I’ve said before that you should always imagine me like Bruce Willis in Die Hard. I stand by that advice in spite of its preposterous inaccuracy. However in my latest cattle adventure, the similarities numbered one more than usual: just like Bruce Willis in Die Hard, I was barefoot.
The rest of the similarities dissolve when I remind you that the part of the terrorists wasplayed by a dairy cow, albeit one with a very threatening countenance and a certain…. Well, I’ll call it gravitas, because it was aided by gravity. Cows are big and heavy.
They are also not deaf.
As you might recall, in my efforts to report a fugitive cow, I had left the safety of my house to find the name of the street which runs beside it. I blithely overlooked the possibility that the cow might be aggressive and might react to my presence. I just wanted to be helpful to the police.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re near some potentially dangerous creature and you’re wondering how you can get it to notice you and thus endanger you further, I suggest that you talk loudly on the phone. I had considerable success with this method. I was still on the phone with the police because I wanted to be able to tell them the street name once I found it. When I rounded the corner of my house and saw that the cow was about thirty feet away, I announced the fact. The cow heard me.
It stopped, seemed to hesitate for a moment, then turned slowly to face me. At that point I froze in place because I’ve seen too many dinosaur movies. I literally tried to stand perfectly still in the hopes that it wouldn’t see the giant fellow right in front of it. Maybe cows are like movie Tyrannosaurs and I would have been invisible to it had I not moved, but I’ll never know because at the very least, as I said before, cows are not deaf.
I couldn’t stop narrating. I attracted the attention of the cow by describing to the police that I was attracting its attention. “I think it might have noticed me. Yeah, I think it’s noticed me. Oh, it’s seen me! It’s seen me!”
Then the unthinkable happened, or at the very least something happened which was unthinkable to me. Had I thought of it as a possibility, I might have stayed inside.
The cow charged.
First, I should say that a charging cow is a surprisingly intimidating sight. Even though I generally think of cows as friendly, almost cuddly animals, there’s something viscerally threatening about so large a thing approaching quickly. Second, I should say that cows are surprisingly spry. It accelerated better than my car does, which may not be saying much, and better than me too, which is probably saying less; it was incredibly fast. Third and finally, I should say that cows look surprisingly silly when they charge and the comedy is just as visceral as the terror. I have never in my life enjoyed peril so lightheartedly.
It launched itself at me with the predatory elegance that one might expect from a cow. I bolted with the quick-witted evasiveness that one might expect from the traditional prey of the cow, grass. We were like bloopers from a nature documentary, and I couldn’t stop narrating: “I’m being chased by a cow! I’m being chased by a cow!”
We wife heard me shouting that as she watched me run past the front windows of our house. I like to imagine that she felt a swell of pride about being married to me, but since I was running from a herbivore at the time, I suspect pride might not be the most likely candidate. She had warned me not to go outside. She has a disturbing knack for anticipating when I’m about to be involved in something ridiculous.
Even the police found it funny. While I was fleeing for my life and hoping that the cow wouldn’t catch me and step on my fragile little toes–crushed toes were the danger I thought about most at the time–I heard the police laughing in my ear. They must have put my call on speaker-phone at some point, because I heard laughter from probably half a dozen people.
Fortunately for me, while cows are not deaf, they are cumbersome. They’re more cumbersome even than I am, which is rather more cumbersome than any mammal has any business being. I escaped because I cornered better. The cow lumbered past me and then, perhaps because I was no longer worth the effort of turning around, continued away through the neighborhood.
I never found out what happened to it. I did learn an important lesson though. A few minutes after all of this, some chickens escaped from the same place and also ran through our yard. I stayed in my house.