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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!


#99. I have a soft spot for cows.

Awright, no jokes from the peanut gallery on this one. (That’s my job!) So I don’t want to see any snide comments about ‘soft cow spots’, or ‘cows up against my soft spots’, or ‘sweet, sweet bovine love’. (Okay, that last one is a little gross, but I’m serious, people. I’m nipping this in the bud. Right now!)

So, anyway, I was fascinated by cows back in college. Which was in Kentucky, if I haven’t mentioned it before, so I had ample opportunity to view all the cows I could ever wish for. The area’s known more for its horse farms, but there are plenty of cows out there, too — believe me. And I’m not just talking about the UK cheerleaders. No, there are also real, honest-to-God cows out there, hanging around and munching their cuds, sunning themselves and pooping on the grass. (Again, not talking about the UK cheerleaders. Though I can see how you’d be confused.)

Actually, now that I think about it, the cow thing started back in high school. My best friend was one of those weirdos (oh, like you didn’t think my friends would be weirdos… right) that get stuck on certain foods for months, or years, at a time.

(My cousin is another of those freakjobs, I swear to Sisyphus, the kid was raised on open-faced grilled-cheese sandwiches with the crusts cut off. I saw him every couple of weeks or so growing up, and I never saw him eat anything else. Until at least high school. In his defense, I’ll admit that he got on his kick when he was very small. On the prosecution side, though, I’ll submit that he stayed on his kick for a decade or more, which is just sick. These days, the kid lives with his wife in a trailer on his parents’ property. So you can’t exactly say his early diet didn’t fuck with his mind, either.)

So, with my friend, the food was Kraft macaroni and cheese. The ‘Exxxtra Cheesy’ kind. It was like three pieces of pasta swimming in a sea of cheddar. That’s all I saw him eat for a year or more. I suspect his mother crammed the occasional broccoli floret down his throat when I wasn’t around, but we hung out together quite a bit, and he ate a lot of mac and cheese. A lot. Dude must have been pissing that fake Velveeta shit. (Now, there’s a mental image for you. That one’s on the house, kids. No need to pay me for that one.)

Anyway, the only thing this guy would drink is milk. Mac ‘n’ cheese ‘n’ milk. Dairy, dairy, dairy. So after a few months, I just started moo-ing at him.

Me: Dude, you hungry?

Him: Yeah, sure.

Me: What’cha want? Wendy’s? KFC? Taco Bell?

Him: Nah. I think I’ll have some mac ‘n’ cheese. You want some milk?

Me: Moooooooooo! Mrrrrr-roooooooooo! Moo! Moo!

(Hey, just as an aside, does anyone remember that Droopy cartoon (part of the Tom & Jerry conglomerate of animated entertainery) where the Droopster is a sheep rancher, and that wolf dude is a cattle herder, and Big D’s sheep keep eating all the cow’s grass, and hair, and the wolf’s clothes, and everything else they can get their teeth on? Didja see that one? At one point, one of the wolf’s cows comes running up to the ranch house, pointing and spazzing and generally wigging out. You remember that? And the wolf asks him what’s the matter, and cow says,

Moo! Moo moo mah-moo moo moo! Mah-moo moo moo! Moo! Moo! Mah-moo moo moo! Mah-moo moo! Moo!

And the wolf says, ‘Oh, shit‘, or the cartoon equivalent and takes off after Droopy. Remember? ‘Cause I think I peed my pants the first time I saw that. It still brings tears to my eyes (and a strain to my bladder) to think about it. Oh, man, that’s a classic. If you haven’t seen it, you haven’t lived, man. Seriously.)

All right, what was I talking about? Even in the frickin’ 100 Things, I can’t stay on topic. Damn.

So, my friend and his turning-into-a-cow-ness. Yeah, that was all well and good, but of course, my taunting backfired. Since I was the one actually walking around randomly moo-ing at people, I’m the one who got stuck with the ‘cow’ tag. And the cow throw pillow, and the silk cow boxers, and the cow noisemaker doohickey, and the cow pencils, and the inflatable anatomically-correct ‘Udder Pleasure’ cow doll. Okay, that’s sick — I’m kidding. I never had cow pencils.

So, anyway, the idea sort of stuck. (Not to the doll, dammit. Nothing stuck to the doll, okay. Let ‘Blow-Up Bessie’ rest in peace, would ya?) So, I took my cow pillow to college, and added a cow bedspread or two, and ‘Mrr-roo!‘ed at cows as we passed them in the car, and it was all cool. Well, not ‘cool‘, I suppose. Kinda sad and mildly disturbing, really, when you think about it, but it kept my mind off the fact that I was stuck in Kentucky. So that was good.

Eventually, the whole thing petered out. We moved to Pittsburgh, which isn’t all that close to dairy country, and then to Boston, where cows would freeze to the friggin’ ground for six months if you ever let ’em outside. But I still get a kick out of seeing cows on TV, or on a greeting card, or whereever. I’m actually a little surprised that no one asked me to go cow-tipping back in school. (I got mixed messages about whether ‘cow tipping’ is like ‘snipe hunting’, but either way, I’d have expected someone to ask me. And I still don’t know whether it’s real or not. If I did, then I’d know who my real friends were, based on who told me what. But I never found out, so I eye them all a little warily.)

Now, I guess I’ll never have the chance. (To tip, or to get royally humiliated because I get suckered into trying it.) But that’s okay. I did the next best thing — I got all rowdy at a frat party one night, and accidently knocked this girl over on the dance floor. As it turns out, she was a UK cheerleader. So I suppose I’ll have to live with cow-ass-bumping as my bovine-flinging moment. It’s not ideal, but it’ll have to do.

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