We live in a time of obsessive safety. Every item for sale in this great land is scrutinized from front to back, top to bottom, for any possible injury causing attribute. Designers rework their products endlessly attempting to prevent even the most advanced ignoramus from successfully modifying their product into an efficient eye removal tool. Parents clothe their offspring in enough protective layers that a fall from a supersonic jet would merely result in a severely dented Earth and a child confused because he had never been left outside before.
All of these “advances” have left us with a populace that has no taste for risk. Whereas, in truly free times, risks were measured against limb loss, today the picture of great risk is chafing from jeans sized too tightly. This diminished level of risk has also lead us to a diminished level of accomplishment. Previous generations designed craft that traveled to the moon. Airplanes were designed to fly many times the speed of sound. Today we dare not go too fast for our carbon footprint may expand and the sky god may look at us crossly.
Even the realm of sport has been affected. There once was a time when a small boy, beset with physical altercations with other children, was encouraged to learn the art of boxing. Today such strengthening activities are banished, replaced with the stupefyingly boring and useless game of soccer. One dare not build a rocket to the stars if one believes it is too high a risk to climb a tree.
My research into other more enlightened times has lead me to the opinion that we must begin to loose elephants upon the main town thoroughfares. One hundred years ago every town was filled with tinkerers, thinkers and men of action. Men would build racing cars of their own design. Airplanes were fashioned out of left over lumber and twine. In the midst of this hive of productivity, traveling circuses crossed the land. Farm boys with no experience in exotic animals were now suddenly in charge of lions and elephants and bears. These risks brought people great entertainment but quite often at the price of these animals running rampant through a town.
For example, San Francisco in 1908 had a wonderful exhibition of the true forces of nature when an elephant frightened an entire town by running through two people and a horse. Is there any more clarifying experience than being chased through your living room by a rampaging elephant? Should we be surprised that San Francisco then became a center for great electronic development?
Tip was an elephant constantly in a fit of rage throughout the last decade of the nineteenth century in New York City. In his time he killed one handler and threw many others about the landscape yet was still used in shows up until the time he was put down. Is it any wonder that this was the age of vigorous New Yorkers named Theodore Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan? Is it any wonder that this was the beginning of the time when New York became the central powerhouse of world finance and culture?
The evidence is clear and overwhelming. The constant releasing of wild, dangerous animals in our most populated areas will lead us to regain that sense that anything is possible. Any town with a centralized population and a rogue elephant may become the next center of thought! It is just that simple of an equation! We must stop this ruinous regulation of traveling animal shows. When these purveyors of great entertainment come to our towns city fathers can even help the process along with gifts of rum and women of loose morals. Their distraction today could lead to tomorrow’s flying automobile!