a treatise on sundry bovidae topics as: Cow Greetings. Cow Banners.
Also may contain capricious claptrap. codswallop. and flapdoodle.
“ What a piece of work is a cow! how now in reason!
how infinite in lactation! in form and moving how
express and admooable… ''
~Captain Jean Luc Picard, USS Enterprise: Cow Greeting, Alpha Prime
That is what this is about, I do not mean, 'cow greetings to you'.
| Cow Greeting
n. — A form of animal magnetism: a practice of
| respectful greeting and paced communication observed in advanced
| cultures, by individuals or small groups, when they chance to intersect
| with one or more cows.
Most times a verbal affirmation, a genuine and earnest attempt to communicate as befits sentient equals. It must be a respectful
acknowledgment; not cow 'hazing'.
Or attempts to communicate telepathically (“Coow I am thinking of a cow you
cow. Can you hear me? Wink now! Now the tail…tail….tail…YES!!”) … or
for the really obsessed, an attempt at telekinesis (Exercise for myself:
lift the cow and place it on top of the car; begin).
Or even a completely nonverbal encounter where one observes and/or mimics
the cow's behavior; but while there are no fixed rules of decorum, tread
lightly here and strive for a quiet novelty, not a boorish pranksterism, and
certainly not outright holliganism.
I am sad to report that most people with which I have intersected cows, when
encountering one sudden-like – merely note its presence, at best. I refer
to this regrettable condition as “cow-blindness”.
Cow blindness seems to be a isolated factor which if addressed would improve
National Security: how can we even give serious thought to the idea that the
average citizen might be empowered to recognize suspicious activity, a suspect
or any real threat… if they are so out of touch that they waltz right past
a massive sentient life form with really large eyes?? Or when noted, huff
right away as if they are too arrogant for a moment of eye contact and a
(Come on, say it out loud. “Howdy.” HOWDYfficult cowed that be?)
Sheesh. Some folks will never come around. But there is some good news.
Almost all children are cow-aware to some extent into adulthood; the ritual
itself is a resonant echo of a state that often fades during adolescence:
here is a non-threatening creature much larger than oneself; a chance to
apply risk assessment (parents take note!), courage, with wonderment and
whimsy. I consider cow greeting to be a civilized and therapeutic practice.
If one day a space faring race chances to land somewhere on Earth and makes
contact with a person – practiced cow greeters may have a discernible
advantage here. Even if the aliens' biology is radically different, a
greeter's subconscious would offer its template of basic behavior and
sequence, a smooth foundation upon which the conscious mind may perform
analysis and assessment with calm assurance and spontaneity.
A cow greeter thus ready for a 'best case alien contact scenario' would not
necessarily be prepared for a 'worst case'! If aliens are in the cards, the
advanced greeter would do well to turn study towards 'bull greetings'!
In a TRUE cow greeting there is NO callous or mean spirited behavior. Such
as eliciting a response with loud or threatening noise (“I screamed and it
jumped! I rushed 'er and she retreated! I am so clever”) or 'cow tipping'
(forget cows, try it on people – or a hippopotamus – for real laffs!)
The 'you-are-food' meme deserves special mention.
In fact… if approached in proper context it will even reveal the true
nature of all things! Like all good things do. I do NOT consider
'you-are-food' to be taboo or mean per se – one is merely acknowledging
a possible, even likely fate.
We are all 'emergency food'. If you cannot grasp this… at least others
might… and sleep easier knowing where their next (potential) meal is
Therefore with this firm principle in mind be ever wary of the ease – and
speed – with which the 'you-are-food' meme, or any other meme, comes to
If you had planned on using a 'you-are-food' meme and have reconsidered in
light of all this shocking truth… we apologize for the inconvenience. Next
time let us know first and we will pick a different angle that leads to the
On the philosophical plane fate is a most worthy food of discourse among
intelligent mortals; fate is possibly the only thing we will ever be able to
count on… yet who in their right mind could ever look forward to it?
Sweet. 'Fate' also branches out to all manner of places: serious
contemplation, dire humor, grand design (or foulup), pathetic irony – all
well traveled, worthy paths.
Or bathroom humor, for that matter. Where cows have gone excretory humor
never seems far behind. It follows then that they must really love it… or
they'd all be insane by now. So go ahead, step right in. But not those silly
crappy forbidden-word jokes and nervous laughter we use to pick
people-who-poop out of a crowd; the cow would not understand. To its
Lose the whole 'bathroom' thing though… unless you see one. Do you see
one? If there is one conveniently nearby, if money has changed hands
recently, or the cows are standing in ordered rows… if you see the
'handicapped' symbol, or cows are conspicuously numbered… Relax! you may
have stumbled into some sort of cow greeting franchise. It is inevitable, it is
just as real as anything else, and is probably a much shorter commute.
Ask about yearly family passes, gift certificates and the like.
In communication be graphically direct; the straight poop. A cow is by its
nature earthy, direct; and if you share this trait then there is common
ground, a fine excuse for communication.
Cows have noted a steady rise in 'faux-greeting'. In a typical faux greeting
they are approached by an alpha human and a number of acolytes. The alpha
approaches the cow in a sloppy or clownishly exaggerated pantomime of cow
greeting… gives in place of a real salutation a childish proclamation of
dominant status, a snide or empty remark such as you-are-food
insult. This cues the acolyte humans to laugh in a mirthless sort of way.
The audience is crucial, as a mechanism to assert social status.
Faux-greeting is also practiced deliberately in the company of cow Hazers
(not greeters!) to jeer and parody them in an exaggerated, dark manner.
Fauxs and hazers represent two distinct views of human and animal;
both groups are seeking entertainment but differ in practice.
If an alpha human is the entertainment, it is a Faux-Greeting. If the cow
itself is the entertainment – whether there is physical contact or not –
it is Hazing.
These two groups sometimes mix: this does help. Seeing a hazer's intent
shocks the gentler (but clownish) faux-greeter; conversely, the presence of
even one faux-greeter (especially a female) in a company of hazers might
keep things from getting out of hand. These encounters encourage both to
examine each others' motives honestly, and some day perhaps, embark
on a true reexamination of beliefs.
True Greeters could ease the tension by increasing their number until they
become an overwhelming majority: tension fades as it becomes obvious that
even if the problem regrettably cannot be solved with outreach psychology…
it can be solved in other traditional ways.
On to the greeting itself. A cow greeting is a interspecies debate with
extremely relaxed expectation in the fields of problem sharing, problem
resolution and actual communication. Empathy of any span to any degree,
is the proud objective.
In a debate the object is to greet and engage another in honest and noble
fashion. If you enter the arena with a tin cup and but a few drops of
cherished wisdom, held plainly for all to see… if the spirit be true,
others will sample sparse the merest essence; and they may offer bits of
their own to vivify yours so all may drink. This is the essence of good
sport. If you stroll in regally with what you obviously consider to be a
most magnificent fount of crystalline wit, the gambit is for a bigger win
or loss, not only in measure but in essence. You are not expected to share
freely but must offer a toast. A more perilous gambit: if its essence
appears not to be what was represented – even expected – you are simply
cast out. No crime has been committed.., only the dreariest of shams.
If you think you think more than a cow, you are possibly right. But you are
not necessarily being clever. If you think a cow thinks less than you do,
you are being – that is, striving to be – clever. But not necessarily
right. For all this travel, no distance has been covered or achieved. We're
so sorry Uncle Albert. For if concordance with observable fact is anywhere
on today's menu… well, I should say now is the time to order, the noon
rush has begun.
And in order to consider 'cows', why not… consider the cow. A hasty
intellect of lesser clarity (or greater arrogance) might be inclined to…
study the cow. But it's too late for all that.
Whilst you were lost in the space between what seems to be and what is, the
cow has made better use of its time. It has already… considered you.
You are like two strangers on the bus. Mutually aware that each has
privately 'considered' the other, but no transaction has occurred. While
strangers are as strange as ever, you're just as you as you've ever been.
Smile! We navigate through rivers, oceans of people. Yet all the same, what
a sad little solitary world our minds occupy.
That's enough theory for now. Let's interrupt this chilly thread of gothic
angst with a real ice-breaker! Also known as a greeting. Suffice to say, if
you fail to greet you're dead meat.
Here is, in see-jane-run knee-jerk perceptual form, a 'failed' greeting.
Those who never tire of discussing the nature of things but never actually
get out to do anything will start to feel uncomfortable at this point.
There is no time to think. You are walking and there is cow. Grass. Eat.
You stop at a proximate but respectful distance. You wait.
Eating stops; the large head slowly raises and turns. Curious and unafraid.
You have been granted a personal audience. A most excellent opening:
idyllic setting, approach without threat, acknowledge without anxiety,
mutual attention. The next move is yours.
NOW IMAGINE YOU HAVE SEIZED ON 'cow-as-food' as an excuse to parrot
some simple, brilliant zinger. Zing.
Now you're done, what fun that was. If you emit the nervous laugh rising in
your throat, it would just follow one pointless noise with another. Be still
now, and hold fast that shred of dignity your host will leave you. Now the
air has swallowed your trite remark without a trace. Listen, and learn.
This is not the rich silence of shared contemplation, reflection, muse.
It is a heavy, empty silence provided for you to meditate on your failure.
The eyes drift. The head turns away and you see the eyes roll upwards
briefly; the mouth opens a bit but there is no sound. Hopefully you
recognize this as a moo-that-wasn't-quite. No disrespect was implied – but
in grace and humor, you have been bested. Spare a smile and a nod for a
worthy opponent and honest critic.
When we attain success in life we will rarely pause on its plateau like we
had imagined we would; barely a moment's breath, set eyes and feet to
higher planes. There is No Rest for the Ever Becoming.
But at this moment you have possession of something that breathless
will wistfully envy: a place in time where you and a cow and some grass
could have been more… but in good sport have, in the least,
Next time you will do the 'food-thing' better: some insight or useful
information, openness and empathy. A shared jest perhaps, and if the
time is ripe, in confidence and brotherhood, germinate a conspiracy of
Then. Now, to sit (slowly) into the grass and cherish this restful interlude
of brooding failure. Maybe lay back (scan for pies, reorient if necessary)
and watch success and sky go by. Catch up with them much later when they
are winded and we are rested.
The brooding lifts in the whispering breeze like a red balloon, failure
suspended beneath. Some distance afield is a solitary tree; failure's path
meanders but by curious coincidence they intersect, stopping on one of the
branches beside a significantly tangled kite. An odd looking (boy?
familiar?) with round head faces the trunk, bobbing. Repeated sounds of
contact. Engaged in some kind of communion. Could he be a tree-greeter?
Autism? Hope not. Now he is just looking at the tree in what could be
described as… a vegetative state.
In a while I think I will head over there and try a tree-greeting. Then coax
him back here to lift his spirits. If he is used to trees it would be good
to encounter a cow. And how.
Or you could come as you are and open with a warm heartfelt
“MOO COW I seee you now. What a fine cow you are anyhow!”
and see where it takes you. Always a worthy sentiment and successful
greeting. No instruction booklet, but Life is not without workable
There is also the whole animal husbandry/wifery yuk yuk factor used to
target individuals, ethnic groups and of course, the animals.
I am 'profoundly unmoved' by these and my serene stony face makes for a
disappointing joke telling experience. Sometimes they assume I did not react
because I did not understand the reference… sigh.
Not even gross or controversial – in the verbal sense, such things are
simply unworthy of note. Forgive the Author, who has mentioned them for the
purpose of classification: verbal or not, obviously a form of hazing.
Meanness and buggery is ick, Poop is fine but even poop has limited range,
as do poopers. There is no audience!
There is only an Opportunity. Don't blow it.
If you encounter a cow … just be yourself.
I hope it works out.
——— APPENDIX: COW BANNERS
We must strive to reach them – these poor cow-blind people, not the cows –
to bring the humble cow greeting into wider use, end cow-blindness. Fill
their empty little lives with purpose?
WITH A BANNER, of course. Desperate crises yield desperate measures. What
could be more appropriate than some form of ADVERTISING… widely
considered to be humankind's most desperate invention.
But it must be something that, unlike most advertising, will not injure,
annoy or demean the animal, and (from the cow-blind person's perspective) it
must draw and capture their attention. Then as they read in the message a
tiny unused corner of their brain comes to life. They may even be
spellbound, as the cow itself seems to 'speak'!
Enough humor and good will towards the beast that sensitive cow greeters
will not take offense; but the critical target audience is those with cow
I suggest a light non-toxic pigment applied to the cow's surface; Perhaps a
red helium balloon, to draw attention to the writing and provide a requisite
'kick' to trigger first stage awareness.
Or you could just imagine that such things exist, and leave the cows as they are.
It would be your job to stand by to perform cow readings; should you slack off
on the job, you will have your own self to reckon with, I do not envy you.
Crass slapstick, sure but read on: after the message is read and considered
it is my sincere hope that a bit of whimsy remains, strong enough to lead
them gently into a full cow greeting. To see this technique reach and heal a
cow-blind person would be … almost as rewarding as the ritual itself.
If you skipped right to this section because you are attracted to snippets
of purported humor or wisdom in tiny packages… it would be advisable to at
least skim the rest for proper context.
Sample COW BANNERS:
COW DOES NOT CARRY CASH
IF YOU DO NOT FEEL COWED
PLEASE REPORT MALFUNCTION
SPEAK SLOWLY AND CLEARLY
STATE BRIEF QUESTION
LIFT TAIL, PRESS EAR TO RECEIVER
AND WAIT FOR ANSWER
SORRY, THIS COW IS NOT A WINNER
COW NOT LABELED FOR RETAIL SALE
TO BE USED FOR TAX PURPOSES ONLY
COWS DON'T COW PEOPLE
PEOPLE COW PEOPLE
COW IS ORDAINED MINISTER
CONFESS YOUR SINS
SPEAK SOFTLY, GO IN PEACE
AND SIN NO MORE
NO MONKEY BUSINESS
IF COW IS NOT THE ANSWER
YOU ASKED THE WRONG QUESTION
GENTLE CREATURE OF PLANET EARTH
OBSERVE QUIETLY FROM A DISTANCE
ON THIS DAY YOU HAVE SEEN A COW
YOU MAY NEVER SEE A COW SO FINE
SEEKING NOT WORSHIP NOT PRAISE
REJOICE AND REVEL IN THIS TIME
AS YOU REJOIN YOUR FELLOW HUMANS
CHERISH AND REMEMBER THIS MOMENT
IF YOU DO NOT EXPERIENCE GLADNESS
PLEASE REPORT COW OUT OF SERVICE
WE REGRET ANY INCONVENIENCE
UNTIL YOU SEE
PIES PIES PIES JUST 4 YOU!
STEAMING TASTY FRESH DAILY
EACH ONE MADE TO ORDER
PLEASE WAIT TO BE SERVED
ASK CHEF FOR RECIPE BOOKLET
SO SIMPLE AND EASY TO MAKE
OUR SECRETS REVEALED TO YOU
AN UNFORGETTABLE FAMILY MEAL