November 2003 (v6 i3)
Doubting the moon landing since 1997
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Existentialist cow has nothing left to live for
Philosophically troubled steer endures unbearable lightness of being
by J.J. Hermes, Staff Writer

WACO, TX — Deep in the infertile pastures of south Waco, Isabel has spent the last twelve years of her life roaming the fields and giving milk, living in sustained harmony with the land around her. But a recent cloud of cynicism has muddled this inner peace, and she has begun to speculate the meaning of it all, hoping to grasp the inconsistent and bewildering reality that is her existence.

"Moo," said Isabel while digesting a mouthful of grass in one of her four stomachs. "Moo mmmooo, moo."

George Swift, her rancher, has come to notice a lull in the cow's dairy production as well as decreased mobility. Swift blamed the underproduction on a bad diet, but the true root of the problem lay deep below the surface.

The bovine's recent despondency is a result of her encounters with the philosophies of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Ayn Rand, along with the comedy of George Carlin and Bill Maher. Trapped in a world behind fences, only able to notice the rapid social changes occurring in the world around her, Isabel began to feel the cold tugging of existentialist angst at her large, cow heart.

In an attempt to recreate Thoreau's visit to Walden Pond, Isabel began spending more time in isolation around her pasture's small, man-made aquifer, pondering her interconnected yet distinct difference with the world around her.

"Over the last few weeks, Isabel's been taking more to that there waterin' hole," said Swift. "She still ain't no good swimmer, though."

Whenever the gap-toothed Swift encountered Isabel, the cow would revel in the irony that this "ultra-advanced specimen" was somehow biologically linked to her, and often tried to drown herself in the shallow pond, overcome by depression. Unwilling to lose such a valuable staple to his agricultural system, Swift would always come immediately to her rescue with a winch and tractor, laughing at his cow's attempt to escape the farm's idyllic captivity.

Most recently, an image of the Big Bang has haunted the recesses of Isabel's imagination.

"Life is just a single, undivided, ultra-dense singularity exploding outward upon itself into countless chunks of matter," she thought. "Coagulating together into smaller spherical bodies of bipolar magnetism that gravitate toward the more dense bodies. Images of the surface, rippling sinusoidally in countless rises and falls, seem to mirror the division of cells splitting in a zygotic embryo ad infinitum. But my feeble attempts to quantify life and the universe around me only prove my worthlessness in this world of pain and suffering."

"Cows just ain't as easy to figure out as humans," said Swift. "They sure do love to stand around and think. I guess that's why they're called 'ruminative' animals."

Tortured by the cold truth of isolation, Isabel remains a slave to her intellectual inferiors, keeping her emotions bottled up inside.

"Mmmmoooo," Isabel demanded to know. "Moo."
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