Wednesday, January 25, 2012

don't try this at home, or anywhere

If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style. - Quentin Crisp

It would be a night to remember. 

I was with three of my best friends.  Late spring.  Beautiful night.  We were all 17-years-old and very very wise.  Or so we thought.  Being young and wise and high on friendship and the beautiful night (and there was probably beer present, I'm thinking yeah), we waxed philosophically about our lives and deep topics like friendship and boys and


For those unfamiliar with the term "cow-tipping", it's something of rural lore pertaining to the act of tipping over cows.  No, not "tripping" over cows.  TIPPING over cows, as in pushing on them until they fall over.  For those who have heard of this and wonder of it's truth, there is NO truth!  It's all a big MYTH!!

Three of the four of us didn't know that.  We do now.

The fourth one was a rancher girl named Stephanie.  Stephanie lived in the outskirts of our little hometown.  There were lots of smallish hobby-type farms and such around our boonie-filled town, but Stephanie's place was actually quite an operation.  A real ranch that was her family's business.

And they had cows.  Lots of cows. 

That's where we were that night, in a cow pasture under the moon and the stars.  The four of us, the many cows, and  Stephanie's dogs, Shep and Red Neck (really, those were their names).  I remember sitting on the ground, leaning against Red Neck as our discussion turned to cow-tipping. 

Theresa was most curious and asked Stephanie if it was true. 

"Yeah, we tip them over all the time.  Want to do one now?"

Of course we did. 

"Just find one in the open that isn't moving around much.  That means that it's probably asleep.", Stephanie instructed, "then just walk up to it quietly, and then SHOVE it good!"

Okay, the three of us would do this together.  In the dim moonlight, we found a suitable victim. 

"I don't know, it seems kinda mean", Carolyn was having misgivings. 

"Nah, they pretty much sleep through the whole thing", Stephanie assured.

We approached.  Some of the other cows moved off slowly, but our target remained. 

I remember how, up close, cows are a lot bigger than they look on TV and the movies.  That was part of the fun of hanging out at Stephanie's - all that real world knowledge!  This cow was no exception.  It suddenly seemed enormous. 

Nevertheless, the three of us positioned ourselves - legs anchored, hands lightly on the cow's flanks. 

"Okay," I whispered (why was it me that counted us off?), "one... two... THREE!"  BIG SHOVE!

That cow did not tip.  Didn't come close to tipping.  The only things that fell over were Theresa, Carolyn, and me.  The cow, on the other hand, was I think a little pissed off at the whole thing.  She reared her head at us, kicked a little, and took off for about 10 steps.  The other cows were all a little wtf?  too.   In today's terms, it was an epic fail.

I was glad it was dark and I wasn't quite sure what I'd landed in.  The three of us laid there laughing at each other, but clearly Stephanie was laughing the hardest. 

"Cows don't sleep standing up (YOU BUTTHEADS)!  That's just a bunch of bullsh*t somebody made up!  Like you're really gonna tip one over!"

And then, "Come on over to the barn, I'll hose you all down".

A night to remember.



  1. What a fun story! I live in a very RURAL community. We most likely have more cows than people. (Our people population is about 600). I've heard of cow-tipping but have never tried it, and never really thought that maybe it was a myth. You've created a great memory though! That's what I tell my kids when they've been plugged into a screen for too long. "Are you creating memories?"

  2. I think you spilled the big secret! I didn't know cow tipping was a myth either!

    My aunt and uncle had a farm and when I was a kid and we'd go visit, the cows scared me to DEATH! They seemed huge! I'm thinking the beer you probably had that night made you brave enough to go try to push over a big ol' cow. Glad you were able to come away laughing!

  3. An myth? But they have it in movies and everything!

    What a great night, though, thanks for sharing!

  4. And another urban legend myth is debunked. Remind me to tell you about the time we went snipe hunting.

  5. When you first described what cow tipping is, the size of those boogers immediately pooped in my head. I ride horses and well... I don't know which weighs more, but anyway...

    So glad you're here to talk about it. I can recall a few unwise (dumb) things I did at 17; but hey, that's the fun of being 17. Good job Steph!