Bags of Bran


I Smell Like a Goat
May 12, 2012, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Biography

It’s that wonderful time of the year when I’m done with school. Done! Mostly. Some odds ‘n ends to tidy up, but all the major goodies are in and accounted for.

This morning, Lady and I and my mom went to the zoo. Not the free zoo, the $18 a head zoo. We had some free passes, of course, but we also only had 2 hours to walk around, and beautiful sunshine to do it in. That’s $9 an hour for those keeping score at home: not exactly thrifty hire. Furthermore, it was Free Feral Children Day, and several teeming hordes of feral children were causing murrain in the aquarium portion of the zoo. Normally the aquarium is my favorite, as sea creatures possess a charm that mammals just can’t pull off. I am especially partial to squids and octopodoi for their strange and wonderful hunting habits: if I had eight arms and a beak and the ability to change the color of my skin, I’m sure I’d be strange and wonderful to observe as well.

Getting away from the feral children and their devastation to my mellow meant moving quickly to the apogee of the compound, and so we hoofed it out to the faux farm at the yon end of the map. We passed some noble-looking camels, some prairie dogs that were playing freeze tag, and a fenced-in area that looked to be a mosquito hatchery. Finally we arrived at the farm. I misidentified the horses straightway, thinking that the Percherons were Belgians. Grrr… shoulda known better. With the cows I did better: I got the Ayrshire and the Dutch Belted, and the (duh) Holstein, and the Jersey. Another, gargantuan Jersey I mistook for a Brown Swiss, but boy howdy, she was a big’un.

After a good tour of the various creatures, we headed for the goats. Lady likes the goats, so Mr. Man compliantly accompanied her to the bustling pen where dozens of the beasts roamed about. They all seemed to be in a general good humor, especially the pygmy goats, who seemed to be very well fed indeed. The small little goatlings are adorable, and only just a hair too big to be a significant temptation for would-be goatthieves.

In a pen by himself was an elderly billy goat; not particularly gruff, nor large enough to be a significant threat, but for some reason isolated from his goatmates. He had long, ribbon-like horns of well over a foot, and a generous beard to match. He seemed to be an amiable chap, so I reached into the cage to give him a friendly scritch right behind his horn where I know they have trouble scratching. If you, reader, have ever scratched an old dog and had him lean on you and start kicking and drooling in raptures of canine delight, this was the goat version of that. The old fellow leaned so hard that two of his hooves left the floor, and began wagging his little tail briskly. Not sure what that means to a goat, but when I stopped scratching, he reared up, put his front hooves on the fence, and smiled at us.

I had never seen a goat smile before, nor had I heard of such a thing. Google images revealed to me that it does, in fact, happen. Perhaps “smile” is a bit interpretive, but he gave us tremendous evidence of good dental hygiene and held that pose for several seconds. By now, Lady had joined me to see the goatish grin: it changed our lives. We both scritched the old fellow for a few minutes and he leaned that way and this, evidencing his delight.

He will remember us.

And we will remember him.

I went to work a few hours later and was laboring away at my duties when all of the sudden I caught a pungent whiff of… what is that? I checked the object of my labors, and it was not the source of the odor. Huh. Then I smelled it again: a musky, dank smell that reminded me of… lutefisk? Lamp oil? Lamborghini? Landmark Baptists? Leprechauns? LANOLIN! Aha! Evidently I still had some goat stink on my arms… that I had washed already. So I washed them again–twice–and I still smelled like a goat.

Stinky old goat.

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