Phil is an unusual kind of guy for one main reason.
He is a savant.
A savant is a person who who exhibits exceptional skill or brilliance in some limited field. Remember the movie, “Rainman?”
In a way, that’s Phil. Except, he doesn’t stop in the middle of the intersection freaking out over the “Walk/Don’t Walk” signs and he isn’t autistic. Phil is just…Phil.
He is a savant.
How do I know this?
Because Phil told me he was.
He is always saying brilliantly weird things so I believed him. Today was savantesque. He blew my mind…
Phil the Savant was telling me what people should do when they are lonely. He had the answer to that problem. Frankly, I had never heard of anything like this in my life and I was stunned at his conclusion.
“Pat, when I get down I know just the thing to do. Within an hour my depression is gone, I am smiling and I know that there are those out there who not only understand me but also APPRECIATE me.”
“Must be some kind of special group,” I commented.
He laughed, “You have no idea!”
I was more than a little curious, “Tell me.”
The savant peered at me and whispered, “Can you handle the truth?”
“Contrary to Jack Nicholson’s challenge in, ‘A Few Good Men,’…I can handle it!”
Phil looked around to make sure we were alone. Then, he leaned in and said a very interesting word…
I looked at him blankly, “Cows?”
He solemnly nodded, “Cows.”
“What about them?”
I had made a critical error in judgment in the Universe: Never doubt a savant.
“Cows are the greatest listeners in the world…they UNDERSTAND.”
I was trying to keep a straight face here. “Pray tell, Phil.”
He smiled smugly, “I talk to cows all the time. They constantly assure me, validate me and nurture me. They are the muse of the meadow. They have changed my life.”
I frowned, “Cows?”
The savant was expanding his intellect from pasture to pasture, “Have you ever looked into the face of a cow, Pat?”
I shook my head, “When I am around them I always look down to make sure I don’t step on one of their humongous…”
“COWPIES!” He nodded knowingly.
“Yeah those,” I affirmed.
The cows understand that, of course. They only want your happiness. They are not offended by your reluctance to soil yourself in any way.”
Phil was gently crossing over the line from savant to psycho….cow’s UNDERSTAND?”
I stuttered, “I’m not quite getting this, brother. (Phil loves when I call him, “brother.” It connects us.)
He peered into my eyes, “Have you ever looked directly into a cow’s face and seen the love?”
I thought about his question for several seconds without answering. Finally, I uttered, “Not really.”
The savant smiled knowingly, “You should…because they CARE.”
“How do you know they care, Phil?”
“Because they produce the most caring food in the world…the refreshment that brings all of us comfort growing up. We drank it with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, ice cold Butterfinger bars and Oreos.”
“And hot soup,” I added, “Don’t forget the soup!”
Phil nodded, “Exactly. Cows have always been with us since the foundation of the world. So, when we get lonely, depressed, stressed out, confused or even angry, they stand there calmly on the thick grass chewing their cud and exuding empathy.”
Oh my god.
I was reeling here. Part of me was getting his incisive points the other half of me was convinced I was dealing with a lunatic.
I looked at my watch, “Hey, I gotta go. Interesting conversation. What are your plans for the rest of the day?” I asked him.
“He smiled cryptically, “Heading out to pasture…
“With the cows?”
He smiled wanly at me, “Yeah, I need a little attention, a little love.”
I was speechless.
After Phil left I stood there imagining the face of a cow staring back at me for hours on end….those big brown eyes, the gentle motion of its mouth as it rotated in an almost sacred cud experience, its tail swinging gently and hardly moving for hours, listening, lapping up every word and loyally standing with me through thick and thin.
People are not like that; they can’t stay still in a Starbucks line for more than a minute. Many of them can’t stop talking and their endless chatter with or without their cell phones are as comforting as piranhas climbing all over a sea cow down the Amazon.
We have no peace in the world, in our home or even in our minds.
Other animals seem to irritate us constantly, the yipping of a dog, the insouciance of a cat, the staccato of a cockatoo, the fish that constantly winds up dead in the tank water…even the constant motion of the frenzied hamster takes away our joy of living life at a nice, leisurely pace.
No hurry, no sass, not pushiness, no tension…just a wonderful companion as serene as a pastoral day in a grassy expanse where there are no worries or wealth-building.
A quiet pasture in Wisconsin or Iowa.
Terrorists would never strike there, planes would not waste a bomb and it’s the last place politicians would ever care to legislate.
Cows know that.
They have found heaven on earth.
Spend time with them and find a loyal friend and….find yourself.
Just make sure you look down as you walk in and around them. That’s the only thing that could ruin your day.
The savant was right. With the original, “Jersey Boys,” in their world, there really is Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards Men. For all the love you give Bessie, she will give you a hundredfold back.
Guernseys are givers.
Go hug a heifer and eat mor chikin.
You are making the world a better place.
You’ll be glad you did.
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