Regardless of whether your team has won or lost, the emotional pitch of the game winds every red-blooded fan up tighter than roto-toms the marching band employs to whip everybody into a frenzied froth. All that youthful exuberance and vivacity eventually inspires one to gather up the best buds or BFFs or posse and go blow off some of that veritable steam. And historically speaking, in this neck of the woods, that usually means one thing – Cow tipping.
Now, while this may sound far-fetched and quite controversial to people on the coasts, we here in the hinterlands are no stranger to this mysterious pastime. It is a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation, upperclassmen to lowerclassmen, older to younger sibling, since time immemorial. A rite of passage, if you will. A means of venting that latent or not-so-hidden aggressive energy while at the same time, providing an undeniable opportunity for showing a half-to three quarter ton bovine exactly who the real bull of the woods really is. A chance for otherwise athletically challenged geeks and nerds to earn a little cow-centric credibility or, at the very least, a bit of leeway for some Monday morning, first period Biology Class braggadocio.
Despite the decades of this popular weekend warrior character-building exercise at the poor animal’s expense, cow tipping has endured a significant decline in recent years. Scary huge advances in modern surveillance methods have brought them out of the city and into the rural locales, stripping pastoral privacy from all but the remotest of hayfields and hollers. Big Brother’s omnipresent ogling has had a chilling impact on nocturnal beef bowling. Nearly every state has shown noticeable increases in manpower and budgets in what can only be described as a concerted effort to bolster bovine safety by thwarting these backwoods ne’er-do-wells in their allegedly deplorable pursuit.
Strike one. Ever since the world first heard the robotic, lo-fi log on greeting, “Welcome! You’ve got mail” emanate from even more lo-fi sounding plastic speakers tethered to each side of those bulky, barely functioning boxes known as “personal computers” back in the day, the erosion of time-honored traditions became increasingly noticeable. The ongoing advancements in broadband technology continue to pay off with greater access and speed. Couple that with the massive strides forward in digital imaging technology and highly intuitive, deceptively simple graphic user interfaces (GUIs for short), even technically challenged individuals find it relatively straightforward to set up surveillance systems in areas where we would have otherwise never have found them previously. And these simple to set up, simple to operate systems have in turn allowed the Wellingtons wearing septuagenarian farmer on the modest family farm all the way up to remotely located corporate owners overseeing monstrously behemoth commercial farms sprawling across county and even state lines to continually monitor and manage everything from livestock and water usage to security and personnel considerations.
Using the current state of the art technology, even Mr. and Mrs. Farmer can remotely view cameras after receiving a text notification on a smart phone alerting them to unexpected movement on the property, or monitor and control water and feed usage or dispersion and most anything else worth being controlled, all while sipping on sweet tea and working to get rid of the decades old farmer tan in Myrtle Beach.
Late night cow tipping excursions across shadowed meadows are becoming impossible to pull off without early warning being sent up the chain almost before the juvenile perpetrator has made it through the split rail fencing. Security or emergency concerns can be handled simply with a call to the local police or fire department, and help will be there in a matter of minutes. Which brings us to our second strike.
Strike two. Law enforcement agencies across America have been beefing up their personnel and equipment on a regular basis for some time now. Due to local budget increases through higher taxation, and federal grants being thrown at them like candy to a kid if they sell their soul to the federal devil, they have been afforded the opportunity to build their fleet of high speed pursuit vehicles and precision strike drones to the point that the poor high school students are afraid to take even one step towards their dreams. It doesn’t take but a few precision drone strikes to get the point across to the fellas that for whatever reasons, they don’t want them tipping cows, which has been unfortunate.
Strike three. In March of 1998, the FDA green lighted a little blue pill that was developed to combat a number of cardiovascular ailments, but, quite ironically, was discovered to stimulate blood flow to a part of the male anatomy that was almost guaranteed to increase the stress and strain of said system. Now hundreds of millions of men across the globe use or abuse this medication.
What on earth does this have to do with cow tipping you may ask? Just bear with us. Now, we won’t get into the specifics of that little blue pill, nor even address it by name, but what we do know is that with 35 million men taking it in these United State of ‘Merica, you can bet your bottom dollar that the farmers up and down Carter’s Valley (yeah, pun intended) and all across the Tri-Cities region have been popping them like candy and seeing nothing but blue haze for days.
Which brings us to our point. No longer has early to bed, early to rise been the farmer’s standard. Just by taking one little blue pill, farmers across the area on average are staying awake up to four hours later then they normally would, which is bad news for the cow tipping business. No longer can the aspiring tippers get through the trees and out into the pastures without risk that the farmer man is still awake, therefore halting the operation.
And, we’re out. After decades of passed-down tradition and exceptional team-building, cow tippers across the region have lost their footing against the cows. Speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media due to ongoing investigations, a police official with Kingsport Police Department told us “There are known bovine cells and pockets of resistance among the cow tipping community and we are keeping track of them every day and making advancements on their positions. It has been a rough battle trying to keep up with the tippers or anticipate their next mooooove, but we are making significant progress.” The official also stated “If we do happen to catch a tipping in progress through one of our ‘eyes in the sky’, we take every step possible step to stop the tipper by non-lethal means if time affords us that opportunity.”
Enough is enough. As a proponent of cow tipping myself, I am writing this article to warn my fellow tippers of the risks involved with modern day tipping. I am personally throwing in the towel, and I am asking that all of you who tip do the same. It is a losing battle. We are outnumbered. We can’t win. I suggest finding a new recreational past time that is more suited to these restrictions on our freedom.
Personally, I am taking up painting-by-numbers. To quote the late great Bob Ross…”Goodbye and God Bless.”