You Can Be an Elk
I go to breakfast at the Elks Club on S. Magnolia today
                        and figure I fit in pretty well till I hear an Elkette say, 
"Well, I see not everybody's an Elk here this morning." 

What is an Elk, by which I mean not the large hooved 
                        land mammal common to North America and Eastern 
Asia but the man who belongs to a local chapter of that 

redoubtable fraternal order, just as Elkettes are, according 
                        to the web site, “determined and dedicated women” who 
participate “in the general welfare of their community 

and their Elks Lodge in reaching goals not otherwise 
                        obtainable.” I could be all the things I’ve never been: 
soldier, athlete, skydiver, Jane Austen heroine. 

It would just be a matter of completing boot camp, 
                        discovering a sport I’m good at, having someone shove 
me out of an airplane since there’s no way I’d do it myself, 

and learning to do needlework and play the pianoforte, 
                        which can’t be that hard since I can already sew a button 
on a pair of shorts and strum a guitar. Earlier this week

I was reading John Dewey at McDonald’s and took 
                        a break to talk to a crossing guard who told me that 
little kids want to be good but don’t pay attention (“well, 

half of them don’t”), although he can see them take 
                        the world in bit by bit and process it and change their 
behavior, sometimes in ways he hardly expects. The great 

philosopher had just said the same thing this way: “As with 
                        the advance of an army, all gains from what has been 
already effected are periodically consolidated, and always 

with a view to what is to be done next.” That’s the secret 
                        to reaching goals not otherwise obtainable, isn’t it? 
Gradual degrees. I’m pretty sure I was the only one reading 

John Dewey at that McDonald’s, but, yeah, there are 
                        philosophers everywhere, and I've never met a single one 
who wasn't willing to share his philosophy; all you have

to do is give them a little head toss and say, "What's 
                        your job like?" Not everybody’s an Elk. But you could
 be an Elk if you wanted to be—okay, not the animal.
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