Brooklyn. NYC. A young elephant on the cusp of exasperation called Dr. Fixitt’s Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Practice late last night and left a rather unsettling message. Mr. Ellie requested an emergency appointment in the morning following one of the most stressful days he had ever experienced.
Dr. Fixitt couldn’t squeeze him in (no pun intended) until early afternoon, but Ellie seemed to be happy with the solution he was offered. “At this point, Dr. Fixitt, I am grateful that you even listened to my message. The fact that your assistant called me back already boosted my mood immensely. You have no idea how much time I have been spending in a room full of people who would utterly ignore my existence to the point where I myself was starting to doubt I was there, to begin with. Of course, according to Berkeley if an elephant is in a room and no one looks at it, he is still there, right? But you know what, it really doesn’t feel like it, once you’re in that position.”
“Awww, Ellie. Can I call you Ellie? I totally understand where you are coming from, but I reckon you’re not here to discuss perception and reality, are you? Besides, you know, Berkeley had a general problem with vision. He wrote an entire book about it. It’s a great companion to outsiders of all kinds, just so you know.”
“Ummm, you’re not really helping me right now, Doc. Can I call you Doc?”
“Of course. And I’m sorry. Please continue. You were saying people tend to ignore you and that hurts your feelings.”
“Yes, it has really taken a toll on my self esteem. Being an elephant is a really cool thing, our memory is impressive, we are enormous sweethearts, and are actually led by our women. You see, we don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Did you know multiple plants were named in our honor: the wonderful Elephant Ears, the curious Elephant’s Foot, or the imposing Elephant Head. We are loved and respected everywhere, just not among humans. If I’m in a room full of people, knowing I am on average 80 times bigger than any of them – I am fairly sure that they see me, yet – nothing, zero, nil. Not there. It sucks, Doc.”
“Ellie, have you tried drawing their attention to your presence? Did you try to break the ice? I mean, you shouldn’t have any trouble doing that.”
“Doc!!! Your comments are kinda weird, but to answer your question, I haven’t, to be honest. I am a bit shy and don’t like to draw excessive attention to myself. However, dunno, they could at least say hi, some eye contact, a wave would be nice. Is that too much to ask for?”
“I see you have put a lot of thought and energy into this situation and it has brought you a lot of sorrow. What would you say if I told you you can shift your perspective. You could take all that precious mental fuel and invest it in something else, something worthwhile and constructive? What if I told you, you could take back control by, for example, renouncing the desire to be seen and ?”
“Ooooooooooh! I never thought about it that way, Doc. A change of focus. Hmmm.. By the way, what kind of vision issues did Berkeley have exactly? If I come back the same time next week and I will have read his book, can we exchange opinions about it? People? What people?”, Ellie happily danced out of Dr. Fixitt’s office.