Cow Tipping

The premise behind cow tipping doesn't make sense to me. The idea is that, because cows sleep standing up, you can sneak up on them when they're sleeping and push them over.

I grew up on a dairy farm in Maine. I've never seen a cow sleep standing up. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a cow sleep. No matter how late I'd go into the barn, the cows were always awake, all of them, chewing away.

Last summer I asked my dad about that. He'd farmed from age 4 to age 40. Nope, he'd never seen a cow sleeping, standing or otherwise.

I do know how to move a cow, a talent that came in handy when I needed to milk a cow that was too close to the side of the stall. Pushing on the cow does no good. Cows push back. Cows are heavy. Cows push back as hard as you push. Though I grow heavier at every meal, I'm still no match for a cow.

I can't describe the procedure exactly, but it involves wedging your shoulder in front of the cow's back leg, just above the udder, then lifting and pushing gently. Gentle is all it takes — it shifts the cow off her center, and she kinda stumbles trying to maintain her balance.

I haven't moved a cow in years, though I sometimes want to move people or organizations that push back as hard as I push. The cow-moving technique doesn't work quite as well with people — especially people who don't want you anywhere near their udders. You can trust me on that, or you can learn the hard way.

Here's a cow tip: Cow's tongues are very rough — rough enough that you can easily get a good grip.

Another: If you grip a cow by her tongue, she will do damned near anything you want her to do.

Finally: When you have a cow by the tongue, you usually find that there really isn't anything you want her to do.

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