Having fun with cows

Cow-pie clock
Cow-pie clock

Cow tipping is an urban legend that tells of hayseeds on the farm sneaking up on a sleeping cow in the middle of the night and, well, tipping it over. In reality, this prank would be a lot harder to pull off than one might be led to believe in that cows do not sleep standing up, and a full grown cow can often weigh in at about a half-ton. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with cows: How about cow patty bingo?

This game consists of putting a cow, or any number of cows for that matter, into a large pen where the ground has been divided into a grid using lime as you might see on the baselines of a baseball field. Each of the squares are identified with a number. Tickets are then sold for the chance to win a prize if the cow drops a patty on your square. Time limits may apply. I have no doubt that this is every bit as much fun as watching a soccer match.

Cow patty bingo action photo
Cow patty bingo action photo

My friend Curt Remington has written and performs a neat little song entitled, I think, “Cow Patti.” I’ll leave it to him to explain the spelling.

Then there’s cow chip throwing. Beaver, Oklahoma, enjoys the undisputed title of the cow chip throwing capital of the world. It’s a simple game: the person who can throw a cow patty the farthest wins. Some participants use an overhand approach and others use a typical underhand, Frisbee-like action. For the uninitiated, it is important not to use a fresh cow patty for this game. I have heard rumors of the formation of a cow chip golf league, kind of like those Frisbee/Disc golf leagues. I’ll keep you posted if anything new on this hits the ground.

Okay, then, how about a little bull leaping? Supposedly this has been practiced as far back as the Bronze Age. In its earliest form the person who would be the bull leaper leaps over the bull and grabs his horns. The bull, of course, finds this particularly annoying and jerks his head up to get rid of the leaper, who is thrown into the air with enough momentum to perform acrobatic maneuvers and other clever stunts before landing, presumably, back on his feet. I’m pretty sure this hasn’t been practiced by a sane person since the invention of the trampoline.

Another activity involving being thrown by a bull is mechanical bull riding. Mechanical bulls are most often found in bars (it helps to be drunk, apparently) where someone who is unlikely to ever come into physical contact with an actual bull can find out how much fun it might be to sit on the back of one and experience multiple spinal fractures as he or she is thrown twenty feet into the air. I think this activity was made famous in some old movie. Anyway, having watched rodeos on TV, I am inclined to believe that bull riding is not much fun for either the bull or the rider. Although the bull usually looks pretty smug at the end after he has ejected that @*%! from his back.

And then, of course, there’s the infamous Pamplona bull run in Spain. In this case, any number of young men choose to jump in front of a racing, rip-roaring herd of snot-spewing, crazed Iberian bulls to show how brave (read: stupid) they are. Legend has it that this activity was borne of the need to hurry up and get those bulls from one place to another, it having been determined that the bulls were inclined to move faster if they felt as though they might have the opportunity to gore one of those @*%! in the process. This was pretty much their last hurrah anyway, since the other place to which they were being herded was usually a bullring – and we all know how those turn out. Anyway, for female spectators, this is a good a place as any to ferret out those young men who are clearly not suitable life partners.

Finally, there is just good old fashioned “BS” ing. And no person is better at it than a politician. In fact, I think we Americans should hold actual BS throwing contests immediately prior to each political election. And since the best “thrower” invariably gets put into office by an approving electorate, I think the loser should at least get some kind of a consolation prize for taking the time to show up and entertain us. How about one of those excellent cow patty clocks shown above?

By the way, my niece Haley explained to me why cows often wear cow bells (in case you didn’t know): It’s because their horns don’t work: Rimshot!

Clyde’s dale

I’ve always loved horses. Probably because, as I’ve noted in earlier essays, I was raised on a seemingly unending series of TV westerns during my childhood back in the 50’s (remember this? Cowboys and Cowgirls)…


If you have ever enjoyed a box of Cracker Jacks you may recall that each box includes some kind of semi-excellent prize. I quickly learned that those trinkets, along with the peanuts, usually settled to…


    “Cow Patty” is actually a song by Jim Stafford, the person who also brought us “(I don’t like) Spiders and Snakes” among other humorous ditties.
    My tune is “Patti has a Song”. It was written because “Cow Patty” was the only song which included Patty in the title. Her friends and family members, Rosemarie, Renee and Sherry had song which were hits: Smile for Me Rosemarie, Walk Away Renee and Sherry (Baby).
    When the chips were down I figured she needed a real song of her own. Excerpt from the song…
    “She doesn’t have the glam of Ba-Ba-Ba-Ra Ann or of bobbysoxer Peggy Sue but she has the charm of Sherry baby and the warmth of Sara’s Smile, now G-L-O-R-I-A you’re going to have to walk another mile… Patti has a song.”

    I like you newest essay a lot, Skip. Thank you for it.

    Did you know that Harry Frankfurt, “one of the world’s most influential moral philosophers,” has written a whole book on bullshit? Well, he has, and it’s called, without surprise, ON BULLSHIT. I’ve given it as a gift on more than one occasion to friends I thought could benefit by reading it. Not you.

    But that’s not why I’m writing back to you. Here’s why:

    In your “riff” on Pamplona, you have the men running with (or from) the bulls and the women watching them do it. I thought I’d add a footnote to let your readers know, if they don’t already, that women are not just “spectators” at the Fiesta de San Fermin in Pamplona every July; they’re in the streets too, with the men and the bulls, running.

    So let’s grant the women their equal status—CRAZY doesn’t discriminate between genders—and maybe rethink why it is they’re there in Pamplona. Might it be that they’re there for the rush, yes, but to find “suitable life partners,” as you have called them, too?

    I’ve been to Spain myself but never to Pamplona, never to run with the bulls. And I had a student once, at UNF, who told me that I was “only a tourist” in Spain for that reason. My student, though, was something different and more than a tourist, or claimed to be, because SHE had done what I had not. SHE had been to Pamplona and run with the bulls, not once but twice.

    Keep on writing, Skip. And I’ll keep on reading.


    P.S. There are some great pictures of women running with the bulls on the World Wide Web. I have my favorites and wish I could upload them here, but I can’t. If you’re interested, you can find them yourself via Google.

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