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On the Edge of Common Sense: Talkin’ dirty

Contributed by Baxter Black Published on 25 July 2019

In this column I have often mentioned scours, abscesses, big tits, bad bags, cancer eyes, foot rot, slurry pits, afterbirth, retained placenta, castration, heat cycles, sheep pellets and snotty noses.

Over the years, I have received the occasional letter castigating me for talkin’ dirty.

It is never my intention to offend the sensibilities of my readers. My poems and stories are always written with the idea that people who read them regularly are livestock people. In real life I’m not comfortable cussing or telling blue stories in mixed company, and I’m no different writin’ this column.

So if I’m talkin’ to a cattlewoman, I assume she knows what bull semen is. That she has had scourin’ calves in her house and knows what it means when someone says it’s rainin’ like a cow peein’ on a flat rock. Those subjects are part of her lifestyle. I feel no need to ask her to leave if I’m doing a rectal exam on a cow.

Farm kids are the best example. They are what we have taught them and what they have experienced. Fifteen-year-olds who are learning to artificially inseminate learn the proper words for the anatomy involved. Uterus had never been a dirty word to them.

Children on a dairy farm learn to spot cows that are in heat. Washing the bag or tit dip does send them into fits of teenage giggling.

Helping a newborn get his first meal is not a titillating experience. Mucking out the horse barn is hard work, but it’s not ‘ooky’!

All of us who spend our lives tending livestock are aware that our daily working vocabulary is not always proper amongst people from outside the real world (gentiles, I call them). When the new preacher who hails from Chicago is introduced to us, we don’t immediately invite him to the oyster fry next Tuesday.

I would guess the people who are most conscious of this “cowboy vocabulary” are new spouses marrying into a livestock-raising family. I’ll bet they could write a book!

So to those of you sensitive folks who read my column with some reservations, or have neighbors who sit at your dinner table and talk about how to get cow manure stains out of a good shirt, I beg your indulgence. It’s not dirty to us, it’s just grass and water.  end mark

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