EDITOR'S NOTE: Cole is taking a well-undeserved vacation. So in anticipation of St. Patrick's Day, we rerun this Cole Classic from March 19, 2000:
I drink milk. Lots of it. It goes great with a big bowl of Alpha-Bits when cooking supper for one.
I don't drink beer. This, apparently, brands me an infidel in the eyes of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
PETA has pulled the plug on a controversial ad campaign that asked college students the question, "Milk Sucks ... Got Beer?''
According to the folks at PETA, drinking milk is unnatural and unhealthy. So in a spoof of the ubiquitous dairy industry's promotion, PETA offered beer as a more natural, healthier alternative.
This was exactly the kind of health news college students nationwide were searching for. They embraced this bit of advice heartily, especially for St. Patrick's Day weekend, according to news reports.
Part of the logic for good health is that humans are the only animal that keeps drinking milk after weaning. Of course, many other animals strike out on their own to eat other animals, something the vegetarians at PETA detest.
Cows do not eat other animals. They are vegetarians.
I also think they drink beer.
Growing up on a small farm and showing cattle at the county fair every year as a lad, I had the chance to meet many cows. Oh, you could never smell it on their breath, but I'm convinced a great deal of them were drunk.
Perhaps it has to do with their four stomachs. By the time the hay and grain work their way into that fourth chamber, it's had a reasonable chance to ferment.
You know those mellow cows you see in TV ads? It was more than contentment that had them slowly lumbering through fields of grass.
Slowly lumbering is exactly how you want your drunken cows to behave. When they get to jumping around, practicing their pirouettes, just get out of the way. Oh sure, it can be a thing of beauty watching a cow tiptoeing through the daisies. But she's got to land sometime. And she's not very particular where.
And never let a drunken cow drive. It was an 800-pound Jersey cow named Judy who taught me that. I was an 85-pound boy at the time, walking my cow to the show barn at the county fair. Suddenly, with her horns blaring, four on the floor and her genuine cowhide upholstery flashing, Judy bolted through the show barn and raced for the midway. I hung on for the ride.
In retrospect, it might have been wiser to let go. It's embarrassing enough to have your cow drunkenly stumbling through a crowd of cotton-candy-toting city slickers.
It's worse to hear, "Mom, look! I think that cow's doing 'Swan Lake!' And she's flopping a boy at the end of her leash. He doesn't know ballet does he? Ooh! I bet that hurt. Didn't he know his cow wanted to land there?"
Judy finally ran out of breath at the Ferris wheel. She stood there on my foot, ready to nap for a couple hours to sleep off her drunkenness. I slipped out of my squashed shoe as quietly as I could and limped away, swearing I would never drink beer.
But milk ... if it causes cows the discomfort PETA says it does, all I can say is, got milk? I have a few scores to settle with drunken cows.
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