I hate cows.
I had a dream once. A largeplastic cow with huge, benevolent eyes - the cheesy squared-off figure of achild's toy with a tail that didn't move, turned silhouette by the setting sun -stood drinking from a wooden trough full of scarabs. They skittered and crawledall over each other, dripping from her loose, plastic lips. She blinked at me.There was something sinister and macabre about the whole thing. Even jerkingawake couldn't erase the picture of horror from my mind.
Cows are nastyanimals, let me tell you. No, they are nothing like the sleek male creatures thatwhirl so powerfully through the red cloth bravely held by the ridiculouslyfestooned and rakishly mustached Spaniards.
They stink, for one thing. Oh,boy, do they stink. It's that manure-plus-hay smell that gets all over yourclothes and won't ever come out. I abhor that smell. It turns my guts likenothing else, and makes me want to burn any clothes, favorite t-shirt or no, thatcarry even its slightest hint.
And let me tell you something else: milkwill never taste the same after you've spent substantial amounts of time aroundthe bovines it comes from. Every time I pick up a glass, it's likePépé le Pew walked by: I can almost see the smell floating past mynose in wavy green lines.
It's unnerving the way they look at you, likethey can't quite figure out how you got there and don't know what to make of you,since you don't smell like food. The damn cow just wants to be milked.
Butyou know what I hate most about cows?
They grow on you.
When theold ones aren't giving enough milk or birthing enough calves, you've got to dosomething with them. And then you realize that cow's been around longer than youhave and you remember all the times she snuffled at your skirt and made you smileor laugh at her innocent, pushy displays of unquestioning affection.
Butwhat do the memories change? You've still got to do something with her, 'causeprofit is the name of the game, and you haven't got a choice but toplay.
Hack her up, put a meat hook in her backside and tan her hide intosomebody's purse. You see that leather jacket? It's got that little tag with thegold "Genuine Leather" written on it. Do you know the cow it came from?Perhaps. And isn't it nice to know that her hide is so sought after. Posthumousappreciation is the best kind.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.