There’s a few other things I could be other than the roping calf in a rodeo. I always think about that when I’m sitting here waiting for the gates to open.  Right before I run out there on my fast legs, moving over the dirt like a freak electrical storm, and I put on a hell of a show, zipping all over the arena, darting this way, faking that way, and then the cowboy moves in and he throws a rope around my neck and I fall down like a European soccer player, all dramatic-like, and the cowboy leaps off his horse and we go at it like WWF wrestlers and then I let him win and tie my feet all up in knots or whatever.  And then the crowd cheers.

Sorry if you didn’t want to know that–that I’m in on this whole thing.  Of course I am….I get paid pretty good money to be here.   If that affects your enjoyment of the whole show, well then I’m sorry.  What am I supposed to do?  Get in line to get ground into 32 sizzling beef patties?  For free?  Because that’s the other job you can get when you’re a calf.  Or you can just grow up to stand around in a field and get milked and fart all day long and swish flies off your butt, and to me, this just seems better.  I like to run, and at least for now, at least while I’m this size, I’m going to do that.  You see what happens to older cows.  Massive passives, that’s what we call them here in the industry.

People always ask me if I get hurt doing this.  I don’t because I’m a professional.  I know how to get thrown to the ground and I know how to make it look like that rope is pulling a lot harder than it is and I know the cowboys I work with and if I get a new one who is a little overzealous, I just take him aside and I say, look, this is how it is, and I show him a thing or two and usually he’s grateful and we can all get on with the business of the day.

So really, I guess if you want to take a look at who’s being taken advantage of, it’s you, the people in the audience.  Because you’re the ones who are paying to watch this stuff.  All I can do is make it the best show I know how to make it, and the same goes for the cowboys and also for those horses.  It’s like a big family, and we joke a lot offstage, even if onstage it looks like we hate each other.  That’s just called us doing our job.

Next year we’re thinking of adding some back stories, you know, good vs. evil kind of stuff, and I might even get a stage name.  Black Lightening.  And Black Lightening’s deal is that he’s an orphan,  the calf that wandered in from nowhere but the cowboys suspect there’s something else going on, like maybe Black Lightening is independently wealthy or something, and so they keep trying to–well.  I’m not going to give it all away.  You’ll just have to pay your money and come to the rodeo and find out what happens.

Now if you’ll excuse me, the gates are about to open, and I am going to have to get in that ring and run my tail off.  Not literally.

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