By Lee Pitts
If I could speak “cow talk,” the animal I would most like to interview would be Gomer. I imagine the interview would go something like this:
Me: Gomer is an unusual name; how did you get it?
Gomer: A “gomer” is a bull that has had his plumbing rearranged. He has all the right equipment, it has just been redirected out the back end.
Me: That seems like cruel and unusual punishment. What kind of a sick person would do such a thing?
Gomer: A veterinarian. They are all a bunch of perverts if you ask me.
Me: Why would a person do such a thing?
Gomer: It is my job to spot cows in heat so a technician can breed them artificially.
Me: So, despite the fact you are an intact bull, it is physically impossible for you to breed a cow?
Gomer: That is correct. Unless I just happened to back into one.
Me: Since you have already gone to all the trouble, wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper if you just went ahead and bred the cows?
Gomer: Most ranchers do not appreciate my Holstein upbringing.
Me: Is your job very difficult?
Gomer: Of course. Just ask yourself, what is the best way to spot a cow in heat?
Me: They are usually very nervous.
Gomer: That’s right. But what cow in her right mind wouldn’t get a little nervous when she saw me coming? She doesn’t know if I’m a bum steer or what. This makes my job very difficult.
Me: What have been some of the highlights of your career?
Gomer: Certainly, the time I was offered for sale at the auction market sticks out in my mind. A bull trader thought I was a normal bull and bought me thinking he was getting a real bargain for only six cents above market price. After the auctioneer said “sold,” I answered nature’s call right there in the sale ring in my rather unorthodox way.
Me: That must be a strange sensation for you? To pee out the back end in front of a crowd.
Gomer: You think? Of course it was, but it wasn’t near as strange for me as it was the bull trader.
Me: Why, what happened to him?
Gomer: The bull trader got kind of a puzzled look on his face. He didn’t know what he had bought. The bull trader spent two years trying to sell me to somebody as unsuspecting as him. Finally, he sold me to a purebred breeder who needed me to spot horny Angus cows. I immediately impressed my new owner and remained there for years.
Me: How did you impress him?
Gomer: He turned me out with his good cows. He had placed heat detector strips on the tailbone of each cow. I mounted the cow if she was in heat and the pressure made her strip turn red. All the rancher had to do was come out the next morning, gather up the cows whose markers had turned red and breed them artificially.
Me: Sounds like a good theory.
Gomer: Sounds good in theory but the first morning, every cow in the pasture was red. It seems they’d been rubbing under trees all night. Of course, I didn’t tell the owner this. I just acted really tired.
Me: Are there hazards in your line of work?
Gomer: A good gomer just needs to make sure the other bulls know he is one of them.