Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 5-13-13
Calving, lambing, farrowing, foaling and assorted other spring-time birthings are pretty much over by May. Critters are knocking themselves out going after fresh yummy green grass.
For the ranch woman who’s been on night-check duty during any of the above-mentioned birthings; for the woman who’s hand-fed a bum calf or lamb or piglet — housed in a box behind the stove in her kitchen; for the helpmate who hasn’t had a new hairdo in months, has lived in chore coat and muck boots for weeks, and hasn’t gone anywhere for fun, food, frolic — or even church — in forever — this is a recycled, tongue-in-cheek column from 15 or 20 years ago. Some things never change …
Picture yourself, Ms. Ranch Woman, in your springtime, mud-tracked kitchen: You push the buttons on your touch-tone phone, wait a moment and a Voice, deep, but with a golden-soft tone oozing a velvety quality of promise that all will be well and you’ll be Queen of the May.
You sigh as Velvet Voice purrs, “Thank you for calling Custom Cowboy Services.” (The caressing timbre nearly causes a melt-down).
“For information regarding your Custom Cowboy preferences,” the Voice continues, “press one.”
You press: “Beep!”
“Thank you. You have reached Custom Cowboy Preferred Types Department. Please choose from the following options: If you prefer a cowboy built like a little bull with muscles everywhere and of medium height, press two. If you prefer a puncher of lanky build with legs reaching approximately to his ears, press three. If you wish a super tall, broad-shouldered, husky hunk with plenty of top hair, press four.”
You stab the buttons: “Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!”
“Thank you. You have reached Preference Four: tall, husky with plenty of top hair. If you prefer your cowboy’s top hair to be blond and wavy, press five. If you prefer dark brown or black and curly, press six.”
“Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!”
“Thank you. Your Custom Cowboy order is being processed with complementary parts to match. Please press nine for Enhancement Options.”
You smack buttons: “Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!”
“Thank you. Select Enhancement Options for your preferred Custom Cowboy as follows: Tight Wranglers and plaid shirt — press one. Tight Wranglers and plain blue-denim shirt — press two. Tight Wranglers, leather vest and white pirate-style shirt open at the neck showing chest hairs — press three.”
Your heart thumps, your mouth is dry as you punch: “ Beep! Beep! Beep!”
“Thank you. If you wish your Custom Cowboy to be sent to you within the next 10 working days by regular postal package service, press one. If you desire your Custom Cowboy sent by UPS, press two. For Express Mail, press three. For Special Messenger, press four.”
You poke the buttons faster than a politician’s promises: “ Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!”
“Thank you. Your Custom Cowboy will reach you within the next two minutes. Custom Cowboy Services appreciates your business. To end this call, press pound.”
You hang up. “Click.” You stand sorta frozen, sorta bemused wondering what has just happened. Then you hear a knock-knock, knock-knock!
Heart galloping, you fling open the door and there he stands, your very own Custom Cowboy, an unshaven, saggy belly, bald galoot, romantically attired in raggedy shirt and pants smeared with nasty stuff you don’t want to know about.
“Oh, hi, Honey,” you murmur to your spouse, “I see I’ve pushed the wrong buttons.” ❖