Nov 232013
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We all know that the definition of insanity is to continue doing something that doesn’t work and expecting something different to happen. Well maybe the deep dark secret about about being a Cantankerous Old Coot is that we are just plain nuts. As if to prove this conclusion, when I sat down to write a post for Coots, my mind just started in automatic mode. Before I knew it, I had written a whole new Coot’s lesson. It’s embarrassing but we don’t waste anything around here. Due to being raised by depression parents, I can’t throw anything away and so futile as it may be, here is

Coot’s Lesson 17- Don’t Mess with Sheep.

City folk may not know but sheep are really annoying critters –  except to another sheep. I know from bitter experience. Long ago In a misguided moment my father bought some sheep for the farm where I grew up. I don’t know where the idea came from but those sheep provided an important lesson for my young life. Unless you are a sheep dog, don’t ever try to influence a sheep to do anything it wasn’t already doing.  You will be worn out and the sheep will get really mad.

Other farm animals think.

On our farm we raised just about every kind of farm animal. We had cows, pigs, chickens, horses. Each of these species has its own quirks but underneath it was always apparent that there was some intelligence working. There was reasoning behind their actions and once you understood those reasons , you could always find a way to get them to do what you wanted. It wasn’t always easy and it sometimes took frustratingly long to get the animal’s response but with those animals you had something to work with. There was a brain working.

Not Sheep!

Sheep are entirely different. If sheep have a brain, they keep it hidden. They don’t act for their own benefit and they, for sure, wont act because you want them to. I remember one time when we wanted to move the sheep from a pasture into a pen by the barn. Our motives were pure because that’s where we put the feed. We opened the gate and herded the sheep toward the wide opening. Nothing threatening anywhere just the open gate and food. Some animals would go through that gate just because it was there. Some might smell the food. Others might go through the gate just because there were people hooping and hollering behind them. Sheep just balk. They balk at gates. They balk at new spaces. They balk at people whooping and hollering. They just balk for the sheer cussedness of balking.

We would drive them forward toward the gate and just when they reached it, they would veer away. We tried to surround them so they couldn’t turn. They stopped and starred at us. They just were not going through that gate. We kept trying until one sheep got careless and crossed into the pen and he was immediately rewarded when the rest of the sheep swept him into the corner. It was a victory of sorts because finally the sheep were where we wanted them but it hadn’t changed a thing. The sheep hadn’t learned a lesson and next time we wanted them to go through a gate it would be just the same. They wouldn’t remember that there was food in the pen and that the people hollering behind them were trying to help them. They would be just as stubborn. It was their nature.

Sheep will devour your soul.

So if you are a full fledged Cantankerous Old Coot or even a Coot wannabe, don’t mess with sheep. Quash all those impulses to help and let them go their own way. You will only waste your time and energy and really mess up your attitude. To top it off, it won’t matter one whit to the sheep. It will take superhuman effort on your part to get any response on the part of the sheep and nothing you can do will penetrate their brains. They are perfectly happy wherever they are and they don’t appreciate anybody trying to make them uncomfortable. Even if it is for their own good, they will never recognize it. As icing on the cake you will make them mad. They will never forgive you and go out of their ways to punish you for your efforts to help them. Don’t bother.

Steer clear of sheep.

The world is full of sheep. Strange as it may seem, that may be just what God planned but it’s way above my pay grade to decide that. What I do know is that a Cantankerous Old Coot needs to give sheep a wide berth. You may want to do them a good turn but there is nothing you can do to help them and much that they can do to pull you down to their level. If you want to be happy and successful and reach the very pinnacle of life as a Cantankerous Old Coot, never for get Coot’s Lesson 17- Don’t mess with Sheep!


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Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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  3 Responses to “Coot’s Lesson 17- Don’t mess with sheep!”

  1. So wait, I’m confused. Are we meant to continue being sheep or avoid being sheep, or be proud of our new sheepish status?

    (Which of course I refuse to adorn, but still)

  2. Heather,
    Don’t worry your pretty little head. Just do what everybody else does.

  3. So long as its the sort of ‘everyone else does’ that deliberate non-conformists go for. 😉

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