Three chairs were spaced evenly about my client’s round conference table.
A smallish elephant entered the room and sat in the third chair. The elephant wore a tightly fitted t-shirt printed with the phrase, “Stronger Together.”
“Why is he in my room?” My client asked me, nonplussed. The elephant looked at me and gave me a wink—he and I had already been in several meetings together. By he, I assumed she was asking about the elephant since I already knew I was a he. (The pay me for my broad powers of deductive reasoning.)
“You should know,” I told her, and I returned the elephant’s wink. “He’s your elephant. Besides, your other two elephants are busy meeting with your colleagues.” I removed a bag of roasted peanuts from my backpack. The elephant reached across the table with his trunk and grabbed the bag.
“What’s with his t-shirt?”
“He wore it to annoy me.” I showed her my baseball cap with the words, “Make Healthcare Great Again” embroidered on the front.
“Why are you feeding him?”
“If I don’t feed him he will talk during the entire meeting.”
“He talks?” The elephant cleared his throat and winked at her. “And what’s with the winking?”
“He winks because his eye leaks. The veterinarian says he suffers from winki-leaks. All elephants talk, but very few people listen to what they have to say. You and I have been working together for four months and this is the first time you’ve even mentioned the elephant.”
“Do you mean he’s been here before?”
“As I said, he is your elephant, not mine. He was here before you and I met the first time.”
“Can’t you make him leave?” She asked me.
“Now that you have acknowledged that he exists I can.”
Dear readers, the next time you are in a meeting and you see an empty chair ask yourself this question, “Is the chair really empty, or are you just not seeing your elephant?”
(And if you do see the elephant, tell him to take off that stupid t-shirt.)