Things I Collect Without Knowing
Ryan Hussey
71

I Collect Elephants

I collect elephants. I never wanted to collect elephants. I never set out to collect elephants. But you tell one person, once, while watching the Discovery channel, “Aw, an elephant! I love elephants!” and they think it’s nice to get you a little elephant figurine to put on your desk.

Then someone sees the elephant figurine on your desk and thinks, “Hey, she loves elephants. It’ll be nice to get her another.” And then you have two elephant figurines.

Then people start seeking out excuses to get you elephants. Birthdays, Christmas, National Elephant Day (August 12). I have two elephant necklaces. I have an elephant ring. I have a stuffed elephant named George and a wooden elephant from Africa with a broken trunk. My mother got me an elephant that doubles as a jewelry holder; my sister got me a little purple one that’s also an eraser. Hanging from my keyring is a blue elephant from my dad.

I have elephant stress balls, elephant pen holders. Expensive Lenox elephants and ones made of brass. I have a heavy paperweight of two elephants dancing. I have a big stone elephant whose mouth is open so a wine bottle can fit in it.

These gifts never mean anything to me at the time they’re given. But looking at them now, most gathered in a menagerie on my desk, I’m glad I have them. They’ve become a small part of my story.