I am a big fan of Penn & Teller. I like their magic. I like their documentaries. And, as I have discovered recently, I like Penn’s writing. I have been reading his latest book, Presto! How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales. It is an entertaining story of how with the help of Ray Cronise, a character in his own right, he sheds over 100 pounds by going against common weight loss wisdom.

I have come to a lot of the same conclusions as CrayRay, as Penn so colorfully calls him, about how the human body works. I may try his radical diet at some point but first I’m going to read the rest of Penn’s book and then see if I can get my hands on Ray’s book. I looked on Amazon and Google and was unable to find anything.

I used a phrase the other day, “seeing the elephant.” It was a phrase that my mother used on occasion. She explained it to me as meaning realizing your mortality. I looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered that it had a much broader and varied meaning.

It has been in use for over a hundred years and the connotation associated with it has varied from excited at the prospect of a new adventure. To disappointment associated with an experience that one had expected to be exciting.

A speculation that was advanced in the Wikipedia article suggested that it might have derived from a story of a farmer that, while driving his wagon to town to see the circus, ran into the circus parade. His horses were spooked by the elephants and overturned his wagon full of produce. The farmer said “I don’t give a hang! I have seen the elephant.”

It is as good an explanation as any. It certainly broadens my understanding of the phrase. I intend to keep it close at hand in case it is appropriate in something I am writing.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the people you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.