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Lee Pitts: The Marketing Power Of Me

I’ve noticed that some of my fellow cow columnists have taken to endorsing products to supplement their income from ag periodicals and weekly newspapers who, up until now, have made it possible for all of us to live such lavish lifestyles. I guess the hope is that farmers and ranchers will see the columnist’s picture, read their endorsements and that goodwill will then be transferred to the products being promoted. These celebrity cowy endorsers are quoted as if they are Plato, Socrates or George Clooney.

I suppose you’ve noticed that I have not lent my name or image to any company in return for cash. There are several reasons why, number one being no one has ever asked. It doesn’t help that I absolutely hate having my picture taken and I’m not exactly what you’d call “photogenic.” Seeing my photo attached to a product could have negative consequences. For example, if some squeeze chute manufacturer made me the face of their company and put my picture on the tailgate of their chutes you can imagine the increased difficulty you’d have in getting cows to voluntarily enter the squeeze chute. Likewise, if a manufacturer of cattle trailers put my picture on their products you’d never get your cattle loaded. You think your horse is balky now about loading, just wait until it takes one look at me on the trailer!

If a supplement maker put my mug on their tubs cows would stay away from them in droves. This could be a huge selling point to cattlemen in that it could reduce rancher’s yearly supplement costs dramatically, but I doubt the supplement makers would see it this way.

I think BIG business is really missing the boat, like the constipation industry. Why wouldn’t a big drug company who sells anti-constipation remedies think of me first as their spokesperson? Just one look at my photo on the label of a product would be enough to scare the you-know-what out of any constipated cow. If Oprah can advertise for Weight Watchers and Lindsay Lohan for some rehab joint I can surely be the face of constipation.

I know you’re going to find this hard to believe but not a single cattle breeder has ever asked me to endorse their bulls! I see other well known people being quoted using so and so’s bulls and it really hurts my feelings that no one has ever asked me. Oh, that’s not entirely correct as I did have one “sort-of” endorsement deal with a top notch Angus breeder. For years I worked ring at his annual bull sale. I really liked his bulls but never owned one because they were way out of my price range, which topped out at fifty bucks over beef. But one year when the cattle market was in the doldrums at the end of his sale the bulls started selling within my price parameters. After I bought my first bull and announced the buyer as US Cattle Company, which all the locals know is my outfit, I noticed the breeder got flush in the face and had to be revived.

I ended up buying eight bulls and immediately after the sale the owner came running over to me and whispered, “We have to talk. If word ever gets out that you’re using my bulls it could ruin me. Please promise me you WON’T tell the auctioneer when you sell your puny calves at auction that they were sired by my bulls.”

“I think we can come to some sort of financial arrangement,” I said. “How much are you willing to pay me for NOT keeping your bulls in my front pasture where everyone can see your brand.”

“But that’s blackmail,” he replied.

“Oh, that’s harsh! I prefer to think of it as an un-endorsement.” Despite his protests, we came to terms and the deal proved quite lucrative for awhile but the purebred breeder fell on hard times and just a few years after I bought his bulls he dispersed his herd. (I hope the two incidents were in no way connected.)

This was such an eye-opening example of the marketing power of me that I decided to capitalize on it. So, to any business owners who know that I use your products please be advised that I’ve acquired the services of an agent and I am now signing what I refer to as “anti-endorsement deals.”

Lee Pitts: Thunder Butts

I’m sure you’ve heard that Progressive Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez from New York and Ed Markey from Massachusetts have said in the Green New Deal that we need to eradicate cows from the face of the earth if mankind is to survive the next 12 years. New Jersey Senator Corey Booker said, “The devastating impact from emissions from the meat industry must end.” I find this hilarious because Booker is a vegan and it’s common knowledge that vegans eat a lot of beans and legumes. Scientists tell us that the average person has attacks of flatulence 14 times per day (really) but vegetarians and vegans, because they consume more beans and legumes, can easily double that daily production, which explains why Booker is one big gasbag.

The reason I’m not using the same word the Democrats use to describe this bovine flatulence is because my mother raised me to be a gentleman and in our house the word f**t was a four letter word and if she heard one of her kids using it we’d have our mouth washed out with soap. Yuck! The only word that comes close to replacing the word the Progressives insist on using is flatulating, which I’m quite sure my mother wouldn’t approve of either. But in finding an alternative word I found my Thesaurus doesn’t include the word f**t or f**ting. I could change the spelling and use phart or pharting but that’s just beating around the bush. So I turned to my dictionary which suggested this alternative: “Simultaneous combustion as a result of retention of excessive methane.” But it’s ridiculous to use up that many words in my allotted space so for the rest of this essay I’ll just use the first letters of all the words in that definition which turns out to be “scaaroroem”. Catchy, don’t you think?

My encyclopedia contained all sorts of interesting information about scaaroroem, for example, did you know that in the 19th century there was a Frenchman by the name of Le Potomane who could actually make melodic music by scaaroroeming? Also, did you know that even dead people scaaroroem?

What the encyclopedia did not say and the Progressive Democrats seem to be unaware of is that cows don’t scaaroroem. At least not very much. They belch instead. If there was all this bovine flatulating going on dairymen would all be deaf, and when you branded your calves the stench would drive even the most gross cowboy to load up his horse and go home. But the bi-coastal Progressives seem to be suffering from nature-deficiency-disorder from hardly ever going outside, so how should they be expected to know that your average teenager scaaroroems more than a cow does.

In an effort to reach across the aisle and educate the ignorant politicians I invited a leading local liberal lady who is always writing letters to the editor about cows scaaroroeming to a stakeout where we would both go to a nearby auction market armed with sophisticated listening devices and catch the cows in the act, so to speak. On the evening of our stakeout the liberal lady vegetarian showed up all in black: black pants, black hoody and hat with her face streaked with black grease paint like NFL football players use. I could hardly see her but we had to go undercover or the cows might be too embarrassed to blast away, they being females and all.

We chose the medicine shack in the middle of the auction yard so we could catch the heavy tail gun fire from the thunder butts from all angles. It was close quarters and we even took the precaution of sitting on bare wood so there’d be no false positives when one of us slid across a leather seat, for example. The liberal lady was surprised that it was surprisingly quiet, other than a belch or two, no doubt coming from adolescent steers.

Then, all of a sudden, there was this terrible scaaroroem that made me pinch my nose and breath through my mouth. But the combination duck call and stink bait did not originate from the cattle but was instead what I’d refer to as “friendly fire”, if you get my drift. It turned out that my vegetarian friend took that old Irish saying to heart: “May the wind be forever at your back.”

Lee Pitts: Clothespins And Saddlebags

As a leatherworker I do a lot of restorations. I regularly repair leather-bound boxes to hold antique $40,00 carriage clocks, make knife sheaths for eBay sellers and repair bridles and other tack for cowboy friends. The restorations I dread the most are bringing old saddles back to life. I’ve done dozens, including a couple for a museum and one that sold for $32,000! It’s hard work because usually the saddles are filthy with lots of “dead” leather that needs replacing. And matching the color of the old leather with dyes is not easy. The only thrill in restoring these old saddles is removing all the dust and debris to uncover old saddlemaker’s marks like Visalia, Gallup, Hamley or Leddy.

For some reason the last four saddles I’ve restored for customers were sidesaddles and every time I work on one my respect for women who rode such contraptions grows exponentially. Sidesaddles usually consist of a single stirrup, a cinch, a small piece of carpet in a Victorian pattern to sit on, and not much else. They have to be one of the most idiotic inventions in history. The only advantage over astride saddles is that in the 1800’s when a man’s saddle cost about $50, a sidesaddle cost only $30. But even for an old tightwad like myself that price difference would not be enough incentive to attempt to climb on one. Especially when you consider that horses were much wilder back then. I swear I don’t know how the women hung on but there is one report of a woman riding a sidesaddle on a cattle drive all the way from Texas to Montana!

As I understand it, the sidesaddle was invented because Queen Elizabeth couldn’t ride astride like men and women had done for centuries because of a deformity in her back, probably as a result of too much royal inbreeding. This was during the Victorian age when women felt they had to do what the royals did. So women had to hang off the side of their saddles holding on for dear life for generations all because of too many cousins marrying each other.

Of course, there is an alternative theory that male ropers invented the sidesaddle so women couldn’t compete and beat them in roping contests because there was no place to tie to on most sidesaddles.

Indian women never rode aside and neither did Arabs. Lots of Californio women in the mission era also eschewed the sidesaddle. Such women who chose to do so were called clothespins, saddle bags and strumpets. They were considered tomboys who probably threw rocks at cats too. But most American women at the turn of the nineteenth century rode aside. History records that a big scandal was created in Saratoga, New York, when a Mrs. Adolph Ladenburg had the nerve to ride down Main Street in broad daylight riding cross saddle and wearing skin tight breeches!

Lee Pitts: I Can Explain Everything

Any day now I expect to get an e-mail from one of the many editors of the magazines and newspapers who run this column informing me they no longer want my essays because I can’t relate to the millennial generation. To which I say, “Their parents can’t even relate to them and they’ve been living in the same house with them for 26 years, so how do they expect me to?”

They say this because of…

• My continuing reference to things or people that only old geezers like myself have heard of, such as Pall Mall cigarettes, Rexall Drug, soda fountains and the two Andys, Andy Griffith and Andy Williams.

• The fact they are unable to reach me on my cell phone, find me on Facebook or “tweet” to me. Maybe that’s because I’m not on Facebook, I don’t twitter tweets and all the phones in our house have something called “cords.”

• I continue to refer to countries that no longer exist, like Yugoslavia, and sports teams that haven’t been around for decades such as the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Jazz.

• The handful of millenials who do read my column don’t like it when I make fun of their lip jewelry, colorful tattoos or that they are struggling to repay their $200,000 college loan while writing an advice column on their blog while living in their parents’ basement.

• I continue to use words that are no longer used by the general public such as cattywampus, chucklehead, dance hall, varmints, lunch bucket, cooties, gallivanting, persnickety and pipsqueaks.

• I also use too many phrases that the majority of Americans have never heard, such as twiddle your thumbs, hubba hubba, jumping Jehosaphat, and tan your hide. When I refer to “eenie meenie mo” my readers confuse them with some hip hop group from New Jersey.

• Quite often I refer to breeds or diseases of farm animals that haven’t been around since Hector was a pup. Oops, there I go again, using phrases that no one has ever heard before.

• Editors also don’t like it when I refer to appliances that are no longer in use such as my mother’s Mixmaster mixer, Oliver tractors and Oldsmobiles. I also date myself when I refer to the toys I played with as a child like steelies (marbles), blocks and rocks. Hey, we were poor, what can I say? Young readers today simply can’t begin to comprehend that a single orange could be a kid’s total take from Santa Claus.

• I lose people when I mention my cowboy idols like Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Hopalong Cassidy and The Lone Ranger. They aren’t interested in what time the Ed Sullivan Show came on (eight o’clock on Sundays), or that Bonanza came right on after it, but on a different channel. I make myself unbelievable as a writer when I say things that could obviously not be true, such as the fact we only got three channels on our black and white television set and cigarettes made up the bulk of the advertising on TV.

• My continual reference to people like Bob Hope, Douglas McArthur, Mamie Eisenhower, Ed McMahon and Sandy Koufax leave readers scratching their heads. And my Watergate and Woodstock references have readers going to Google to find out who, or what, they were.

• A more urbanized audience knows little about agriculture and I only confuse them when I refer to things like PTO, brucellosis and lactation. They either have never heard of, or have never used, tools such as the hoe, shovel and ball pein hammer.

• Younger readers are miffed at my continued use of proper spelling and complete words when I could get by using a few letters such as “u”, “r” and “LOL.” I suppose they think I should save letters as if they are on the endangered species list. I’m sure there is probably a group somewhere trying to save the “Z.”

• Editors say I should reinvent myself and “grasp the new paradigm,” whatever that means.

I suppose I should look forward to the future more but it’s hard when you know you won’t be around for most of it. So I’ll hang on, trying to remain relevant while insisting that the past isn’t dead as long as I’m around.

Lee Pitts: Enough Is Never Enough

The folks in white lab coats and low shoes with letters after their names are up to their old tricks again in attempting to build the super cow of the future. And please note I said “build,” not “breed.” It seems the gestation length of the bovine is much too long and scientists are much too impatient to wait on better breeding to get us where they think we need to be, so they’ve come up with a couple ways to speed up the process.

The researchers attempting to create cows for the 21st century include genetic engineers and genetic editors. Now I know as much about engineering as a cow does about Christmas, but I was the editor of our own livestock newspaper so the concept of editors messing around with the cows genome frightens me. The job of an editor is to correct mistakes and cut, cut, cut. The space in any periodical is some of the most valuable real estate in the world and any space an editor can save goes right to the bottom line, like shortening a 16 page newspaper to a 12 pager. Some editors I’ve had didn’t even read the stories but just whacked off a chunk at the end that may have contained the punch line. I’d hate to think that gene editors would follow the same shortcuts in whacking off key parts of the cow’s DNA so we ended up with cows without a rumen or missing some limbs.

The only thing I know about engineers is that they make more money than editors do and have retirement benefits and health insurance. But as I understand it, the difference between gene editing and genetic engineering is that the engineers take germ plasm from an entirely different animal or plant and insert it into another’s DNA, so you could end up with sheep that have litters and hogs that go “moo.” Gene editing, on the other hand, takes advantage of something called “mutagenesis” which has been going on ever since the first fish walked out of the sea on its own two gills. Gene editors simply speed up the process of evolution by “turning on and off” certain genetic switches. For example, you might say that eventually all beef animals will be polled, so genetic editors just speed up the process. It’s like evolution on steroids.

According to the Center for Food Integrity, gene editing is going to be a “game changer” and “is in its earliest stages.” Which merely means the gene editors haven’t got all their lobbyists in place to start paying off politicians in DC just yet. But they do say it will have big benefits for the “stakeholders.” I get nervous whenever I hear that word and I don’t understand how a group playing with our food on the genetic level can have the word “integrity” in its name.

This is not to suggest there aren’t a few changes in your basic cow that I’d like to see. Maybe the gene editors can turn off the switch that makes a cow try to kill you in the sorting alley or turn on the genetic switch that will make cows stand more peacefully in the squeeze chute. I’d also like a cow that calves only in daylight. Perhaps the genetic engineers could cut and splice the genes from a fainting goat on to cows’ DNA so that at your next branding your calves will just fall to the ground and never move to be branded and vaccinated, thus eliminating the need for any moody ropers. If it wouldn’t be too much to ask I’d like future cattle to all grade like a Waygu, be more obedient to dogs, and load on demand. Other than that I think that cattle are pretty much perfect the way they are.

On one level I wish scientists would just leave well enough alone. It seems that things could get going in the wrong direction pretty darn fast and there may be a few booby traps hidden in the DNA helix the scientists aren’t aware of. The only researchers I’ve known lived by the motto, if it ain’t broke, break it. I think they’ll keep tinkering until they create the bovine equivalent of Frankenstein’s monster because for the white coat clan, enough is never enough.

It’s the pitts by Lee Pitts: Don’t Call Me That

Don’t call me a rancher. I don’t deserve it.

Even though I’ve owned cattle since I was a sophomore in high school I’ve never been a “rancher.” I had my first “cow herd” as a junior in high school consisting of 4 registered Angus heifers and a bull and my first job out of college was being a cowboy, But I still wasn’t a rancher. Even when I had 100 cows, two loads of stockers on grass and 100 head of fat heifers in a feedlot I never considered myself a rancher. A cattleman? Yes. A rancher? No.

Even though I aspired to be one ever since I rode my first horse, I never was a rancher because I never owned a ranch. Although I had all the accouterments: a Stetson, silver buckle, boots, a cow dog to ride in the back of my truck, a rope, spurs, a pair of hay hooks and a brand (US on the right hip), I never had that one thing that would make me a rancher: real estate.

Ever since I got my first subscription to a cow newspaper as a kid, I yearned to own one of the ranches advertised for sale. I drooled over ranches and dreamed of one that I wouldn’t have to drive for half an hour to get to. I desperately wanted a place I could build a proper handling facility and a decent shack for my wonder horse Gentleman. But who wants to make improvements on a leased ranch that belongs to someone else? And so I got by with facilities that made me the laughing stock of the county. You can imagine the ribbing I took every time they helped me work cattle in corrals that included a set of bed springs, a dairy stanchion and the hood of a ‘56 Cadillac. (The dairy business must have been good in 1956.)

I looked for a ranch that made economic sense but never found one. If I did buy a place that cost five grand per cow/calf unit I wouldn’t have any money left to stock it. That’s another thing I’ve never had that many ranchers have and that’s a bank loan. I didn’t want the cows to own me so I haven’t financed one hoof of livestock ever since I had to buy my first steer with a bank loan that gave me ulcers when I was 16!

We don’t go in debt for anything. We’ve owned our own home outright for 35 years and have started eight successful businesses and every one was self-financed. I have no doubt that using OPM (other people’s money) I could have been a big shot by now, but I’m terribly insecure. I’ve been poor before and didn’t like it much.

There’s other reasons I can’t be called a rancher. I’ve never owned an ATV, cattle truck, or tractor nor do I have any desire to do so. And because I never hired anyone to do something I could do, I’ve never had a hired-hand either, although my wife would argue that point.

I’m ashamed that I never achieved “rancher” status. I’ll never forget the time I was at a bull sale where some loud mouth tried to embarrass me in front of my friends by saying, “You’re no cattleman, you’re just a newspaper peddler. You don’t have any skin in the game.”

At the time I owned a weekly cattle newspaper, was working 100 cattle sales a year as a ring man, was the announcer for the nation’s second largest cattle video auction, and all our assets were tied up in things that went “moo.” I sure felt like a cattleman.

My wife doesn’t consider me a rancher either. While I was traveling she was overseeing our cow herd, lambing out our flock of sheep, and receiving loads of trader cows in our broken down facilities that I bought cheap. She still reminds me of the 105 degree day I dumped three loads of trader cows on her while she dealt with three sets of triplet lambs that refused to identify with their crazy mothers. This was all squeezed around working eight hours at her job as a cashier in a grocery store. Believe me, when we talked that night on the phone she called me a lot of names, but none of them was “rancher.”

Lee Pitts: I Hate the Internet

A few years ago Pete Gnatkowski from Carrizozo, New Mexico, wrote me, I hope in jest, and wondered which Lee Pitts I was. He’d Googled my name and found that there was a Lee Pitts African American comedian, a well known preacher, champion fisherman and a murderer. Talk about identity theft!

If you think you’re important or have accomplished anything in life just Google your name. I did and found there were 17,600,000 results for Lee Pitts. I think Pete must have wandered down the list a ways because when I Googled my name the numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, results were me. Number 4 was a black guy from Fort Meyers, Florida, who was on TV. I once gave a speech in Fort Meyers and while I was there I watched that Lee Pitts on TV and found myself wishing I was half as entertaining as he was.

Here’s another coincidence. The #9 Lee Pitts is a football player for Azuza Pacific College and his grandfather was Elijah Pitts who played 11 seasons in the NFL winning two Super Bowl rings with Green Bay. When I was a youngster I used to lie and brag to my classmates that Elijah was my uncle, not knowing he was black. Interestingly, his mother’s name was Johnnie Pitts which was what relatives called my brother John when he was little. It seems there are a lot more African American Lee Pitts than there are California/Okie crossbreds like me.

One of the Google entries screamed, “We found Lee Pitts”! I didn’t know I was lost so I clicked on that site and of the top 20 responses not one of them was me. At least seven Lee Pitts were women, not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just that it doesn’t do much for my macho self esteem to have a lady’s name.

Making a person feel inconsequential must be Google’s goal. I found a Lee Pitts who was an award winning journalist for CBS who’d reported from all over the world including places I’d never heard of, like Malawi. Lee Pitts the swim instructor was “one of the most decorated swimmers of his generation,” but I can barely tread water. There was an actor and producer named Lee Pitts who was in Star Trek but I’ve never even watched it.

It bothered me that one of the Google responses was, “Here is the criminal record for Lee Pitts.” But I swear I’m innocent. I didn’t do it! I suppose it could be worse though because my parents could’ve named me Earl Pitts, which seems to be the number one name for murderers in American history.

Google also directed me to something called People Looker which said I was 92 years old! I may look it but I’m really only 67. All this makes me wonder, is it too late to change my name?

I finally gave up on Google and went to Wikipedia to try and find myself. According to them there’s no one by that name. The closest they could come was an old time film star named Zazu Pitts and, of course, there’s Brad Pitt, who judging by his appearance, suave and sophisticated manner and ability to bed beautiful women, is in no way related to me.

Next I tried Amazon who kicked me off years ago because I didn’t offer the required ten titles to sell. So now they let other people sell my books, including a used copy of People Who Live At The End of Dirt Roads for only $124.27! You can buy a brand new copy from me for only $12.95.

Then there are the word thieves who attach their name to my work including one “columnist” who copied my columns word for word for years and got away with it. People take my columns, add photos and music, attach their names to them and then blast them all over the Internet. I’ve had at least one instance where a friend sent me something he thought I’d enjoy that I’d written!

It pains me to watch as we sacrifice hometown newspapers and real books in favor of Facebook, Kindles, Nooks and Twitter. Half of all the newspapers that used to run my column are now defunct and most bookstores and libraries are on life support.

And you wonder why I hate the Internet?

Lee Pitts: Work is a Four Letter Word

I recently read about a 23 year old woman in Spain who sued her parents because they refused to continue to support her. She was living at her parent’s home, had no money, never finished high school and testified that her parents were putting undue pressure on her to get a job. She had held a couple jobs very briefly but she quit because, and I quote, “It was too much work.”

Which is kinda the whole point.

The lazy young lady may win her case because the average age at which Spaniards leave home is 29 years old, so she should have six more years of mooching left.

Spain is not alone in this outbreak of laziness. Over 20 million Americans between the ages 18 and 31 are still living with their parents. And I recently read that in the future a good chunk of American males may NEVER have a job during their entire lives! I personally know a 30 year old man who has sired two children, lives with his mother and apparently feels in no rush to get a job. I’ve had another millennial young man tell me at age 25 that he feels burned out and hopes to retire at age 30.

I can’t relate to any of this. In high school I worked every summer. For two summers I picked citrus alongside Hispanic crews who could work rings around me. These Hispanics must NOT have been related to the Spaniards because where I might pick 30 boxes of lemons per day they’d pick 50. Between my junior and senior years I got the worst job ever. I had to crawl under lemon trees, dig a basin around each tree and paint around its circumference 18 inches high to prevent insects from crawling up the trees. The toxic “paint”, which I’m quite sure contributed to my health problems later in life, was a nasty substance I can still smell now 50 years later. For this work I got paid the princely sum of $1.25 per hour.

As a youngster I also worked at a gas station, mowed lawns, delivered newspapers, raised show steers and ran a rabbit business that multiplied rapidly. In the summers between my three collegiate years I worked in the oil fields and during Christmas and Spring breaks, when everyone else went home, I worked at the university livestock facilities. Through it all I gained a work ethic that has served me well. I’m 67 now and plan on working until I take THE LONG NAP.

The unwillingness to work entry level jobs by young people today has created a shortage of workers in agriculture. Farmers have had to plow under entire crops because they couldn’t find anyone to pick them and many farmers are now switching to crops that can be picked by machines. Ranchers tell me it’s getting harder to find good cowboys and many have switched to hiring cowgirls. Even illegals are passing up farm and ranch work for higher paying jobs in big cities. The shortage of milkers is forcing many dairies to switch to robotic milking machines and it’s predicted that by next year the agricultural robot industry will be a 16 billion dollar industry!

But inventors can never build a robot to replace the cowboy, can they?

Helicopters are already being used in Texas to gather cattle and drones could be used for the same purpose by ranchers who can’t afford copters. I can envision squeeze chutes that automatically squeeze and release on the their own and sensors are already available that turn a bright red when an animal has a high temperature. Perhaps a drone will fire a bullet that contains antibiotics at a sick feedlot animal, thereby replacing pen riders.

As robots proliferate, Americans will live much easier lives but that doesn’t mean it will be any less dangerous. I have a lazy 35 year old friend who tripped over the round robotic orb that was automatically vacuuming his carpet and he broke his ankle. His unemployment benefits will soon end but he likes not working so much that he’d like to turn it into a permanent position. I told him that if he was looking for opportunities in the non-employment sector that Spain is nice this time of year.

Last I heard he was looking for a nice, wealthy Spanish family to adopt him.

Lee Pitts: The Cuddling Kind

Every once in awhile I’ll hear about an idea that makes me slap my forehead and say, “I wish I’d have thought of that.” Cow cuddling is one of those ideas.

According to writer Linnea Zielinski, people are paying big money to cuddle and play with cows. She says it’s all part of something called “animal centric holistic health.”

To which I say, “Huh?”

Linnea says that cow cuddling is for people who just can’t get into meditation and she insists that cuddling with a cow will slow down your heart rate. “They will pick up on what’s going inside and sense if you are happy, sad, feel lost, anxious or are excited and they will respond to that without judgement, ego or agenda.” She also says cows are sensitive and intuitive characters.

Frankly, Linnea must be hanging around a different species of cow than the ones I’ve raised. The ones I’ve owned made me anxious, excited, nervous and contributed to at least one stroke. And anyone who says cows have no agenda has never sorted cows in a sorting alley because they have an agenda all right and it’s to kill you!

Linnea also refers to folks in the midwest who have cows that will hang their heads over the fence to be petted. I can say without reservation that having owned hundreds of cows in my lifetime I’ve never had a single one do this. Horses yes, but cows no. And how does one go about “playing” with cows? What kind of games do cows play, baseball, basketball, poker? Monopoly maybe? I’ve yet to meet a single bovine who had a jump shot or could throw a curveball. Granted, with four feet cows could have some potential as soccer players.

Cow cuddling is nothing to laugh at. According to the Mountain Horse Farm, one of the leaders in the cow cuddling industry, two people can cuddle with one of their cows for only $75 an hour and four can cuddle with a cow for $125 an hour, although I think a cow might feel over-cudulled with that many people fawning over it. I did some figuring on the back of a napkin that may cause you to change your opinion about cow cuddling. If I owned 100 cuddling cows and if they cuddled for ten hours a day seven days a week I’d make $125,000 per day, based on the prices the Mountain Horse Farm is charging. If I was open for business 365 days a year I’d gross over 45 million dollars! I think you’ll agree, that’s a little more than we can make raising cattle for beef.

I was glad to hear these sessions are monitored by a licensed cow counselor because it’s something I think I’d be good at it. But I’m a little confused, would I be counseling the cows or those who cuddle them? I also wonder where one goes to become such a cuddling cow counselor, does Texas A & M offer such a degree? I have a feeling it’s kinda like the certificate I got off the internet to marry my sister. (No, I didn’t actually marry her, I conducted the ceremony.)

The Mountain Horse Farm is also into horse wellness and juice cleanings although they don’t offer goat yoga yet. What, you’ve never heard about this craze sweeping the nation either? If I could amass the aforementioned 45 million dollars I would then have the funds necessary to buy some nannies and start goat yoga. From the videos I saw on the Internet all you do in goat yoga is turn a bunch of juvenile goats loose in a room so they can crawl all the the women while they are engaged in yoga poses such as lotus pose, the wild-thing pose, peacock pose or the cow pose, which looks to me like the pose you’d make to give an adolescent a horsey ride.

Please be advised, you could meet some unsavory characters if you embark upon a cow cuddling or goat yoga career. I’m referring, of course, to lawyers. The first time one of your cuddling cows clocks a cuddler, or one of your kid goats goes tinkle on the back of some yoga devotee doing the wild-thing or downward facing dog, you just know there’s gonna be lawsuits involved at some point.

Bully For You (Best Of)

“How much would you take for that old bull there in your pasture?” asked the stranger.

I could tell that the trespasser currently standing in my bull field was an admirer of fine animal flesh. “Yes, Stanley is quite a piece of work isn’t he? A great breeding bull, if I may say so.”

“I wasn’t interested in him for breeding,” said the interloper.

“Well surely you don’t want him for eating?” I asked. “I imagine his meat would be tough and stringy.”

“No, no. I am an artist,” he said. “I dabble in bulls instead of oils.”

Now that he mentioned it I realized that this intruder was an artsy kind of a guy… pony tail, bare feet, earrings and all.

“I got started initially in dehydrated cow pies,” he explained. “I did quite well selling them as gag gifts back east. But I longed for more serious art.”

“I can certainly understand that. I don’t suppose there are too many cow pies in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But I must admit that I am a little confused. If you don’t want Stanley for his breeding ability or his meat what could you possibly want him for?”

“His legs. I want to saw off his legs actually.”

“I’ll admit they’re great legs but wouldn’t that kill him?” I asked.

“Of course it would. You didn’t actually think I wanted that sway-back bag of bones to breed other animals did you, as if he were a sex slave or something? No, I want your bull purely for artistic purposes. I want to paint a nice Indian scene on his bleached skull. I want to stretch Stanley’s hide over a piece of plywood and then I’d nail his four legs to the board to make a table. They make absolutely delightful coffee tables and sell for $3,500 back east. A matching skull and table bring five grand in the finer department stores.”

Then the artist took one more look at Stanley and proceeded to get insulting. “You have to admit that Stanley would look more like a bull as a table than he does now. At least he’d have a straight back with a leg under every corner.”

“You’d kill Stanley just for his legs?” I asked the table taxidermist in disbelief.

“Oh, heavens no. I create art out of other anatomical parts as well.

Now I was getting real suspicious. “What other anatomical parts?”

“Oh, how should I say this?” the wierdo asked. “You see his, uh, central heating and cooling system there between his back legs. Well I make purses out of those. I call them “Bull Bags” and women use them as accessories to hold their personal belongings. They go well with evening wear when a woman wants to go out on the town.”

“You’ve got to be kidding?” I asked the pervert.

“I never make jokes about my art. I’ll have you know that my bull bags are bringing up to $750 and several movie stars are collecting them. I use other male reproductive parts as well. My newest line is a fine collection of golf putters at $2,000 a copy. I call them “Bully Clubs” and they are quite unique.”

I had a good idea what he made those out of! That did it. I refused to sell Stanley to the artist. Heck no, what kind of an idiot do you think I am? At $3,500 for his legs, $750 for his bag, $2,000 for his, well you know, and $1,500 for his skull, well that adds up to… Well, it’s more money than I paid for all five of my bulls put together.

Heck no I won’t sell Stanley. But you’ve given me an idea. When he dies I’m going to start my own mail order catalog company. I’ll call it “Bully For You.” I’ve got a couple creative ideas of my own you know?”

Besides, Stanley never did like golf that much anyway.