So, there was this moment a few weeks ago when everything seemed to have to do with elephants. My brother's girlfriend came over wearing an elephant hair bracelet (and it occurred to me that I'd never touched elephant hair); I read an article about Chris Ofili using elephant poop in his paintings and as little pedestals on which to rest his paintings (I cannot get over this); I read another bit in the New Yorker about this aerial photographer commissioned to document the elephant population (he expected to come back with surprisingly hopeful findings and was instead incredibly dismayed); and Rachel Domm was in India INSTAGRAMING elephants bathing.
I needed to talk about elephants. I had to know if Rachel had seen their poop. (I had a strong vision of it from the Ofili article and imagined it to have as much personality as the pachyderms from whom it came. I needed to hear from someone who had seen it firsthand.) We decided to meet, on the internet, at 8—under the sign of elephant poop, because "8" looks just like two elephant poops stacked one on top of the other. I was in luck. She had seen their poop. I asked her if it was as special as I thought it was. She said yes. I requested documentation (and here it is).
Our conversation took the obvious turns. We talked about elephants mourning for each other, shared youtube videos, wondered if ivory regulation will help at all. There really was something to the poop though. Something about it disappearing along with the elephants struck a chord with me. There might be no more of it. I had thought about the possibility of elephants becoming extinct, but I had never considered that if they died out, there would be no more elephant poop. And I had only just discovered elephant poop. What if we could get others to share this fascination? What if elephant poop surpassed ivory in demand? Maybe that's the ticket to saving the elephants.
In case we're right, we've decided to start using elephant poop to make things you might want—talismans, ornaments, tabletop sculptures, trifles, implements, all the things for which you might find an ivory counterpart.