Walking The Dogma
By Lee Pitts
How do you politely tell someone they’re an obnoxious idiot?
I was minding my own business, working in my front yard, which is a monument to the bovine species. We have a huge cow planter, a bull on a hill and a whole herd of multi-colored cows with brightly painted plastic pots. Watching over this menagerie is Cowboy Bill, a three feet tall cowboy who is having trouble putting on his chaps, probably because he’s stiff as a board and made of concrete. We also have a decomposing head of a Longhorn with a 60-inch horn spread, which scares the dogs walking their masters by our house to access the 8,000-acre state park we live next to. Last week my reverie was ruined by a gal who was walking a dog about the size of a football but not quite as smart.
“Did you see on the TV about the bull who charged the biker? It made the national news,” she said.
“No, I try not to watch any TV,” I replied.
“Well, it was big news and some bystander recorded the whole thing on his phone. I could tell right away it was a bull because it had horns,” she said authoritatively.
“That’s not necessarily true,” I said. “A cow, or female of the species can have horns too.”
“No they can’t. Are you nuts? And to think I thought you might know a little something about cattle judging by your statuary garden. Everyone knows only bulls have horns,” she said.
I should’ve just agreed and went on about my business, but I couldn’t let the opportunity pass without educating the young lady.
“Here, I want to show you the only photo I carry in my wallet. It’s of me and my wife at a food fair years ago where we met Borden’s mascot, Elsie the cow. You’ll see that, indeed, Elsie has horns.”
“They sure pulled the wool over your eyes,” she replied. “How did you know she was a cow?”
“I suppose she could have been the first trans-bovine, a bull posing as a cow. You know, like the male swimmer who says he’s a she and is winning all the races for females.”
“Don’t change the subject. What proof did you have Elsie was, indeed, a cow? Did you milk her or see her suckling a calf?” she asked.
“I could tell she was a female by her, uh, shall we say plumbing. Cows pee out their rear end while bulls pee, well, let me put it this way, if their head was New York and their feet were Los Angeles, they pee in Kansas City.”
“You’re crazy,” said the intruder, becoming more defiant. “Everybody knows cattle are just like deer and only the males have horns. Whoever heard of a doe having horns?”
“You’re comparing apples to oranges,” I said. “Deer don’t have horns, they have antlers. Horns and antlers are two different things. Yes, you’re right in only male deer have antlers, which they shed every year. Cattle have horns which are permanent unless the animal is dehorned.”
“You’re dumber than a box of rocks,” said the authoritarian dog walker. “Deer don’t shed their antlers every year! That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. If they did, this mountain would be covered with them, and I’ve never seen any!”
“Male deer do indeed grow a new set of antlers every year, and they can grow as much as a quarter of an inch each day. Antlers are kind of a sex symbol in which the female deer are like hunters – they get turned on by bucks with long and thick antlers.”
“You male chauvinist pig. Get your head out of the gutter,” said the dog walker as her purse dog was peeing on my wife’s petunias. “Are you trying to make fun of me?” she asked through trembling lips. After staring daggers at me for a few more minutes, she finally gathered up her little fur ball and walked away shaking her head. “I swear, you are certifiably insane. Everyone knows only the male of the species has horns.”
By her very existence, the she-devil proved to be wrong again. I swear, I could see two stumps sticking out the top of her head where she’d been dehorned.