Tuesday, October 02, 2012

How To Eat An Elephant, Revisited



The popular saying goes: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Good wisdom I will agree. However at face value, this strategy presents some problems and complications: Although a metaphor, the entire concept of eating an elephant as a solution to tackling larger problems brings its own challenges.

I am a vegetarian. Therefore eating an elephant would not resolve anything for me. I just couldn't do it.

Supposing the elephant would be eaten one bite at a time, one would first need to kill the elephant. That in and of itself presents a great challenge: What instrument would you choose to kill it? Would you choose a gun? Do you have one powerful enough? Posion? Would that contaminate the elephant meat? What about the mess that a dead elephant would leave in the middle of your floor?

OK, so you've killed the elephant. Now you must prepare it for consumption. Being a vegetarian, I am no expert on eating elephant meat, but I do believe that you would need to skin it first. I'm pretty sure elephant hide is pretty tough, so the knife would need would have to be very sharp and big.

Once you have the thick skin removed and the meat is exposed, the challenge of preparation arises. Unless you decide to eat raw elephant meat, you would need to cook it. (Boil, roast, grill, fry, blackened... your choice.)

And then following the metaphor of eating an elephant one bite at a time, one would need to store/preserve the uneaten elephant meat. This would require hiring a butcher (or a team of butchers) to clean and dress the elephant meat, and one very large freezer to store it in until your next bite/meal.

But we're not done yet: I do know that when butchering an animal, there are some leftover parts that must be disposed of. It's messy, but mandatory. Many trash cans? Dumpster? Local business' dumpster in the middle of the night?

I am guessing that you get my point here: Eating an elephant one bite at a time is not just a cute, catchy phrase. Although it is a way of tackling a problem, this solution carries with it some problems of its own.

In my next post I will offer some alternatives to eating the elephant when solving problems. (Click here for How To Eat An Elephant, Revisited - Part II)

Question: Have you ever tried to eat an elephant one bite at a time as a solution to a problem? What were your results? Share your thoughts below in comments.

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