June 25, 2003

Don't Have A Cow, Man

Don't Have A Cow, Man

Cow. Cows.

Say either of those words enough times, and I swear they'll lose all meaning to you. Cow. Cow. Cow. Cows. Cow. Cows. Cow. Cow. Cows.

I grew up around cows. Cows were everywhere. I just learned to take them for granted, kind of like tap water. They were just there, behind fences, munching grass (the cows, I mean, not the tap water).

If you think about it, should mankind disappear entirely from the planet, cows would be the next to go. They simply have no survival instincts, unless staring blankly somehow constitutes a survival instinct. Seriously, the next time you drive past a herd of cows, be sure to blow your horn and assess their reaction. I'll bet good money that the entire herd will simply stop in their tracks and swivel their heads toward you, as if they're expecting a great Shakespearian play or something. How could that possibly be considered a survival instinct? Cows would be no match for a pack of wolves, or even a pack of turtles for that matter.

Growing up in Harmony, Minn., a small town located dangerously close to the evil state of Iowa, I just became accustomed to the omnipresence of cows. A cow could have walked right down the middle of main street and I'd think, "Huh, a cow. I wonder who it belongs to." I wouldn't wonder why it was walking or standing in the middle of main street, or even how it got there. I would just accept it as normal. Such is the wonder of growing up in rural Minnesota.

During a recent drive back to my hometown, however, I started thinking back on just how much cows have played a role in my life. As much as I hate to admit it, I think perhaps 30 percent of who I am today was shaped in some fashion by cows. Some of the memories that are the most seared into my mind are cow-related.

Take, for example, a field trip I took in elementary school to the local veterinary clinic. Although we were warned ahead of time that we may see some distasteful things, I was in no way prepared for the procedure I witnessed involving the cesarean delivery of a calf. For the record, I firmly believe no child is truly prepared to witness the cesarean delivery of a calf.

Right before my young astonished eyes, a thick yellow topical antiseptic was slathered on the side of a disinterested cow, diligently chewing her cud. The yellow goop was allowed to sink in for awhile before a veterinarian ran a blade along her side, unzipping her flesh in such a way that even Freddy Krueger would flinch. Then, the veterinarian reached deeply into the cow's side, fished out a live baby calf, and deposited the surprised youngster onto the hard tile floor, while all the while the mother seemed lost in thought about something else entirely. It was a surreal introduction to the miraculous wonder of birth, and I would just as soon not have to witness it ever again.

Of course, the male counterpart to the cow community is the bull. I'm terrified of bulls, and that's no bull. I spent the better part of my childhood firmly believing that every member of the bovine community was a bull, except for those undergoing cesarean calf deliveries. Every field or pen keeping in cows, I believed, also harbored roughly 1,000 bulls.

Well, one of my friends, John, a farm kid with a warped sense of humor, knew full well that I was scared to death of bulls. One day, I hopped into a pen full of cows because John and I had to traverse the pen to get to John's tree house. John, sensing my fear, announced that a bull (of which there were none) was charging down on me, and he told me to run. Actually, I was in a dead sprint at the mere mention of the word "bull." I ran, and I ran hard, perhaps harder than at any point in my life.

I ran smack into an electrified fence. I ran into that electrified fence so hard, I snapped it in half. I also endured an electrical shock strong enough to jumpstart a whale's heart. I had never before come in contact with an electrified fence, but I quickly learned that I didn't like them all that much. What sick twisted mind came up with such an idea? An electrified fence? Wasn't barbed wire enough? I mean, it's not as if cows are going to figure out a way through barbed wire anyway. So, why make an electrified fence? I guess I'm just still mad, because that shock really hurt.

I have a plethora of other cow-related tales, but those are the two that really scarred my young mind. Do you have a cow tale you'd like to relate? If so, please share.

Posted by Ryan at June 25, 2003 02:31 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!