Another One Bites the Dust


Yesterday morning, one of the local farmers, John Andromedas called with predictable news: The sheep with “allergies” had died of a nose tumor. The vet told John the sheep had allergies much earlier this year, and John’s faith in the vet started to waver once it started getting bitterly cold, and the sheep’s “allergies” kept getting worse. Myself I had a hunch it wasn’t allergies when he first told me. I had never heard of sheep spontaneously becoming allergic, but many of John’s sheep have died from tumors. John wasn’t surprised, either, and he had tried to cure it of whatever else it might have been. Naturally, there is nothing you can do for tumors, so the sheep wound up being treated for all the diseases it didn’t have. Oh well.

I felt very much like I was on public display while I was burying this particular sheep. Usually when I bury sheep all the cars on the highway just speed on past, but when I started digging this time a group of somewhat strung out bicyclers passed me. The scene went something like this:

First two bikers approach.

Biker1: “What’s that in the cart?”
Biker2: “It’s a sheep!”
Biker1: “Oh, it’s a sheep.”
Tiny pause while their minds register the situation.
Biker1: “He’s burying it!”
Biker2: “Oh, he’s burying it.”
Biker1: “It’s a shame. It’s a shame.”

Bikers pass, and another pair approaches and does the same thing.

Over and over until they all pass and I’m feeling rather silly. They must all be imagining I’m some poor emotionally scarred boy being forced to bury his pet sheep after its gruesome death. (The sheep died with snot plastered all over its face and its tongue hanging out to one side.) The fact is, I do this every couple of months, and have absolutely no emotional connection to any of John’s sheep. At least they didn’t stop and gawk.