Written by Jonathan Gibbs

Monday, 26 March 2012

They look as innocent as babies in an advertisement for starving children. Large, moist eyes sit unblinking over lips as flat as the Midwest horizon. Flies buzzing about their heads fail to visibly perturb them, as if they are so resigned to their plight that their last, best revolt is to remain stoic and not give the flies the satisfaction of letting them know they are annoying. They are Zen-like in their tranquility. They appear placid as a mountain lake, self-possessed as a Clint Eastwood cowboy. They'd even be considered cuddly; chewing away the way they do, if they weren't so darn large.

But these animals about which I speak are not innocents, like the children in those ads. These animals are fiendish devils. Unlike their Gangsta cousins, the Coyotes, they do not signal their malicious intent; they hide behind their calm demeanor like a snake underneath a rock outside a bunny farm. They are cowardly. They are cows. And they are evil.

Last week a Connecticut man was charged with rustling 18 Holsteins worth $60,000 from a Tiverton farm. That breaks down to $3,333.33. Despite the obvious - 3 is half of 6 and three sixes equals the sign of the Devil, and in this case cows being roughly half as smart as any one bureaurocrat in the Department of Agriculture, 333 is obviously the sign of the Devil in the cow world - I have other reasons for thinking cows are evil.

Let's take last week's alleged rustling. I say alleged because I think they weren't so much stolen, as they were willing accomplices to the crime, runaways. It is even possible they set the Connecticut man up. Let's look at the facts: Connecticut is a richer state with a better economy and its residents have a higher per capita income than those in Rhode Island, which translates to more feed for a cow. In this case, the man alleged to have stolen them was arrested but the cows were allowed to remain on his farm in Connecticut. Sounds like a setup. Parent figure implicated and imprisoned while the child figure gets to stay home and have unlimited access to the stored food.

Just sayin'.

For the unconvinced, I offer two more compelling reasons. Covering a story about a farm in Bethlehem, Connecticut as a reporter twenty years ago, I interviewed the farm's owner as he went about his chores and learned about feed ratios, automatic milking machines and finally we got around to the artificial insemination part. He was saving the best for last. Now, to artificially inseminate a cow, you have this syringe-like device containing the thawed semen from some hot, random bull that who's been coaxed into absentee fatherhood much in the same way David Crosby fathered a child with Melissa Ethridge. You take that syringe and introduce the business end to the cow's uterus just in front of the cervix. Now, the cow's uterus isn't exactly handy in terms of accessibility. It's about a yard or so away from where you are standing in place as the bridegroom. So your arm kind of disappears. The sperm is expensive and the road treacherous.

The farmer, or mid-husband as I called him, was up to his shoulder in mid-husbandry while telling me how you can tell where the proper placement is because the uterus tissue is soft and spongy while the cervix is hard and firm. What happened next is a good cautionary tale as to why one should probably concentrate on one's task at hand. (And wrist, ulna, radius, elbow and humerus, for that matter.) Because the cow got spooked. Or something. My guess is her evil nature got the best of her. In any case, she began to shimmy and shake from side to side, making the earth move for the poor farmer. He got lifted briefly off his feet and as the cow shook like jelly, his arm was turned to applesauce. That cow's genital tract cracked every bone in his right arm.

After his son got him out and onto the ground, where he lay holding his arm and moaning, you know what that cow did? Turned her head and looked over her shoulder and him and shook her head up and down. Didn't smile. Didn't have to. I knew she was laughing inside. Then she went on chewing her cud.

The other thing makes me know cow's are evil is when I was young, a cow - or at least a piece of one - broke my heart. Our neighborhood butcher sold not only the usual cuts of meat: flank, shank, ribs and the like; he also sold the more uninviting pieces: hooves, brains (called sweetmeats for some incomprehensible reason), intestines and tongue. It was the latter that captured my adoration. My mother brought one home in its white butcher paper, unwrapped it and when I saw that pink appendage on the red linoleum counter top, it was love at first sight. It was careless love, yes; it was doomed interspecies love, yes; it was love of raw tissue only, love of something unattached or unencumbered to any semblance of intelligence or even a central nervous system. But it was love.

I took that piece of cow tongue everywhere for as long as the affair lasted. Next door to play with Nancy Lorenson and her swing set. To the basement where we played with my toy soldiers. I'd shake her up and down to make her mime. That ungulate could undulate. And that tongue went to bed with me, sleeping under my pillow. We talked all night. That tongue and I, we were tied. We were tasteful buds, both on the path to salivation. Or at least I thought we were.

You all know how such stories end. She left me. Five days and something spoiled her love for me. Left, without a note, nothing. No kind words about how it was for the best, or whatever. Not even a tongue-lashing. Just gone. My mom did look as if she knew something but she never let on. The cow's tongue broke my heart, and there's a part of it that's still broken.

But this isn't about me, or my heart. This is about what these fast-food, artery-clogging, fat-implanting beasts are doing to us, Homo sapiens, as a species. We need to unite against these creatures before it's too late, and we all have a steak in this. If it were not for Louis Pasteur, they would have poisoned us all already. They are execrable excrement creators who conspire to leave us clouded in malodorous methane gas that threatens to kill off all life on earth. Would I be surprised then that a herd of cows would frame someone for stealing them when it was really they who stole away for a better life on the other side of the fence? Heck, no. Cows, I say, are heinous, malevolent creatures. Nothing a cow would do - and its mostly nothing they do - would surprise me.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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