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Nervous? I nearly shat m’self


Okay, about those goats. I was wrong. Nervous goats (AKA fainting goats, Tennessee goats, stiff-leg goats, wooden-leg goats, Tennessee scare goats) are not epileptic and they weren’t developed at Vanderbilt.

But we really did have a small herd of them when I was a wee slip of a weasel. And I know ours came from Vanderbilt, where my parents were alums (well, my dad was. My mother dropped out when morning sickness made her upchuck on patients, a thing generally frowned upon in nursing school). The goats worked out a lot better than those experimental lab rats he brought home, that’s for sure.

The proper word for their condition is “myotonia.” They have two mutations on a gene that controls chloride ions in the skeletal muscles, whatever the fuck those are. It means their muscles lock up when they’re startled. Lasts about ten seconds.

They fall down, which really doesn’t give a sense of the thing at all. It’s like the ordinary physics of gravity do not apply. They fall down like cartoon characters fall down. They land with their legs stuck straight up in the air and slowly waving about (see the pictures above). And, because this mostly affects their legs and doesn’t affect their brains at all, they go down with a look on their faces like, “Dammit! What the hell?

Sometimes the older ones are able to stay upright and drag themselves along, or wobble back and forth like rocking horses. And it’s instantaneous. Like BANGthud.

See, I’m trying to explain why this was fun and not hateful and cruel. Oh, here. Here’s a YouTube video that might help.

See what I mean? Could you resist knocking ’em down like bowling pins?

Anyhow, if it makes you feel better — as I said in whatever thread I first mentioned these things — the senior billygoat got me up against the barn one day when I was nine and whaled the living shit out of me. Turns out a nine-year-old is not startling enough to flatten an enraged billygoat.

June 11, 2007 — 4:42 pm
Comments: 6

Almost enough to buy the book


Fun website flogging a book of short stories. I almost hit the button on it, then I realized, “hey, wait…I don’t read any more.”

Anyhow, it’s sounds quirky and eccentric. I’m getting tired of quirky and eccentric. I don’t think quirky and eccentric should be the gold standard of meritorious fiction. More straight cowboys and moms who knit colorful hats, I say. And pirate stories. And bacon. I could really go for some bacon and eggs this morning.

Found at Aphra Behn.

— 9:34 am
Comments: 12