Embracing cow hugging

Well, folks, you’re not crazy yet.

Let me explain. You may very well indeed be crazy. These days, who isn’t? Just a little? But if you are just a little crazy you can take comfort in the fact that you’re not as crazy as some people.

Call me judgey, like my neighbor Maddy says, but I think we can separate craziness into tiers. The first tier is comprised of those of us who have dutifully isolated and are starved for some sort of interaction. We are now talking to our plants. Not like the grooviest gardeners instruct us, to talk to our plants gently, to get them to grow and flourish. No. We’re talking to our plants as full conversational partners. We’re also talking to our cars (more on that in an upcoming week), our furniture, and our newspapers. Some of us are shouting at our newspapers but this is nothing new. And, of course, we’ve always talked back to the television.

But a whole different level of craziness has emerged as a result of the pandemic. This level contains people who have embraced cow hugging. I am not making this up.

Close encounters of the bovine kind are going on in cow sanctuaries all over the country. When I was growing up, cow sanctuaries were called farms but I’m sure farm has taken on some ominous, cow-threatening connotation whereas sanctuary brings to mind abundant green meadows, babbling streams, and pre-warmed milking machines. People who are patronizing cow sanctuaries say they are desperate for affection and see cows as a source of this. At the risk of offending all the vegans and PETA members out there, I see cows as a source of steak. (I realize it is mostly steers that are used for steaks. But I do strive for accuracy and nowhere in the article did it mention that people wanted to hug a steer. So I have to direct all references to cows.)

Tales of the rendez-moos are actually pretty touching. One woman who understandably didn’t give her name related that she had a two-thousand-pound cow lay its head in her lap. She was so overcome with emotion she began to cry. Scientists who know about these things tell us animals are very perceptive to human feelings. If I had a one-ton cow in my lap I would be extremely careful not to upset it. I probably would not put myself in the position to have a one-ton cow in my lap but that is another story. I was reared next to a butcher shop outside a very small town. Entertainment was hard to come by so when it was butchering day, all the neighborhood kids gathered to watch. It was just like the French revolution, only with bullets instead of a guillotine. The cow would be roped and walked down the road on the way to its execution. Once it got to the rural equivalent of the Place de la Concorde, a small man with a big gun would do the deed. (The squeamish should probably quit reading about right now. Or a paragraph ago.) One time his aim was off and the cow, naturally, ran around madly, trying to escape. Nothing stood between the cow and the door but me and I was suitably put off any more cows getting near my lap. But if a cow would land in my lap, I don’t believe I’d cry. I’d think of something light-hearted and witty to say, such as “This is a no-slobber zone.” or “Get off.” or “Got milk?” That way the cow would know I was relaxed and not try to kill me.

A gift certificate for a massage or pedicure is always welcome. Now there are gift certificates available to treat your closest friends to a session to cud-dle (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) cows. I’m not sure about how an opportunity to hug a cow would stack up, gratitude-wise, to a hot stone massage, but I can just imagine.

Those who have experienced the nirvana of cow hugging come away from the episode with peace, serenity, and a seventy-five dollar charge on their credit card. Many have divulged their most intimate feelings about the event. I’ll share just one example. After one heifer-heavy hour one woman udder-ed (It appears I cannot help myself), “They’re very big.” You, too, can look forward to this level of tranquil insight. For seventy-five smackers.