Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tippin' Isn't A City in China

Despite the fact that I hate doing this, I must throw out a disclaimer: I was 18 years old and very immature! So, if someone reads this and gets upset over what (almost) happened, then remember that I was a kid.  Now, on to the story...

Going to school on a campus in the middle of nowhere can be boring. Very boring. My homies and I decided that this particular Friday night, we were going to do something different. I had no idea what they had in mind. All I knew is that it was Friday night, 70% of the campus had obviously gone home for the weekend and it was absolutely nothing to do.

One of my homies was from Shaw, MS. In fact, I never knew his real name and always referred to him as "Shaw." The other guy was from Tyler, TX and guess what we called him? We called him "Al." Duh! That was his name. Nah, seriously, everyone called him "Ty." I guess we weren't very creative at this particular time of our lives. Two guys from two small towns in two different states, but apprarently, they both have a similar, late-night hobby. "Q," started Shaw, "I know what we can do, man. Grab your keys."

I didn't hesitate. I was just about down for whatever. We were halfway to the car before I asked, "where are we going?"

"I'll tell you later, but for now, I just need you to drive," he replied.

We hopped in the car and started heading towards town. The closest town, Greenwood, is about eight miles away. We arrived at the city limits, I asked again, "where are we going?"

"Just keep driving. It's going to be a while," he smiled.

I'm not nervous yet. Although I don't normally hang with these two guys, I knew them well enough to know that they weren't criminals or anything. So, I didn't feel like I was heading towards something that would land me in trouble.

After another 30 minutes of driving north towards Senatobia, MS, I asked again, "man, I'm going to turn around unless you tell me where we're going. I'm not driving to Memphis tonight. It's 1 AM."

"Give me 20 more minutes, Q, and we'll be there," Shaw assured.

Sure enough, 20 minutes later, Shaw told me to pull over on the side of Interstate 55. "Right here, right here," he said looking out of the passenger window.

I looked out the window as well and noticed a pasture. "I don't see anything," I said.

"Q," Ty started, "we're going 'cow tippin',' dude!"

Now, I wasn't raised on a farm or anything, but I definitely knew what "cow tipping" was. "Tippin'" isn't a city in China.  I had once been told that cows "sleep" (or get in a relaxed state) while standing. The object of "cow tipping" is to push them while they are in that state and watch them fall.  I'd never seen it done before, but I'd heard about it in high school from some guys. However, because I'm not down with farm animals whatsoever, I was not comfortable at all around them and had no plans of participating.

"Okay, Q," started Ty, "here's what you gotta do..."

"Oh, I'm not going out there!" I responded.

"Man, these cows ain't gonna hurt you," Ty laughed. "Well, if you let them catch you, then you may get hurt. Just sneak up on them, get a running start, use your hands to push them and turn around and run."

I looked at this one cow that was about 20 yards from the fenceline. I thought to myself that I could do it. "Don't use your shoulder to knock them over!" Shaw instructed. "Use your hands becasue it doesn't take much."

I'm really psyched up at this point. I thought about being able to have a story to tell one day. I guess I was right about that part!

I slipped in between the barbwire fence while I tried to ignore the giggles from Shaw and Ty. There were roughly 10-15 cows in the area and all of them were absolutely still. The only light that I had was a full moon, so I could not see very far in front of me, but it was enough light for me to recognize a bull if I saw one! I got about 60 feet from the fence and very close to the "target cow." I'm amazed at how relaxed she is. I can't tell if she's asleep or just hasn't noticed my presence.  But, the cow is much larger than I thought before entering the fenced-in pasture. There was no way that I could simply push her over. That line of thinking is where I made my mistake. I'd never asked Ty or Shaw why I shouldn't use my shoulder when "cow tipping." I guess that I should have.

As I got within striking distance of the cow, I took a quick peek back towards the guys. I could barely see them as the moon slid behind a few clouds. I faced my prey, took three strong steps, lowered my shoulder and prepared to put every inch of muscle that I had into toppling the bovine.

Well, some where between lunging at the cow and hitting the ground, I realized that cows really aren't asleep when they're standing around at night time.  That's just a myth.  The cow easily moved out of my way and I fell and hit the ground face first.

Memo to readers: cows tend to get pretty rowdy when you attempt to shove them.

The cow went nuts! It was mooing and stuff as I was trying to get off of the ground. Then I could hear the sounds of the other cows in the pasture mooing like some sort of alarm system. The sounds seemed to be coming from all over and grew louder and louder. How many cows were actually out here?  50?  100?  I hopped to my feet and started running back to the fence as the sound of hooves filled my ears. "I'm going to get trampled," I thought to myself.
As I started running towards the fence like an Olympian, the guys started to come into view. "Run, Q, he's right behind you!" I heard one of them yell.

I knew that I didn't have time to stop and slowly make my way through the barbwire fence without being caught from behind. My only option was to dive over it. At this point, the sound of the apparent stampede no longer filled my ears. It was just my heartbeat as I got within a few feet of the fence. I dove over the fence like Michael Phelps dives into a pool, but because the fence was so high, the barbs barely caught me at the top of the chest and scratched me all the way to the top of my thighs.

I landed on the other side and rolled over a couple of times not even realizing that I'd been cut. I looked back to see just how close the "killer cows" were to me only to notice that they'd all run the opposite way. I was never being chased. The sound of hooves running that I heard were the cows running from me.

I glanced over at Ty and Shaw and they are on the verge of pissing on themselves from laughing at me. I looked down at my t-shirt and notice that it's ripped from a few inches beneath each shoulder and all the way to the bottom. The top of my short pants are also ripped.  I'm really thinking about leaving Ty and Shaw on the side of the road at this point, but they were already getting in the car.

I started to smile about the whole thing as we got back on the interstate and eventually I started laughing with them. Ty and Shaw continued to laugh until I pulled into a gas station and told them to fill up my gas tank or hitchhike back to school.  Funny or not, college students are broke and driving that far for a laugh comes with a cost.

We arrived back at the dormitory and they immediately started reciting the story to the few people still left on our floor. I shook my head and walked to my room to change clothes. As I got undressed, I noticed two long, lightly-bleeding scratches from my chest all the way down to my thighs. I stared in amazement for a moment and then thought to myself, "had that fence been an inch higher, then I would have seriously torn into my flesh."

Thank God there were no cell phone cameras or "Tosh.0" back in 1989 or all of you may have already seen what I've just described by now.

"Next time, we're taking out your knees, hoss." (Source)

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