Ten Things To Know About Cow-tipping

Note. For purposes of safety, do not confuse cow-tipping with outhouse tipping. The latter can get you damaged by the outhouse occupant. If you do practice this sport of outhouse tipping, please be prepared to run like hell.

1.   According to the International Organizations for the Advancement of Cow-tipping United for Pleasure (better known as IACTUP), cow-tipping has been in existence since the founding of the country. Previous to the coming of the English at Jamestown, the Indians participated in a practice called bear-tipping. Due to the high percentage of loss of life from the exercise, the Indians were absolutely thrilled when they discovered the English had brought several cows and a bull with them to the New World.

2.   When the country was trying to decide who the first president would be, the founding fathers held a cow-tipping contest. George Washington beat out Thomas Jefferson by fifteen seconds. General Washington would have done a slam dunk of three minutes had he not dropped his false teeth and picked them up and put them back in his mouth. The teeth always needed considerable adjustment. Why did he waste time retrieving his teeth? He knew that the paparazzi would be taking photos and he wanted to look his best.

3.   When Theodore Roosevelt went west, he participated in the sport. He not only tipped cows. He tipped waiters. He tipped waitresses. He even tipped buffalo. By the time he returned east, he had gotten himself into the Guinness Book of Records with forty-three cow-tips.

4.  According to Hoyle’s Rules for Cow-tipping, proper attire must be worn for a successful cow-tipping affair: For the casual cow-tipping, broad-brimmed hat such as a cowboy hat, long-sleeved shirt, jeans and boots can be worn by both men and women. For the more formal affair, broad-brimmed hat, black tux and dress boots for the men. For the ladies, a gown of any color will do in addition to the hat and the boots.

5.  It is essential that the prospective cow-tipper bring two bottles of whiskey to the arena. One for the cow-tipper, one for the cow.

6.  Before the actual cow-tipping, identify the target of your affection. Is it a cow or is it a bull? To do this, approach said target from the rear, lift the tail and inspect the goodies. If a bull, please do not disturb the fellow. Back away slowly and leave him in peace. He may very well think you are a cow. Bulls are well-known for their poor eyesight.

7. When approaching the cow, watch your step. If you don’t, you may be up to your neck in manure. In 2012, thirty potential cow-tippers died from drowning in the stuff.

8.  If you happen to hear loud noises during your cow-tipping, it probably is not a car backfiring. More than likely it is a the cow’s owner. He/she may very well be  upset with you for cow-tipping without a license. Cow owners, better known in the local vernacular as cow havers, have been known for their excellent marksmanship when drawing a bead and firing on a potential cow-tipper. In most Western states, it is not against the law to damage a cow-tipper. IACTUP is lobbying to have the law changed. The Wyoming legislature in 2013 was the first state to cooperate. California may soon join Wyoming.

9.  Cow-tipping has become so popular there is a movement to create a National Cow-tipping Hall of Fame.

10.  A cow-tipping kit is now being sold for all those amateurs who may see this as a rite of passage into adulthood. Please follow the instructions exactly. The manufacturer will not be responsible for any deviations.

The First Day of School

Under the sign of the A-B-Cs
a teacher auditions for a semester run
as actor, director and stage manager,
standing before a new class
ready to loot and pillage his emotions.

A moment, just a moment of stillness,
before a return to a hue and cry
of gossip, comradery, and spit balls
thrown across the room with an accuracy
of a Major League pitcher,
thirty mouths filling the air with chaos.

Suffering from stage fright and first day jitters,
his balloon of molding young minds
crashing to the hardwood floor,
he turns his back to the mongol horde
who has slashed and burned his enthusiasm
into a thousand humpty-dumpty pieces,
folds his arms and faces
the giant musical notation on the blackboard.

And he waits.

A September breeze eases through the open windows.
One by one student voice after student voice
drops off a cliff until silence fills the air.
The teacher unfolds his arms,
turns to his audience,
and the play begins,
neither a comedy nor a tragedy
but a semester of moments
when stars are born
and Shakespeares emerge
and young minds released
to play with unicorns,
follow yellow brick roads,
and grow wings and fly.

The Comedian

Stan wasn’t funny. Fifteen years of doing stand-up, he hadn’t learned one thing about delivering a joke. And improv didn’t work for him either.

He’d tell stories and the audience ended up crying. He tried ventriloquism and the dummy didn’t talk. Somebody suggested puns. For the life of him, he couldn’t figure out what a pun was. Limericks? He couldn’t rhyme. Funny songs? He was off key and his timing was unbelievably bad.

He was so bad the other comedians felt sorry for him. So they suggested he get a partner. Stan kept talking over Ralph Horowitz’s delivery. And when Ralph tried a Tommy Smother’s bit of “Mama liked you best,” Stan agreed.

It wasn’t that Stan didn’t have a sense of humor. He did. That was the tragedy of it all. A fellow comic would tell a joke, any joke, and Stan was guffawing all over the place.

Knock knock jokes? Stan was on the floor.

Impressions? Stan was on the floor.

Light bulb jokes? Stan was on the floor.

Poor Stan. He was desperate to be funny. It was his mission in life. To make people laugh. It all started with George Carlin. Carlin has set so many comedians on their road in life that they’ve given up counting. Stan was just one in a crowd of many to catch Carlin-itis.

Since Carlin had his “seven words you can’t say on tv,” Stan tried “seven words you can say on tv.” Not funny.

Bill Cosby did Fat Albert; Stan tried Skinny Phil. Fat is funny; skinny is not. He tried out tennis jokes. Little did he realize that golf was funny; tennis was not.

Bob Newhart used a phone as a prop. Stan tried that. The thing Stan didn’t get was that Bob was talking to an imaginary person on the other end. All Stan got was dead-phon-itis. The bit went over like a fart in church.

And speaking of church. Stan tried the Stan Kinnison route. Just so you know Sam was a Pentecostal preacher before he became a comedian but that’s not a stretch. Both are show business.

Anyway Stan was impressed with Sam’s take on religion, so he went and got himself baptized. And he almost drowned. Glug-glug jokes didn’t work for Stan either.

One sad day, a Tuesday morning, after a Monday night of really, extra special, bad performing, Stan looked in the mirror. Tears streamed down his face. “When am I going to ever learn?”

Stan could have prayed but he had tried that. After 1,917 prayers, he knew that was not going to work. God wasn’t listening. He wasn’t even sure there was a God. If there was a God, maybe he was having a laugh at Stan’s expense.

There was only one thing left to do. He left the dump of a hotel he’d been staying at. He walked several streets over and came to a hardware store. He went down the aisle and found a coil of rope. Took it to the cashier.

“How long is this rope?” Stan asked.

“Long enough to hang yourself,” the clerk answered.


“Yeah, it’s right there on the label.”

He went back to his apartment and threw the rope onto the bed. He opened the closet door and pulled out his dummy.

“What are you doing?” the dummy said, then saw the rope. “Not that. Please not that.”

Stan sat the dummy down in a chair, then grabbed the rope and made a noose.

“Please, no,” the dummy cried.

“Whether you like it or not,” Stan said, holding the rope tightly, staring into the dummy’s glass eyes, “you’re going to teach me how to be funny.” He shook the noose at the dummy. “Or else.”

The dummy let out a sigh of relief. “I thought you’d never ask.”

This Age of Deliveries

I have been thinking of the word “delivery.”

In this Age of Deliveries
delivery men and women rush about
city street to city street
dropping off essentials
and non-essentials
house to house.

The mail carriers
through snow and rain and heat
deliver our mail: sales pitches, bills
and credit card offers.
And an occasional birthday wish
but never a letter. You see,

we have lost the art of letter writing.
Once upon a time a letter
was a delight to receive
and the mailman was a friend
who delivered that cherished event.
And there are other kinds of deliveries.

A doctor delivers a newborn,
a celebrity delivers a graduation speech,
and a friend of the family delivers a eulogy,
then six more deliver her casket
to a piece of earth where we
deliver our farewells.

I have been thinking of the word “delivery.”

Mother Tao and Honorable Monkey

This is the beginning of all things. Ah so.

First, Honorable Saucer.

Next, Honorable Cup.

Then Heavenly Tea. ah so minty, ah so warm, is poured into Honorable Cup.

Mother Tao lifts Heavenly Tea to Her Honorable Lips and drinks, sets Honorable Cup back down on Honorable Saucer. Out of the Tea pops a Child, a beautiful brown Monkey.

Ah so, this Monkey the Trickster God.

Honorable Monkey sits in the soothing Tea and wonders, “What can I do to play a trick on Mother Tao?”

Ah so.

Honorable Monkey ducks back into Heavenly Tea. Mother Tao searches. She searches everywhere for Honorable Monkey Child.

“Here I am,” Honorable Monkey sticks his head out of the Tea, laughing and clapping.

But Mother Tao is sad.

“Why you so sad?” Honorable Monkey asks. Mother Tao does not speak. Honorable Monkey knows why Mother Tao is so sas. She is alone, except for Honorable Monkey Child. Honorable Monkey thinks about this, and thinks and thinks and thinks some more. He thinks until he falls asleep and sleeps for a Thousand Years. This is why sleep time is known as the Thousand Year Rest.

“Ah so,” Honorable Monkey wakes and says, then he laughs his most mischievous laugh. He jumps against the side of Honorable Cup and Honorable Cup tips over and Heavenly Tea spills out onto the Cosmos. Honorable Monkey sneezes.

Ah choo!

Gods and goddesses appear, swimming in the Tea, running through the Cosmos. Soon there are many gods and many goddesses. Mother Tao smiles. She is no longer alone.

“Thank you, Honorable Monkey.” Mother Tao is happy, and surprised, pleasantly surprised.

But soon the gods and goddesses choose up sides. Soon there is a War and it rages a Thousand Years. Mother Tao is so sad. Tears well up into Her Eyes. So many Tears that it begins to rain. It rains and rains and rains.

One of the gods, the Jade Emperor, breaks off a piece of porcelain from Honorable Saucer and it becomes his Raft. On this raft is the Jade Emperor and his Ten Wives, each more beautiful than the other. The rest of the gods and the goddesses drown. Only the Raft of the Jade Emperor with the Eleven upon it float on the Sea of Heavenly Tea.

After a journey of ten thousand miles, the Jade Emperor lands on a mountain. There he builds himself a luxurious Palace. Also he builds Palaces for each of his Ten Wives. Each morning the Jade Emperor walks to the August Heavenly Tea House near his Palace and watches his Uncle the Sun appear across the Eastern Sky. From the Tea House he smiles down upon his children, the sons and daughters of the human race.

Each Spring his children honor their Father, the Jade Emperor. Each Summer they honor his Ten Wives. Each Autumn they honor Mother Tao. Each Winter when the world is covered with ice and snow, and it is bitter cold, they honor Honorable Monkey Child the Trickster God. They know he is hiding in the Heavenly Tea but will pop out soon with his “Ah so.” Then it shall be Spring again as it has been for Ten Thousand Years.

Ah so.