I have had terrible writer's block so at the request of my three remaining loyal readers, here is a repost of an earlier piece. Since I barely remember writing it, I figure you will barely remember reading it!
“Miss Spellman, please report to the office, your sheep are grazing on the infield.” There was no other “Miss Spellman” at Matilija Junior High, and no one else in middle school raised sheep. Like the socially retarded specimen I was (am) I took this one head on, and didn't live it down. Ever. Someone asked me about it at my recent high school reunion. It was all the goat’s fault. The goat could lift the fence with its horns, coax the entire flock through the gap and lead them on local escapades.
I spent most of my adolescence wondering what was wrong with my family. Normal people adopt rescue animals like dogs and cats. My parents adopted a pygmy goat from a family threatening to kill it, literally. This should have been a clue. “Annie” arrived in her pert little package of a body and shortly took over the barnyard like the seed of Chucky. Goats have a special kind of intelligence that borders on stupid. They will eat anything, climb anything and have little natural self preservation. Their mental operations parallel the intelligence of pubescent boys. And somehow, as a junior high girl I liked both of them.
But both were also completely indifferent to my feelings. The principal watched in annoyance as I phoned home telling my mom I needed permission to leave campus to walk the flock back home. Listening to this humiliating exchange were two boys waiting to be dealt with. I don’t remember their names, I just remember the hot sting of humiliation of being noticed in a way I didn’t want to be noticed. They snickered like Bevis and Butthead, and I remember it to this day.
Why is adolescence universally spent trying to mold ourselves into a mold that doesn’t actually exist? I wanted so badly to be accepted, to be normal, even popular. The reality was, popular girls had regal equine livestock that didn’t escape and drop poo pellets on the soccer field. This undoubtedly is why they were ‘popular’.
Now, in my middle age I realize it’s always better to have some form of goat around. The confident leadership with which Annie commanded our little flock of sheep took them on adventures they never would have had left to their own devices. They tasted a variety of foliage unavailable to them in the confines of their field. They broke into the house, completely decimated the neighbor’s garden, ate a sack of unidentified garden chemicals from the garage, these are the things goat dreams are made of. I suppose that’s a gift: be brave enough to try anything and, when necessary, use your horns.
"It is not advisable James to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener." - Francisco d'Anconia, Atlas Shrugged
"The soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut taxes now." - John F. Kennedy