We all have aspirations: to get fit, find a better job, finish a big project, take up a new hobby, travel to distant lands, write the next great American novel, whatever. I still haven’t given up my childhood hope of being Quincy, M.E.
Yesterday, however, based on an article in the Wall Street Journal, I changed my life goal. The article was on the bottom of the front page, and was titled “Dairy Queens Get Water Beds, Country Tunes and Backscratchers.”
Naturally, I thought this was a new initiative by the Dairy Queen ice cream franchise to lure in a new demographic (Luke Bryan lovers with eczema and arthritis).
But as it turns out, the article was about dairy cows, and in it, reporter Benjamin Parkin detailed the efforts American farmers are undertaking to keep their cows producing at the highest rate in the world. (Go, American Cows! USA! USA!)
Reading the article, I got thinking about what bovine stress might look like…
The barn is mortgaged, the cost of hay is rising, you’re concerned about the stock market*, and Angus just doesn’t look at your haunches the way he used to. The calves are rowdy, Farmer Bob is ornery, and it’s been ages since you, Bessie, and Flossie got together to chew the cud. (*ha, ha. Get it? Stock market?)
Stressed cows, it would seem, produce less milk. This negatively impacts the farmer’s bottom line, so, in the great spirit of American innovation, our farmers have come up with some genius ways to reduce bovine stress. Here they are:
- Water beds
- Back scratchers
- Robotic cleaners
- 12 hours per day minimum lying down
- Memory foam resting places
- Open plan barns
- Beach balls
According to the Journal, the stress-reduction efforts are working! Cows are socializing more (particularly in the line for the back scratcher), producing more milk, and generally exhibiting more placid, stress-free behavior.
I don’t know about you, but that list sounds pretty damn good to me. Twelve hours in bed? Done. Sprinklers and fans? Yes, please. Back scratchers? Sign me up!
So, I’m sorry, Quincy, but I no longer want to spend my days making Y-incisions and breathing formaldehyde. I have a new aspiration: I want to be a dairy cow.
But you should know right now that if any one of you writes back and says “Mission Accomplished,” I will find you. Locate you. Hunt . You . Down. I may be a simple dairy cow, but I’ve got feelings…