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Friday, April 1, 2011


What a day, folks.

Friday started out so promisingly: It's absolutely beautiful here in the Bay Area, which comes as quite a relief after something like two straight weeks of rain. Sunny, mild, temperatures in the low 80's. Perfect timing, too, because today was the college's annual fundraiser for the Agricultural Sciences Department. This is a very popular community event: Local farmers from Richmond-San Pablo set up tables on the quad, and people get to go all "locavore," sampling fresh fruits and vegetables (sadly, no home-grown steaks this year). Best of all, though, at least for the Solipsist: Animals! You know us: The cats are great, but any time we get to play with a variety of animals, we are just like a pig in slop. Speaking of which. . . . Well, we'll get to that.

Things started to trend downward pretty quickly. The animal husbandry professor who was supposed to run today's festivities came down with the flu--not the swine flu, though: That would have been too ironic. Anyway, for legal purposes, a full-time professor had to be in charge of the proceedings. The problem is that, on Fridays, not too many classes are scheduled, so full-time professors are at a premium. And that, friends and loyalists, is how this near-sighted, middle-aged, Jewish boy from Queens became the master of ceremonies for a the rootin-est, tootin-est down-home-goodnessiest AgFair in the East Bay!

All right, we figured it wasn't that big a deal. We wouldn't have to do much: The college's maintenance staff had all the logistical stuff under control. About our only major responsibility was to say a few words thanking the participants. We could handle that. So, when the time came, we went up to the microphone. We were about to make our brief remarks, when a photographer from the school paper decided it would be just adorable to get a picture of us holding one of the animals. Now, obviously, we have no objection to holding an animal. The problem was that the only animal that was of an appropriately "holdable" size was a moderate-sized turkey. Not the cuddliest thing in the world. The turkey's owner, however, assured us that "Lily" (Lily?) was docile and would hold still for a quick photograph. OK. Give us Lily.

Lily was not quite so docile as we had been led to believe.

While she didn't object overly much to being held, something about the school photographer obviously bothered her, as she had a. . . reaction when the picture was taken. First, she. . .um. . . voided all over the place. This caused a corresponding reaction on the part of the Solipsist, along the lines of, "Aaaaaaaccck!!!!" And then we dropped the turkey.

Lily, sensing freedom we suppose, took off at a surprising speed, straight for the library. As she reached the doors, a student came out, letting the turkey in. We ran after Lily, accompanied by her owner and assorted well-wishers and thrill-seekers. Ultimately, we caught up with her in the "Classical Literature" section, pecking at a worn copy of Herodotus. After several minutes of quiet consultation (we were in the library after all), we came up with an elaborate plan involving a sack and. . . . well, really just a sack. Guess the plan wasn't that elaborate.

Thinking the worst was over, we stepped out of the library and into Hell. At least, that's what it smelled like. Imagine a piece of excrement, buried in another piece of excrement, stuffed into a sweaty gym sock, which is then soaked in even more excrement. That would have been preferable. We traced the odor to the pig exhibit. We questioned the pig farmer about the unforgivably foul nature of his charges' stench. Were the pigs sick? No, he assured us, these were perfectly healthy pigs. Well, did they need to be bathed or something? The farmer actually took offense at this: "These pigs have just been bathed."

"You're kidding!" Look, we know that we're all "citified" and we have little knowledge of farm matters. And we recognize that pigs are not generally known for their mild odors. But this was ridiculous! "You're saying these pigs are clean?"

"Yes, Sir! Shapooed 'em myself to get 'em ready for the fair."

"What did you use for shampoo? Road kill!"

"Sir! I used the finest organic pig shampoo."

"I find it hard to believe that you used the 'finest' shampoo!"

"Well, here's the bottle if you don't believe me! No artificial ingredients! This, Sir, is pure hogwash!"

Just like this story we're telling you now.



  1. I figured it out about the time the turkey went into the library. Considering I have no idea about what goes on at that fancy "college" of yours.

  2. You had me until the organic shampoo. Who says turkeys aren't deep thinkers?