The Official at the Fair

I’m sorry about the Twins baseball losses, but here is a story about the state fair.


The Official at the Fair
Recently, I watched a cow shit in a human-held bowl and get its ass wiped.    This activity isn’t normal farm work, but this was the state fair, and there were judges around.  Livestock have to be dainty, too, sometimes.
The guy behind the cow was obviously the man in charge of that activity that day at the fair.  He was discreet only in that he was so comfortable with the task he remained emotionless and expressionless.  Plus he was quick, like he could do it in his sleep and probably has.  For free, even. Other people didn’t notice, but I did because I didn’t have a cow entered for judging, and because the man was wearing a fluorescent green shirt with a reflective panel on it.  He wore a fluorescent, reflective shirt, because he was an official–an official in charge of cow excrement and wiping, and when he perfectly positioned a giant bowl (well really more of a wok) up to the dung hole of a Brown Swiss, I was riveted.
It’s hard to express this experience in complete sentences, because mostly I think about it in broken fragments and phrases.  Bowl and wipes in one hand.  Cow’s tail elevated in the other, like a friend who holds your hair when you puke.  I couldn’t turn away.  Have you ever seen a cow get its ass wiped?  There’s real motion to it, because the indent, or gap, under the tail and between the haunches of a Brown Swiss is large.  It’s a crevice really.  And it’s not just one wipe, and you can’t use TP.  It wouldn’t hold up.  You have to use Bounty and maybe even Brawny, the lumberjacks’ paper towel.
While engaged in the task, the official shit-man had to use swoops more than wipes.  Swoops to negotiate the crevice like he was searching for lost hikers who couldn’t get any traction to make it up the smooth valley walls.  It’s basically the same motion that the Dairy Princess, who was standing nearby, would have used earlier that day while waving in the parade; a smooth, cake-frosting rubber spatula side to side motion, but not with a spatula–with his hand and some Brawny he managed to roll off without setting anything down, mind you, into a giant ass-ready mitten.  A poetic rural balancing act, he cradled the bowl on his hip like an infant, and afterward, stood there matter of factly.  Obviously comfortable with this chore, the official forgot about what it is he does, I think, and he just did it.  He just does it.  And no he didn’t use hand sanitizer.  “Where does he work when the fair is done,” I wondered.  Maybe he’s like the fresh cut french fry guys, and he makes enough dough catching shit at the fair, he doesn’t have to work the entire rest of the year.  Maybe this is all he knows.  All he knows is shit.  I feel like that all the time.
I sincerely wish I could describe to you what it sounds like when a cow’s shit drops into an uplifted bowl, but I cannot.  Why?  Because I couldn’t hear it due to all the Brian Adams instrumental arrangements piping through the arena’s P.A. system.  Brian Adams Muzac, meant to calm and beautify cows, kept me from listening to the shit drop, and I so desperately craved to hear the shit drop, in order to pair another sensory perception with the disturbing visual.  A visual to which the cow wiping official and many fair goers had been desensitized, like homeless people to a business man.
I don’t like writing potty humor.  It doesn’t bring me pride. I know I am ruining my career, and that I will never get a Prairie Home Companion appearance because of this essay and perhaps others, but I can’t keep the cow thing inside anymore. That 45-second event sits like a water balloon, not in my heart, but more under my sternum, expanding my insides.  A secret I don’t want anymore. It’s something you have to tell people about so you can save yourself, like if I saw who shot JFK for real I’d have to tell you. So here is this secret that I only successfully kept inside for three weeks (if I am to be truthful).  Take it from me please.  I am offering it to you in your bowl.

Published in: on October 19, 2010 at 2:17 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. hee hee

  2. I understand the need to tell others about such an event. While in South Korea for work (teaching) the teachers took me out to eat & drink. After having some BBQ pork the waitress set a bowl in front of me. Inside the bowl was something I have only seen in a toilet at a fastfood joint. Not only that but the cubed crap (not sure if they put them in ice trays) looked like it had pimples too. And it just floated there in this thick steamy soup. Everyone said, “Go. Eat. You like.” To me the translation was, “Haha, watch him eat crap.” Well I didn’t want to offend. Plus there was more of them & pay day was around the corner so I cut a sliver of it with my spoon and just shoved it in my mouth praying I wouldn’t get sick. Surpisingly it tasted GREAT!! Tasted like Jell-O. After a couple more bites I asked what it was. The fellow teacher, who was also eating it as well says, “Pig’s blood.”

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