Family legend has it that one day my sister came home from kindergarten talking non-stop about the delicious plums they ate at school that day. This was remarkable because: 1/she was a very reticent child, and 2/we lived in Sitka, Alaska at the time and fresh out-of-season fruit was hard, if not impossible, to come by. Ever since, a “plum story” is our term for a suspiciously recounted tale.
I heard a great one yesterday. As far as I can tell, a gigantic four-legged propaganda machine visited my son’s school on Wednesday, terrorizing his ill-tempered handler and totally amusing the kids. This may sound like the plot of an I Can Read! book, but it’s more like Rashomon with an udder. And, to the best of my knowledge, completely true.
I first heard the story when I stopped by the school to try and pick up sick Kid Two’s homework. His teacher told me they didn’t get much done because the dairy people had brought a cow in for a presentation. “They didn’t mention that our bodies don’t synthesize the enzyme to digest cow’s milk after the age of two,” she complained. “It seemed to be kind of propaganda-ish to me but, whatever.”
By the time I got home Kid Two’s Buddy was walking up to the door with make-up schoolwork. I asked him if it’s true there was a cow at school. He had a slightly different take:
It was so big! Seriously, it was the biggest cow I’ve ever seen. It was at least eight feet high. And about four feet wide. And it didn’t look very healthy.
The guy who brought the cow down to the playground didn’t like kids very much. You could tell because he told us all to pet it and then yelled, [imitating a deep growly voice], “Don’t ever touch a cow’s backbone! Don’t you know anything!”
The cow is supposed to be milked at 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon, and it was 1 so the guy tried to milk it. Except instead of getting milk in the bucket the cow lifted its leg like a dog and squirted milk on everyone who was watching.
Then he was cleaning off his glasses and the cow got a hold of the feed bucket somehow and knocked it over. It kind of made a mess.
There was a calf, too, and the guy wanted everyone to hear what it sounded like while it was drinking. He held a microphone up to the calf’s mouth and the calf started licking the microphone.
Oh yeah, and the cow pooed on the playground. A lot. It was the BEST 45-minute long presentation ever.
One of my favorite ridiculous songs (by Dana Lyons) immediately popped into my head: