British Medical Journal 27th January 2010
I don’t like hunting, because it’s not very sporting; take the guns away from the rednecks, I say. If Sarah Palin strapped on a pair of horns and went head to head with a moose, that would be quite all right with me.
But strap on a pair and take aim at a cow, and the cow will just look on you pityingly. Cows mustn’t be very bright; they don’t have any religion. They are too primitive to understand that there is some big guy up in the sky who made everything and then chucked in a few arbitrary rules about eating fish on Fridays and stoning homosexuals as abominations.
But neither do cows ever hurry; they travel at their own pace with aldermanic dignity; they don’t have important appointments; they lack the ambition to join the million dollar club and buy that condo in Portugal.
Being delayed by cows is a part of the great tapestry of country life, so when I came up behind Joe magisterially guiding his herd along a narrow road I knew there was no point in getting stressed. Equanimity (or apathy) is one of my chief virtues, along with sarcasm and lust. Like Martin Luther, there I sat; I could do no other, but take a few moments out from life’s cares, peace dropping slow all about me, lulled by Joe’s soft encouraging croon and the gentle sussuration and whish of cow-tails.
Then, for a bit of divilment, I blared the horn. I saw Joe momentarily stiffen at this unmannerly breach of the country code, then pretend to ignore it, so I blared the horn again, leant out the window, and shouted, “Shift those bloody cows out of the way.”
This was too much; Joe turned and approached the car with a face like thunder. At the last moment I jumped out. “Joe,” I said, “It’s me!”
“By the hokey,” said Joe, “Is it yourself, doctor?”
“It’s me, bitch,” I confirmed in my best gangsta rapper jive, and then, in the style of the Pink Panther: “Ave you a licence for zeeze cows?”
Joe began to laugh, a great unstoppable infectious laugh, and I couldn’t help but join in. And as we rolled about in the middle of the road, the cows milled around us, bemused, but happy that we were happy and in no hurry to get anywhere.