whatever floats your goat

A nine year old boy. A county fair. A goat with the lust for the taste of human flesh.This is the tale of a younger, smaller, and less shenanigans inclined Camden, and his quest to provide the domesticated farm animals of a small petting zoo with hearty nutrition.

Some years ago, I had the honour of attending some sort of community festivities along side my family. Aside from the various attractions of the ferris wheel, the giant drop, the spin-you-around-until-you-vomit-ride, and the entrancing allures of funnel cakes and cotton candy, one thing stood out - the petting zoo.

Inside a small pen strewn with urine stained straw were the various assortment of smaller farm animals. Chickens, lambs, rabbits, and a duck or two were herding around the poor, unfortunate, unsuspecting children who waddled around with fistfuls of mysterious pellets that the animals consumed like any sane man would a gifted churro. 

Along comes me -  small and vulnerable, with a fistful of pellets. No bulletproof vest, no protective goggles, no katana. After letting the ragtag group of chickens peck around my hand for a while and dealing with the excessive slobbering of the lamb , a shaggy, sly goat decided to creep on over to my corner of the pen. That rectangle-pupiled fiend slowly, and in an ever-so-nonchalant-way dawdles over to me, and gives me a look which up until that moment I believed only a hungry puppy labradoodle could express. However, my inexperienced, innocent mind could not see past this facade into the harsh, cruel and unforgiving interior of the beast.

I outstretched my hand to the horned creature, palm open with a plethora of the delicious pellets presented. Immediately the goat consumed all of the food, moving like a blur around my hand, not letting a single pellet escape. My younger self had a nagging feeling in the back of his head - a fear. He blamed that on the idea that the goat might have decided his fingers were far more delectable than the mystery pellets. He was so wrong.

After an unfortunate amount of saliva was applied by the mouth of the goat, it became clear that no amount of pellets could satisfy this creature’s gluttonous appetite. Finally, after several replenishes to the supply within his hand, young Camden ran out of pellets in his brown paper bag. The goat did not seem so understand this concept. Even after the emptiness of the bag was displayed to the creature, it would not believe. Young Camden showcased his empty palms one final time to the goat. The goat stared back. Camden shrugged his shoulders and raised his hands above his head in a “Whatever, there’s nothing there” fashion. The goat went for his hands.

It took a few seconds for young Camden to realise what happened. The goat stood on top of him, who was sprawled out on his back. The goat had decided to check one final time that there were no pellets, and the only way to access the hands that were out of its reach, was to knock the child over. That’s right. It knocked me to the ground.

I’m completely convinced that unless my parents had intervened, that petting zoo would have had a bloody mauling to be held responsible for. In a daze, I arose and checked under my shirt. Two distinct hoof marks were etched in an inflamed red on my chest. Needless to say, I was greatly saddened when these faded away, but they were pretty neat proof of my battle while they lasted. 

So yes. This current goat-Taylor-Swift-song trend brings back emotionally scarring memories. But hey, if that’s what pop culture chooses to exploit, so be it. It’s out of my hands.