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One Thing about a Goat

Animals don’t have it so good. It’s no secret. One thing’s clothes: you won’t see a goat browsing in Petites on Saturday afternoon. You won’t see a goat exercising her rights as a consumer. I’m not saying they can help it, I’m just saying it bugs me. I mean it just bothers me, when I see a goat. Maybe three times I’ve seen a goat, and every time I’m going: What does this goat have to offer me personally? Another thing, a goat’s no big drinker. Friday comes around, a goat can just not celebrate. What does a goat do when he’s bored? Nothing, that’s the answer. Nothing. I’m talking this goat has no hobbies. Appreciation of music? You can forget it.

I’m not a goat-hater or anything. When I say goat, I could mean giraffe, I could mean trout. Sure, they look different. I know that. But as far as I can tell they’re basically the same. In terms of conversation, for instance. You see an animal, you go yep, there’s an animal. That’s as far as it goes. There are things you can do, sure. You can feed it, touch it, or kill it. That’s basically it. I don’t know. It just bugs me.

Stairmaster always makes me think. Since that crappy Discman broke I’m stepping, stepping and thinking like there’s no tomorrow. I get home after my workout and my brain is more exhausted than my hamstrings. The problem is whether to send it to the manufacturer or buy a new one, either way you’re getting ripped off. That right there is another thing. A goat wouldn’t have a clue about that. Sixty- or 90-day warranty? A goat doesn’t give a shit. I mean I know they don’t buy stuff but say they did. I mean, what is that? I can’t figure it out. It’s actually making me mad at this moment. Show me a goat right now, I’ll shake him till his teeth fall out.

Screaming won’t do you any good though, with a goat. If I had ESP I would read the mind of a goat. It would probably look like ASCII. 0s and 1s. Okay so I don’t know what ASCII looks like. Big deal. There’s Mister Computer Guy Chris sitting on my shoulder like an organ grinder’s monkey. There’s a guy who pretends to know everything. He may be smart but ask him what a goat’s long-term goals are, he’ll be stymied too. It doesn’t stop him from lording it over me. I can get some guy’s mortgage schedule from Akron, that’s what he says. You got any old friends in Shreveport? he asks. Gimme their names, I’ll tell you if they’re rich or poor. I show him I’m not impressed. All it takes is a shrug. Uh huh Chris, I go, and return to my transaction. He slouches away like an old hunchback.

The worst is when he tells his theories. You’re on break drinking a Coke and he corners you in the employee lounge, eating from his ziploc bag of dry Cheerios. He says It’s all chains. Nothing is separate. He says This is the era of mergers. He says By the time we’re retired there won’t be such a thing as the U. S. of A., it’ll be owned by Time Warner. He goes Every time you pay with your credit card people know all about you. They track everything you buy. They can describe you like they’ve known you all your life. You ever had an appendectomy? Well they know it. Luckily I can deal with him now. At first I was polite but then I learned. For instance yesterday when he was theorizing I crushed my can, lobbed it into the trash, and walked out the lounge door. It shut him right up. I know this because once I turned the corner I stayed there for a second and heard his sentence trail off. It’s not worth it. There comes a point when being polite is the same as stabbing a fork in your arm.

Stay on track. Animal thoughts. I like to take one thought and follow through, when I’m on the Stairmaster. To see if I can do it. It’s harder than I expected. There’s an obese woman stepping next to me. You just want to lean over and say honey, give up. Go home and scarf some lard. Shove your face in a lard cake and gobble. It won’t make a difference. It reminds me of one positive thing about goats, which is also a negative. They don’t have opinions. They’re pretty much neutral, as far as I know. For instance politics. There’s no goat out there lobbying for animal rights in Washington D.C. Sure, I know it’s obvious but what do they do all day? I’m not talking about grazing or leaping. I mean what do they want? Nothing, that’s the answer. A goat’s problem is it has no desires. Okay, needs. It needs a hunk of grass, for instance. That’s what makes a goat boring. It doesn’t want zip. Nothing. The big bagel.

Mister Computer is boring too and that’s gotta be why. He doesn’t strive, he has no ambition. He just fiddles. Fiddles, brags, and tells his theories. He’s steady-state, like a goat. Entropy increases. A law of thermal dynamics like on Discovery Channel. Mister Computer never heard of the Big Bang. All he knows about is finding out the status of a car loan in Salt Lake City. He just wants to go on like he’s going.

She’s got a Discman but it’s just a matter of time. Give up physical fitness lady, and I’ll be taking that Discman. I’m reading the cards and I see heart disease in your future. You won’t need the Discman anymore. It’ll break on the ninety-first day anyway. Jesus she’s even sporting a Vogue magazine T-shirt. It’s like a paraplegic guy wearing ski boots. Hope’s fine and all but please there are limits. You have to see what’s realistic. A goat doesn’t plan for the future. If there were IRAs for goats they wouldn’t get many takers. 401(k) for goats? I don’t think so.

Then there was the trip to Vermont in the Cressida when we got out to see a view and there was a goat at the fence. It was dirtier than your petting-zoo goats but that wasn’t what got to me. What got to me was how this goat stood there without doing anything, not even eating. Maybe it was sick, but it threw me for a loop. I remember I looked at the goat and there was no expression there. That goat had no facial expression. You don’t expect them to smile I mean that could be disturbing, but this goat had blank eyes. Maybe it was sick. Or deficient. A retard goat. Hard to tell the difference. You could break down and sob right there and it would have no response. They’re not supportive. You could die right there, you could expire at the feet of that goat and then what would happen? Nothing is what. The goat wouldn’t notice. I don’t know, there’s something about that.

There she goes. That six minutes really took it out of her. Her butt moves in a rotary swing. Another rotisserie chicken flaps up and takes her place. She’s looking at me for longer than normal. Twenty Minute Limit When Others Are Waiting I’m sure. The race is to the swift, hogface.

Mister Computer has a dog. It’s small and ugly. It has a skin condition that makes its hair fall out. Don’t even talk to me about halitosis, that dog has breath that could fell a man at ten paces. He brought it into the office one morning and hid it under his desk in a box. What does he think, the dog loves him for who he is? You can like pets a lot until you notice they can’t tell the difference between you and anyone else. No judgment and no values. The proof is in the pudding. That dog followed Mister Genius around like he was Jesus Christ Our Lord. Why, because he wanted food. Zero discrimination. You can’t take a dog aside and tell him his owner is a loser. Not receptive. Goats are the same except they don’t follow anyone. They eat off the ground, not out of a bowl. That’s all it is.

No, excuse me. Instead of standing in line why doesn’t she make hay while the sun shines and use the Nautilus? This is the land of opportunity, correct me if I’m wrong.

Stay on track. That always happens when I’m having a thought, someone interrupts it or something distracts me. It could be a minor incident but it breaks the thread and then you have to start all over again. You fall into the chinks of the thought and can’t get back out. It’s a major problem with thoughts in general. There should be rooms just for thinking with signs up saying Do Not Disturb. No one would go there though. I probably wouldn’t either. You don’t limit yourself to one activity at a time, you wouldn’t be able to fit them all in.

Goat goat goat. It’s a good question whether, if you were locked in the same house with one particular goat for thirty years, you’d ever come to an understanding. For instance if you were jailed with a goat for a cellmate. Sure you’d get used to the goat and you could predict how it was going to act, but that’s different. There’s scientists that teach chimpanzees to talk in sign language. Okay fine goats don’t have hands, but maybe they have other talents and are just very quiet. You never know that about an animal. It’s frustrating. Some guys are that way too. Not Mister Computer. They could cut off his tongue and he’d keep right on telling theories, with charades or cue cards or something. You can’t be a fly on the wall of a goat brain.

What bugs me is how he could think he had a right to say it. Like he’s anyone to say anything. No one pays attention to him, no one. No one ever agrees with him. If you took a poll it’s a good bet most people would rate him 0 on a 1 to 10 scale. 2 or 3 tops. Ginette in Customer Service laughs when he says stuff, she might give him a 3. That’s the best he would do. Ginette likes people, that’s what she said in her interview. She goes I’m a people person. Real original Ginette. Her 3 would be his highest rating, and she’d probably give Adolf Hitler a 3 too. She likes people. You could say, But Ginette he committed mass genocide, and she’d go, Well it was probably out of insecurity. She says that whenever someone acts like an asshole. He’s just insecure, she goes. Yeah Ginette. She’d be good to have along if your plane crashed in the Himalayas and you had nothing to eat, like that movie. She’d tear chunks of flesh off her own body and sauté it on the wing to feed the injured crew. She’d be walking around with missing body parts smiling like an idiot. You could go Ginette you look a lot worse without your left thigh. She’d giggle and say Chill girl, you aready hungry agin?

Anyway even if he really thinks it he shouldn’t have said it. There’s such a thing as a good workplace attitude. You don’t just say what you think.

Now she’s flapping off again and offering her Stairmaster to the next person in line extremely loudly while shooting a look at me. It’s like sorry, but I have needs. Mister Chris may ignore them, that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Was I doing anything wrong? No, is the answer. I was minding my own business in the lounge. I was trying to read People which I don’t see what’s wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with trying to have a little time to yourself when you’re on break. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to know what’s going on in the world. Maybe he should try reading more often himself. As usual he walks in slumping and snacking and trying to tell me the future. The future according to Mister Computer. I go We don’t want to hear it. That’s all I said. He’s a windbag. No one appreciates that. No one else would say anything, they’re too weak. Then I went back to People.

Four minutes to go and if they think I’m stopping one minute early they can give it up. Forty-five minutes nonstop is my rule. They’ve been distracting me the whole time, that should be enough for them. I could say Are you happy? I lost my chain of thought because of you and what did that even accomplish? People like you are the ones who stop all half-decent thoughts from coming to bloom. It’s no wonder the world is confused and has problems, it’s pushy people like you. Goat goat goat. See? It gets me nowhere now. The whole thing was a waste.

He leaned down with his hand on the arm of the couch and put his face up close to mine. Too close for comfort. He and his dog have more in common than psoriasis I’ll say that much. He said You know what? Shut your mouth. Just shut up. You’re a teller. You’re just a stupid teller.