Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fruit Ovine

Today we speak of sheep. This will be accomplished by a process of combing through Wikipedia in search of interesting tidbits, much in the same way that one would comb a sheep to look for vermin (if such a thing were done).

Fact 1: The term ‘owling’ was coined in the 17th century to describe the act of smuggling sheep out of the country, even though it had been illegal as a practice by that point for over 300 years. Owling. Why do these people want so much to put us in confusion? Apparently it was named thus because the act was carried out primarily in hours of darkness. The witching hour. Maybe they should have called it ‘witching’ instead.

But it’s a moot point, as nobody smuggles sheep anymore. Just another lost art. How do you fit one under your chemise? No one knows. It’s lost to history. So what should we do with a word whose loss of practical use has made it derelict? Is there any way to profit from its loss? There are most likely squatters living in it right now, getting drunk and breaking windows and starting fires on its original oak-plank floors. It’s a fixer-upper, owling. Just for fun, I’m picturing a sheep with talons and huge rolling eyes. The world of imagination is a fabulous place. The owl-sheep is lying in a hammock and drinking a gin and tonic.

And just to go back on myself a little bit if I may (rather than properly restructuring my essay), what term should one use for owl smuggling? I assume you would do it in the daytime, when the creatures are groggy and less violent. A good-sized owl could rip the face off you if she were so inclined, and I can’t imagine that wound would heal quickly, what with all the mouse entrails, dried or otherwise, which no doubt linger on her scaly feet. I propose here and now that we call it ‘sheeping’. I bet nobody saw that one coming.

Moving on to fact 2: it was the Romans that came up with the idea of making coats for sheep so that their fleece would remain white and fluffy until sheared. This (assuming the coats were made of wool) brings me to think of infinite regression. Or at least the beginnings of infinite regression, because even infinity has to start somewhere, as every journey begins with a blah blah blah. I didn’t even know that Romans had coats. I’m going to have to ask my research assistant to fact-check that one. This brings my mind even further along this old dusty road to the following question: when the Romans were in, say, Gaul, did they dress as the Gauls dressed? To put a fine point on it: when in Gaul, did they do as they Gauls did? Probably not. And how does a Gaul dress, anyway? Or did, or whatever. I bet they had buttons made of bone. Sheep bone, no doubt. So did the sheep’s coats have buttons made of sheep bone? That’s twisted.

Fact 3: there is a somewhat rare breed of sheep in North America called the Navajo-Churro, which comes originally from flocks brought to the New World by Spaniards. This breed is known to bear twins inordinately and usually grows more than one set of horns, so that one flips up like a retro hairdo and another heads south in the fashion of tusks. I don’t have anything interesting to write about this phenomenon, so I will leave you to ponder on it as I shift from one ruminant to another.

I’ve had an idea. This idea is yet another in the long line of time-saving inventions that spirals the human race further upward into the biotropicstratosphere, and allows it more time to sip cocktails in hammocks next to sheep-owl chimeras. We’re all about the empowerment of chimeras here at Knits a stinK. Here it is:

Humans hate mowing (fact 4). Sheep and cows are good at doing this for us (and are tasty to boot), but they are also prolific poopers which, all told, means that their attributes fall short of their faults. It’s a negative (read poop-laden) balance. Solution: bio-create a species of ruminating rat. We all know they’re hanging out in the hundreds out in the bushes anyway, cowering at the thought of coming into the open and being owled. Let’s put them to work! Bring them into the knowledge of the blessing of light! Forget the shame and the hatred – hasn’t it gone on long enough? Let’s give them the gift of another few stomachs and put them to (suburban) pasture. Their output is minimal and easily overlooked, and by my calculations a team of twenty ruminating norwegian rats could clear a two-acre lawn in a single sunny afternoon. Give your front yard that newly chewed look.

Wait a minute, I hear you say, those little mini-opossums are ugly as hell! I don’t want a herd of rats crawling all around my house. The merest thought revolts my brains! My response: you think I haven’t already considered that? Here: we’re going to give them pink fur as well. Precious pink mottled with a kind of spotty latte overlay. There’s more: they’ll be delicious roasted as well, once they stop living in filth and develop a healthy organic grass-fed diet. Just stick’em on a spit and they’ll toast up like a fuzzy pink potato (made of meat).

[This article ends with a potent aside on the chewing of cud.]


Drawn from the banks of the wide muddy Knits a stinK

1 comment:

Alexis E. Santi said...

dear god this was a joy to read.