A few months ago an author friend posted on Facebook a photo of a watermelon in a ditch. She couldn’t tell if it had been tossed there or if it grew there but decided she liked the idea of a wild watermelon. Comments followed. Most people discussed what a strange growing season it had been over the summer or other gardening related remarks. I had a different take and posted the following: “Wild watermelons are only cute until they join a gang.” Other writers chimed in and soon there were recommendations about what to do if a wild watermelon gang tried to take over your neighborhood.
Some people saw a watermelon growing in a ditch. I saw entirely different possibilities. I share this by way of introduction so that you will have some frame of reference for what is to follow.
I found this image on Pinterest and I cannot express how it makes me smile.
Please understand I am not callous in the face of poor cows falling from cliffs, in fact I feel quite bad for them. Someone added the caption: “How many times did this happen before they put up a sign?” but I want to know, “why didn’t they put up a fence instead of a sign?” I would love to save the gentle creatures from this terrible fate, but that is not the point.
The point is the sign.
I love how the cow is the standard, government-issued cow shape and it is almost serene as it falls towards its doom. There is no flailing of hooves or gnashing of big cow teeth, just this cow, stiff and stoic as it tumbles to its fate. Then there is the unsuspecting driver, unhurried and unconcerned. Rocks are falling, too. Maybe the driver is worried about them, maybe not. We’ll never know but we can make up such wonderful stories.
I’ve found similar signs on the internet all with the same cow, facing this way or that, plunging toward the road. Poor cows.
Of all the ways the cows are turned, they never are feet down. This is very important when it comes to the design of the sign. If the cows were shown feet first people might think there were magic floating cows, or maybe that the cows were jumping on the cars. Doesn’t that give one pause?
But why would cows attack?
I grew up on a farm in rural Michigan and while there were not a lot of cows around, there were a few scattered here and there. On occasion a group of teenagers might get bored, might seek said cows in the middle of the night and tip them over. These gentle creatures asleep where they stood, mindlessly chewing their cud and then… A car pulls over along the side of the road. Much giggling and discussion follows. Then the attempted stealth, followed by outbursts of mild profanity as the alleged cow-tippers are reminded that where there are cows, there are big, gushy piles of poop. Cow tipping is not for the mature or astute.
More often than not the cows awaken, disgruntled by the noise and wander off in search of quieter pastures. But sometimes they sleep on, dreaming of clover and “Big Roger,” the bull who lives on the other side of the fence. They aren’t bothering anyone. Sleeping, sleeping, then a shove and they’re on the ground, legs flailing, teeth gnashing.
Perhaps the cows aren’t falling at all, but jumping on cars to protest the vile and cowardly act of cow-tipping. But sadly, while cows are loving, gentle creatures they are not the brightest in the animal kingdom. I suspect they haven’t realized that they are jumping from too great a height. I trust they are learning from their mistakes.
So I’ve moved from the sign with cows falling off cliffs to cows seeking revenge upon humans. I imagine them meeting in fields, discussing their plans, designing capes and masks. If only one of their kind could sew!
Where others see a watermelon in a ditch, I see a gang of wild watermelon roaming the streets. Where others see a sign warning of cows falling onto the road, I see bovine superheroes seeking revenge.
How do you see the world?
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