The cow had a bumper sticker on his ass. It said NOT JUST FOR LINENS ANYMORE! in bold white letters over a black background.
A line drawing of a coat hanger occupied the left margin, next to the text. He was talking about pyramids. At first you thought he meant the posters you see in grade school health class, the diagram with the grains and the dairy, the fruits and the vegetables. The method developed by the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services to help you put your ‘Dietary Guidelines In Action.’ He was a cow and you figured he would be interested in such things. It was an astute judgment. Well done. But he grew agitated. ‘The prisoners were naked and hooded,’ he mooed, ‘the bastards, how could they do something so cruel, so inhuman! Jesus, that one bitch was giving a thumb’s up like she was rocking-out to Priest or something. Can you believe that shit?’ You hoped he wasn’t asking you a direct question and sighed audibly in relief when he continued. ‘This is no different than Louima, that’s for sure, isolated incident my ass...’ His sentence trailed off and there was silence. He seemed done, as if waiting for some sort of response, a distillation of said topics to be taken, processed, and reflected back to him. You had nothing to say but knew you must say something. You searched your mind for a coherent reply, some method of engagement with the cow, a commonality to latch onto, before blurting out, “Yeah dude, that’s some crazy shit. Did you know Rob Halford’s a fag?”
The next morning it is you who are agitated. “Self-righteous fuck,” you think. “I was just trying to make conversation. Going off about farming subsidies, the French. I’m like, DUDE, I don’t give a fuck! You know, like tough shit you don’t like the president. I didn’t vote, don’t blame me.” You soften. You realize that perhaps he was one of those ‘fucked-up’ cows you heard about. “Yeah dude, he’s a mad cow, I can’t be pissed at his crazy ass. That’s like making fun of retards or some shit.” As a point of fact, you find it amusing impersonating people with emotional and/or physical handicaps. By speaking in a ‘retard voice’ and doing a crude imitation of those you have seen on television afflicted with Down Syndrome, you have humored your fellows on more than one occasion. “That shit cracks me up.” You laugh. It is of no importance.
Perhaps you could have tried to relate more directly with the cow. Perhaps if you had asked him about his family, brought it to a more personal level, you would have had more success. You could have asked him where he was from for example. The ‘mad cow’ had been from Washington, perhaps he would have been amenable to discuss early-90’s ‘grunge’ rock. Use this esoteric knowledge you have accumulated to good effect. You will notice marked results. “Damn,” you think, “everybody digs Nirvana. Kurt Cobain, he like, crosses generational boundaries. ‘Course he blew his head off.” You blame the cow for your lapse into morbidity. “I mean, fuck that guy, he was cartoony anyway, not like a real cow. Well maybe it was because he was talking to me, maybe if he hadn’t been talking about politics and shit he would have seemed more real, more like a real cow and not one of Foghorn Leghorn’s buddies.” This is irrelevant. The ‘cow dream’ is a time-tested method of the program. Do not challenge your instruction. It is enough for you to know the cow is obviously a militant leftist who offends conservative sensibilities, while also being tasty to eat.
Page 1 2 3 4