Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Did I read that sign right?

Saw this gem of a sign on Florence Road today, just past the turn off of route 10. Hardly the sign you’d expect to see in a ‘city’. Granted, ours is a city of just 16,082, with just a few remaining ruralties (I think I just invented a new word), but even if I passed this sign 38 miles north of the Vermont border on some desolate, cow-field traversing dirt road, I’d still have done a double-take, pointed, then laughed about it for the next 57 miles. A sign well worth completing a u-turn for a photograph, a noteworthy event in itself given the difficulty we males have at both asking for directions or turning back for stuff. I must admit, Bre was driving, which made the actual act of going back for this photo three powers of ten more likely.

Shot in hand, or camera as it were, the next step for its eventual ascension to blogdom was to brainstorm a story to go along with. I only slightly regret not going into the barn to witness and perhaps photograph the sign-worthy donkey. It’s not that I doubted it was a ‘very nice’ donkey. It’s just that I couldn’t shake the wonder of what makes a donkey very nice or not so very nice. Perhaps Santa knows, but to me a donkey is a donkey, although I feel pretty confident I could identify a crappy looking donkey if one darkened my door. But a very good donkey, I guess I should have paid more attention in that 4H Big E farm animal tent last month. Do a shiny coat and a pretty smile make it very good? Is she soft like a baby’s bottom? Or is she truly just a very nice donkey -courteous, polite, caring, and quick with a compliment and a kind whinny after a tough day? Couldn’t we all use a few more very nice donkeys in our lives.

From there, the thought process went downhill. If you thought that was even possible. The marketing side of my brain kicked in and thought, “How much faster could they sell this animal if they’d only chosen to advertise it as ‘Very Nice Ass for Sale’”. You can bet I would have made time to wander into the barn to check that one out.

This begged the question I’m sure we’ve all pondered at one point in our lives, ‘What is the difference between a donkey and an ass anyway’? To which Bre upped the ante, ‘don’t forget about mules and burros.’ Unlike me, she already knew a mule is a cross between a horse and a donkey. The rest would have to wait for a private consult with our friend Professor Google a little later in the day.

So with the help of Dr. G and Ask Yahoo, here’s what I’ve learned on the fascinating topic of mules, burros, asses, and donkeys…

A mule is what happens when you leave a mare and a jack alone in a candlelit stable with a little smooth jazz playing from the barn.

A jack is just a male donkey.

A donkey is a domesticated ass. So what is an ass anyway? Lest you think me one, let me tell you. An ass is related to the horse, just smaller, with longer ears, a shorter mane, shorter hair on the tail, and a dark stripe along the back. Just like the person we call an ass is related to the human, just more annoying. A jackass is a male ass. Or that guy from MTV who makes movies of himself jumping off a building and into a kiddie pool of whipped cream and bacon grease. The difference between a jackass and a donkey is simple – the ass is wild; the donkey is domesticated. And to finish our wannabe horse lesson for today, the burro is a small donkey often used to carry overweight tourists into the Grand Canyon.

To sum it up, a donkey is a domesticated, small horse with longer ears, a shorter mane, shorter hair on the tail, and a dark stripe on its back.

And since a mule is part donkey, one can assume donkeys came before mules. But you know what happens when you assume. And you really do know what happens because now you know an ass when you see one.

Even if you still have no idea what makes a donkey very good.

You’re welcome.

3 comments:

TC said...

Jim,

That photo made my day. Now I have to clean the coffee off the table where I spit it out after laughing so hard.
I loved the video of the Pond. My friends and I used to go swimming down at the boathouse, back when the pond was clean.

Take care,
Tom

valleywriter said...

Thank you for making me laugh out loud. At the end of the post - I'm still smiling :-) Good one!

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?