The Blind Men and the Elephant

An updated version of the Hindu parable, “The Blind Men and the Elephant”

(See the updated blind men parable below.)

Nine blind men and an extremely near-sighted old woman were asked to describe an elephant by touch alone.

The Blind Men and the Elephant“Well, blah, blah, blah,” said the first, who could see only himself and his relatives. “My family owns this damn elephant, señors y señorita, so kindly return him to my awesome brother who kept us safe, and my Pappy.”

Then he sat down and began to sulk. “Forty-one and Forty-three,” he muttered, “with el presidente Zero. I already hate Thanksgiving.”

“It’s obvious that the elephant is very like a wall,” said the second of the blind men, as he ran his hand up the great beast’s side.

“I am super smart and super rich,” he boasted loudly, “so I know that there are rapists and drug dealers, and also I suppose some very nice people too, on the other side. I’m gonna make them pay for this elephant. Here, have a baseball cap.”

In the corner, a former neurosurgeon babbled insanely to himself. “This elephant is worse than Hitler, the Holocaust, abortion, and slavery,” he mumbled. “It’s even worse than breaching the Second Amendment. If you want help, just ask the guy behind the counter.”

Nearby, a small Hispanic man, blinded equally by greed and ambition, felt carefully around the elephant’s knee. “It’s bent in supplication,” he observed. “And I know to whom and why and especially how.”

He grovelled and scraped in the dirt, then held out his grubby hands. Dollar bills from Las Vegas and other dark, unidentifiable sources magically came flying in. The young man unhesitatingly sold out his his people, his senate seat and above all his soul.

“This beast is like a big, strong, manly, nuclear missile,” said the fourth blind man, suggestively stroking the elephant’s long, hard tusk. A slender figure with pretty blue eyes and an attractive southern drawl, he added: “In fact, two big, strong, manly, nuclear missiles. I’d love to make them fire off, y’all. Not that I need to compensate or anything.”

The fifth blind man grabbed the elephant roughly by its ear. “This pachyderm blows too easily in the wind,” he snarled. “In Texas, we cook our bacon on our guns, and that applies to elephants too. In fact, our state elephant goes wherever we want without even being told. We just say ‘Guns and God’ and he obediently moves himself.”

The cross-eyed Texan continued: “If this critter wants to go anywhere it better stop flapping in the cross breeze and start moving, and I mean backwards. Oh, the places you’ll not go! You get me, Sam I Am?”

Meanwhile, the near-sighted old crone had been peering and prodding under the elephant’s hairy tail.

“Well, its primary function appears to be very like the HP Deskjet SuperLaser ColorTru 3000,” she twittered, as the great beast’s rear end suddenly began spewing an unending stream of warm, aromatic manure.

“Or is it,” she briefly wondered, “more like a power-mad CEO shedding 30,000 jobs in one go?”

Then she swiftly pulled back, as the stench of what the animal was actually doing hit her. “No, wait a minute,” she gagged, “it’s more like Fox News. Hey, it is Fox News! Let me jump in, please!”

The three evangelical Christian blind men in the group simultaneously, and as if by blind instinct or unbreakable habit, found their way unerringly to the elephant’s lengthy member. Blinded irretrievably by their faith, none was able to objectively describe what they all felt.

“Damn thing is nothing but a disgusting, repellent, nauseating, revolting, filthy, repulsive, detumescent dick,” insisted the one with cute dimples. “So it has to be Bill O’Reilly.”

But the other two stubbornly argued for Dick Cheney. “They don’t call him Dick for nothing,” they pointed out.

After a few moments of further bickering, the trio agreed that the elephant’s abhorrent member actually resembled all of them lumped together, including Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and radio-host Mark Levin who was, they assumed, the smegma oozing from beneath its foreskin.

“You can tell by the smell,” dimples noted poetically.

The agitated Gang of Ten continued to argue in blind ignorance about the nature of the beast, its history, its temperament, and above all its destiny.

Then one of them pointed out that it seemed more like a rhino than an elephant, and the relatively calm discussion disintegrated into general fighting.

The Blind Men and the Elephant

by John Godfrey Saxe

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me!—but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried: “Ho!—what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he;
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

So, oft in theologic wars
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

Michael Egan