APRIL FOOLS: On the mammoth in the Royal B.C. Museum


I experience no greater moment of awe than I do at the feet of the woolly mammoth.

This elephantine creature inspires a prehistoric admiration deep within my simian being. The arctic winds he weathered. The tundra he survived. The insurmountable obstacles this great pachyderm surpassed. It is a regal beast.

As I reach to touch its gleaming, arcing ivory, as I close my eyes and sieve the tufts of its fur between my rough and weathered fingers, I wish to travel 10 000 years into the past, when the most rugged and elite creature reigned supreme on this cold earth.

“Take me back,” I say. “Take me back,” I whisper to its draping, flaccid trunk. “Take me back to the age in which the world was fair and traversed by such well-bodied beings.”

But he cannot.

He was struck down. With arrows and rocks and spears and sticks, this magnificent specimen of raw nature was destroyed. He was extinguished. But his figure could not be disguised; his beauty could not be hidden.

A security guard beseeches me to descend. I lay on the back of the mammoth, heaving, sobbing. My tears mix with my mustache and the animal’s artificial hide. I cannot come down. I cannot let this grand creature go.

Rain streaks down the windowpanes of the museum. As I inch forward to straddle the neck of the great beast, more security guards appear, form a dragnet about me and my steed. I think of the processed meats these men have subjected themselves to. I think of the wilds they’ve deprived themselves of and the lacklustre coffee they’ve consumed.

I take my throne atop the neck of the mammoth and allow the blustery air conditioning of arctic fans to blow in my face. Let them have me! It is late in the day. I could use an espresso. I should polish my shoes. I’m long overdue for a close shave.