DEAR ANNIE: Twenty-five years ago, my husband and I honeymooned in Kenya. While there, we both fell in love with elephants. We discovered that they are one of the most intelligent and kindest animals around. While on safari, we witnessed a baby elephant crying. The entire family went over to comfort her. The elephants seemed to express a tremendous amount of compassion.
Recently, for our 25th anniversary, my husband gave me a beautiful brooch shaped like an elephant. The next day, I went to my jeweler to have the brooch appraised for insurance purposes. The jeweler determined that it’s made of 18-karat gold, diamonds... and ivory. I was shocked. How could my husband buy ivory in the States? Given the fact that elephants are an endangered species, I thought ivory was banned.
I immediately called my husband and asked him where he bought this. He said the local pawnshop. Is it still legal to buy ivory in America? — Elephant Lover
Dear Elephant Lover: It’s fitting your letter reached me in time for Mother’s Day, as elephants are known to make terrific moms and they help look after one another’s young. You’re correct that they’re intelligent creatures. According to California Institute of Technology biologist Atiya Hakeem, elephants have an “unusually large and convoluted hippocampus,” the area of the brain associated with emotion and memory — which may explain their reputation for never forgetting.
Though it’s unfortunate your husband accidentally purchased ivory when trying to commemorate your love for the species, it was an honest mistake — and probably something he didn’t even think to check for. After looking into it, I also was shocked to find out you can legally buy ivory in the States if it’s in an antique piece.
For information about protecting this beautiful species, visit www.wcs.org/96-elephants. You can also visit Change.org and sign the petition titled “Ban ALL Ivory in the U.S. to Stop Cruel Elephant Poaching.”
DEAR ANNIE: I’ve been suffering from migraines for about 10 years. If you’re about to tell me a great cure you’ve heard of, don’t. That’s exactly why I’m writing.
For 10 years, I’ve tried tips and tricks of every kind. I’ve tried herbal medicines, non-herbal medicines, dietary restrictions, dietary additions — you name it.
I’ve seen several specialists. I’ve tried acupuncture. The list is too long to mention here, but rest assured that it’s exhaustive.
I’ve gotten to a point where I have a good routine down for the management of migraines. At this point, the real pain is other people. Virtually every time I tell someone about my migraines, the person instantly rattles off a few suggestions.
I know that people mean well, but my patience has spread thin. Now I avoid telling people about my migraines and make up other reasons when I miss events or am out sick. It’s just easier to lie.
Please, everyone, unless a migraine sufferer specifically asks for your tips and tricks, save them. — Tired of the Tips
Dear Tired of the Tips: There’s no irritant quite like unsolicited advice. When someone is venting about health problems, usually the best thing you can offer is a listening ear. I’m printing your letter for all the well-meaning would-be advisers.