George McCafrey* is your run-of-the-mill guy, who enjoys video games, automatic weapons, and long walks on the beach. However his job is a little out of the ordinary, because George* is a professional elephant tickler. You might wonder, why would someone want to tickle elephants, could that possibly even be good for them? The answer is “absolutely”. After a recent internet craze known as “cucumber cat“, scientists have been studying the effects of terror on animals, and they discovered that tickling can induce the same hormones as being chased by a serial-killer cucumber. I know what you’re thinking, “but I like cucumbers, they can’t all be serial killers”. Well they are, so you need to just get over it and move on.
We sat down with George* to find out more about his job, and just how he got into it.
iTag LIVE: So… George*… How? Just how.
George*: Umm… First, I prefer “Mr. Elephant Tickler”. What’s the point of having a title if no one uses it.
iTag LIVE: Oh, sorry, our bad.
George*: Oh well, it’s fine, just try to remember next time. Anyway, I think you were trying to ask how I became an elephant tickler? Well, the long story is that I really love these majestic creatures, and I wanted to try to help them however I could. I heard about elephant tickling on craigslist from an ad, and though that ad turned out to be a pretty shady guy looking for something VERY different, it put me on a trail to discover what elephant tickling really was. Then I found out that the zoo had recently lost one of their ticklers, so I just went ahead and applied.
iTag LIVE: What happened to their other tickler?
George*: He was trampled to death.
iTag LIVE: …
George*: Hey, it’s a cutthroat gig, it’s tickle or be killed out there. I was simply getting an opportunity to do something awesome that the last guy just failed at miserably.
iTag LIVE: Ooookay. So what all does elephant tickling involve? How do you know if you’re doing it right?
George*: Well, it’s a pretty simple process really. You stand or sit directly underneath the elephant and tickle it’s belly with both hands until it pees. Usually you get a little wet from that, so I try to wear a plastic poncho. I used to sit on a little stool below the elephant, but it got crushed. Generally it takes between 3-6 hours to get a real good tickle on, so you have to be patient and ready to tickle when the moment is right. Part of the interview process was being able to do “jazz hands” for at least an hour.
iTag LIVE: Wow, that’s pretty impressive. My hands generally cramp after about 5 minutes. So what does the career path look like for an elephant tickler? Where do you go from here?
George*: Well, that’s kinda tricky. See, tickling is all volunteer work, but I managed to also be able to feed the lions, so I get paid for that. Really, you just have to love your job as a tickler and be happy with where you are.
After concluding our discussion with George*, we reached out to the zoo to see what they could tell us about the history or science of elephant tickling. The zoo declined to comment, though they did ask why anyone would tickle and elephant, and said that they would be looking into this “George*” person.
* Name changed for anonymity