Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cow 1, Sebastian 0


"Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!"  - Troy McClure

Fact: Cows are not bright.

Fact: Cows smell bad.

Fact: Cows like holes in the ground. 


Wait, what? What kind of nonsense is that?

Before 1997, someone mentioned this to me in passing and I just laughed at them. I know I may not be the brightest bulb in the basket, but no one is going to fool me with that ridiculous line.

Am I some sort of moron?

In 1997, I had the pleasure of going out on an archaeological dig. I lived for a few months in a small town near the Romanian border in Ukraine. The people were nice enough, the experience was fun, the food downright sucked, but the experience was still fun. I may not have enjoyed it all too well at the time, but looking back on it, it made for some good memories. I won't even get into the run-ins with the Russian mafia.

That summer, our crew had two sites we were working on: the backyard of a house that local architects thought contained an older structure, and a small plaza within an abandoned church that was at one time a bazaar and also a cemetery. Now, because I may have rubbed some people the wrong way, or because I had a disdain for working with bones, I never got the chance to work in the church. Instead, I spent the whole summer working in the backyard, usually alone with people who only spoke Ukrainian and no English. But we got along, we were able to communicate, and I got to be in charge.

Around the same time, a local boy was hanging around the area tending to his one horse and his one cow. What he did with those two animals I have no clue, but he'd herd them around town and they would mind their own merry business and leave us alone.

One day, the boy was not doing his job, and the cow decided she was curious about what I was doing in the backyard of the house.
For those who don't know what archaeology is, it is the study of past human civilizations. In order to get at the past and find the remains these people have left behind, we sometimes have to dig down into the ground and bring things up to the surface. This means we have to dig a hole in the ground, a fact my new best friend was all too happy to learn.

The cow leaves her group and heads towards me, and her eyes widened upon seeing my square (geek talk for hole in the ground). And lo and behold, that one little tidbit someone told me years ago was actually true. This cow decided it was her mission in life to get into my hole (insert joke here).

I saw this and I couldn't believe my eyes! I wasn't sure what I should do about this, but the one thing I knew was that I couldn't let a cow get down into my square! If she got in, we couldn't work. If she got in, how do we get her out? If she got in, I would never hear the end of it! "How'd you let a freakin' cow in your square?!?!?!" I had to man up and throw up resistance!

I grabbed the closest thing to me, a shovel. Now I know in other countries they are not as gentle with their animals the way Americans are, but I could not bring myself to doing any harm to a dumb animal who just wanted to get down and dirty. I took the shovel, I held it with both hands, and I held my ground. The cow began taking steps into the square, knocking down my perfectly straight walls (very important for us dirt playin' fools). This could not be happening!

I get in the cow's way. She goes left, I move left and block her. She turns and tries to go right, but Betsy is none too quick, so I block her again. But Betsy is none all too bright either, so she tries left and right a few more times, only to be turned back by the shovel-armed sentry.

Finally, she can't take it anymore. She knows she can't get by me. She knows her dreams have been dashed. Betsy wisens up, and starts walking away. I keep my position, in case she decides to try one last quick sneak attack. 

As she walks away, her backside is directly facing me, her head the opposite direction. But only a few feet away from me, she stops, turns her head, and with the look of disdain I have never seen from any animal or person before or since, she looks straight into my eyes and deep down into my soul. 

There is nothing in the world at that moment aside from the cow and me.

All that matters is that look. 

The only important thing is what she is thinking.

And at our most perfect moment, at the opportune time, with her eyes constantly gazing upon mine, with me still holding the shovel in both hands and a stupid smirk on my face, she lets me know what she really thinks of me. 

She drops the biggest pile of shit I have ever seen.

She drops it only about 5 feet away from me.

And her eyes never leave mine for a second.

Point made, the cow turns and walks away, leaving me with her gift. 

Still with a dumb smirk on my face, and a pile of shit on the ground. The cow sent her message loud and clear. She did not mix words.

Since I still had the shovel, I put it to good use, moved the shit and covered it up. 

But it took me a few minutes to come out of the shock of being shat at by a cow. By a cow who only wanted to climb down into a hole in the ground.

From that moment on, I realized I could not take cows lightly anymore. But I also came to another conclusion that is still with me today. 

I fucking hate cows.

Now please pass the ketchup.

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