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The Mad Cow Dream

Always in the dream I’m alone. Except for the cows. The cheerfully
lumbering cows, occasionally brushing the air with their soft tails.
Yes, I know I’m being anthropocentric. But as long as I still exist as a
human being, albeit the only such being left on earth, I might as well
indulge in the narcissistic whimsey that we
humans--really I should use the singular here--can not only project our
thoughts onto all things not-human, but that our projected laser-beams always
pierce the heart of the target. Be it a fig, a tree, a cloud, a cow. Even
another human being. Back, of course, when other such beings still populated
this planet, most recently just before I extinguished my bed lamp.
Truth in madvertising. Accurate as the forecast for last week’s weather.
Because we, I, say so.
So there I am, the last person alive, like the last dinosaur. The last
person alive after the Mad Cows have conquered the planet.
But this is no nightmare. Far from it. True, the Mad Cows have
uprooted the grass as we knew it, repaved fields, paths, and freeways with
braids of their many-colored dung. Never did I suspect shit’s capacity for
so many shapes and colors. No, make that dung again, or cow-flop;
cow-patties. It is only befitting at such a supreme historical moment to be
polite as possible.
How much worse it could have been! All that hysteria about holes in the
ozone, anthrax, Le Bomb. The Saddams and the Sodoms and the Sad Dams; the
Bin-Ladens and the Kahane Chai and the Medellin and the latter-day Timothy
McVeighs. . .
All that anguish about whether annihilation by fire is preferable to
Armageddon via the Ice Capades. . . Meteors gone awry. The rebirth of god
or Nietzsche. Engulfment by our very own sun as it explodes in onanistic
ecstasy. None of these is any longer cause for alarm because
no cow is even remotely conscious of such absurd possibilities.
I see I’m on the verge of hyperbole. So let me just say that my position
is a most privileged one. As long as I keep my distance, observe the cows’
behavior as politely as possible.
There’s nothing the least raucous about these cows. And much they can
teach. So long as I observe politely, never touching, certainly never
brandishing anything with a blade. Yes, vegetarians, you might have had a
point after all. But what good did it do you? When the cows ultimately
triumphed, they made no distinction between carnivores like me and those of
you who fought death with tofu.
The smell? Pungent, of course. But no worse than the stench of a Burger
I get much pleasure from watching the cows wander at will, chewing their
cuds, giving forth generous amounts of milk so no cow suffers from envy. Or,
worse, from glut.
Do I worry about the cows’ alleged madness? Not at all. First, they
totally ignore me. And more important, now that they are free from threats
of extinction to sausage and steak tartare, tallow and limburger cheese,
their brains are busily engaged in the transmutation of rage into art.
Monumental dung-towers. Rumination chapels. A strangely haunting music
fused from sounds I once would have mistaken for bellows. Sand-grooves
engraved by delicate hoof marks.
Ah, soon the meadows and deserts will bloom again. With colorful
grasses, their wavelengths beyond the range of the human eye’s spectrum.
Fruits will flourish, melons the size of the moon. Slowly other forms of
life will return, often modified for the better. Stinger-less bees that
create the most viscous honey. Birds with lavish feathers to decorate the
cows’ broomlike tails. Especially upon one of their many festive occasions.
And soon the cows will take note of the stars, begin to rename them. The
mountains and rivers as well, darkened as the latter might be by the cows’
copious secretions and . . .
How I wish I could stay inside this dream forever. But always I know
when it is time to say goodbye. As likely the last dinosaur knew. . .
I am not afraid. Because I know the cows will escort me gently to the
border. I know this because I have entered this dream many, many times
And that even if at any given end-dream I should cross into the valley of
extinction, my bones will eventually be found and reconstructed for display
in one of the world’s many museums of prebovine history, all graced with
their ritual memorial plaques, a few souvenirs rescued from old barns before
the cows destroyed all such reminders of their quondam slave-status.
And such museums will be built throughout what we humans sometimes called
the land of milk and honey. . . Whose borders none will contest anymore
because the very notion of any contest will long be extinct.
Am I mad? What a question! Am I a cow? As the old song goes, "Am I
blue? . . ."