
    Or are you only selling them in bulk?

  3. This is from Jerry,
    I just had to try to post. Annie says she has trouble, but...
    Anyway, love your thoughts and all.

    Love from Jerry

  4. Y'all should see the blue heron toilet plunger she made me!

  5. Oh



    In Kruger Park in South Africa, I took a small bite of a sloppy Joe filled with mystery meat, then got very suspicious when, under all the tangy sauce, i realized I didn't know even what family of animal I might be consuming. I asked our trip leader who replied, "I think it's elephant."
    Doubled over, ran to the patio, and spat the thing out into the bushes. Then fed the rest to some yellow-billed hornbills, who obviously didn't think as highly of elephants as do I, or were fooled by the tangy sauce.

    I am so glad to know someone, even on the InterWebs, who

    a. knows that elephant foot wastebaskets exist and
    b. has made a convincing simulacrum thereof and
    c. can write like a banshee.

  6. Let's us be the Writing Banshee Sisters!

  7. i bought a dried elephant foot from someone who went on safari in the late 50s for a 150$

  8. Y'all should see the blue heron toilet plunger she made me!