Thursday, December 16, 2004

Stalking the White Elephant


Just in case you were curious, I looked up why a white elephant gift is called a white elephant, I looked it up on the Web:

white elephant

An unwanted or useless item, as in The cottage at the lake had become a real white elephant--too run down to sell, yet costly to keep up, or Grandma's ornate silver is a white elephant; no one wants it but it's too valuable to discard. This expression comes from a legendary former Siamese custom whereby an albino elephant, considered sacred, could only be owned by the king. The king would bestow such an animal on a subject with whom he was displeased and wait until the high cost of feeding the animal, which could not be slaughtered, ruined the owner. The story was told in England in the 1600s, and in the 1800s the term began to be used figurative
ly.

white elephant
n.

    1. A rare, expensive possession that is a financial burden to maintain.
    2. Something of dubious or limited value.
  1. An article, ornament, or household utensil no longer wanted by its owner.
  2. An endeavor or venture that proves to be a conspicuous failure.
  3. A rare whitish or light-gray form of the Asian elephant, often regarded with special veneration in regions of southeast Asia and India.

That being said, after our office White Elephant exchange, I decided I should go into business selling people White Elephant gifts for family and office exchanges, because I never seem to run out of them. And my White Elephant gifts seem to be a hit in an “I can’t believe anyone ever owned one” kind of way.

It would be a great way to get rid of all of the crap I’ve accumulated. Ebay hasn’t proven to be as an efficient and lucrative trash disposal unit as I’d hoped. I did look up whiteelephant.com to see if it was taken and of course it was. Domain names are the beanie babies of this generation. Everyone buys them thinking they’ll be able to sell them for a profit. Yeah…

Anyway, happy holidays and let me know if you need any white elephant gifts. But I’m not parting with the mechanical monkey.

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