A Socratic Rancher 1-11-10 | TheFencePost.com

A Socratic Rancher 1-11-10

J.C. Mattingly
Moffat, Colo.

In the Middle Ages, it was thought goats scampered about whispering lewd things into the ears of saints, corrupting them to the point of insanity. And, of course, there’s a story in the Bible about separating the sheep from the goats, the latter, presumably, being somehow unclean or troublesome.

It never occurred to me that goats might be equated with anything evil until a traveling salesman, Roger, and his assistant, Fred, happened by on an occasion when my goats had escaped and were having a lot of fun herding me around the barnyard.

Because the visitors were a momentary novelty, the goats gathered round to check them out, nibbling at their pockets and sleeves, putting two front feet up on their car hood, sniffing their fundamental orifices – doing all the usual things goats do to get acquainted with strangers. Unaccustomed to this style of friendliness, Roger commented that, according to something he’d heard, possibly in church, goats were suspect creatures. “How do you actually manage to live among them?” he asked.

“I don’t let them in the house, at least not intentionally,” I explained. Roger’s curious expression provoked the latent professor in me. “Perhaps you weren’t aware of the fact that humans owe their large brain size to goats.”

“They do?” asked Fred, forehead expressing full doubt.

“It’s actually a function of protein,” I continued. “As homo habilis and homo erectus cleverly domesticated goats for milk, meat and hide, they enjoyed a diet rich in protein, which in turn enabled them to grow a larger and larger brain. From erectus to habilis you have a net increase of nearly 2 pounds of brain matter, attributable solely to the consumption of goat meat. Of course, some people rejected goats as heretical and thus didn’t eat enough goat meat, a decision that ultimately stunted their brains.”

“That doesn’t sound right,” said Roger. “I’ve never heard of anything like that.” But he had to smile as a one of my nannies reached up to softly sample his ear lobe with her soft lips.

“It’s well documented,” I continued, “that homo sapiens rapidly evolved into two groups: those with goats, and those without goats. The latter failed to advance and gradually regressed to apes, while the former went on to become homo sapiens, also known as the modern human.”

“Evolution is a flawed theory.”

“Granted. There were some homos in the non-goat group who retained a remarkable phenotypical resemblance to sapiens, but they just didn’t have much of a brain.”

“Well, if you have a little time, we’d like to show you our …”

“Another time.”

“Yes, well,” Roger stammered, noting a goat was now on the trunk of his car. “We’ll come back another day …”

“Don’t forget to eat your goat meat.”

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