Now Mad Cow?
by Mad Dog
farmers have been feeding grazing animals the ground-up remains of
their friends and family. The animalís, not the farmerís.
||Itís hard to turn on
the TV or look at a newspaper without having a mad cow smack you in
the face. And as usual, they run faster than you do, so by the time
you put the remote down and wipe that orange Chee-tos dust off your
fingers you canít catch them to smack them back. If youíre one of
those people who still have a hard time telling a mad cow from a
disenfranchised electorate, Iím here to make your life a little
easier. No, I wonít vacuum the living room, but I will answer your
What causes mad cow disease?
It starts when a cow catches BSE, which
is bovine spongiform encephalopathy. For reasons scientists donít
yet understand, certain proteins, which are those little things that
are added to shampoo which do your hair no good but allow the
manufacturer to charge you ten times more than the regular shampoo, go
haywire and settle in the cowís brain, eating little holes in it so
it becomes soft and spongy. This makes it more suited to cleaning
kitchen counter tops than thinking, though thatís not a real big
problem since cows arenít known for their brain power. This is
obvious since not a single cow has won a Nobel Prize, though Elmer
should have for inventing that white glue we all ate ó I mean, used
ó in school.
Do people get BSE?
Not exactly. The human version is called
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. This is not to be confused with Jakob
disease, which you get from watching that bad movie Robin Williams
made. No, not that bad one, the one titled Jakob.
investigating Benny Hill, Mister Bean, and the royal familyó which
is known for eating their young but unfortunately only figurativelyó they
finally took the situation seriously and told people not to eat
||So how do people
catch mad cow disease?
From eating infected cow parts.
How do cows catch it?
The same way.
You mean cows are cannibals?
Yes, but itís not their fault. After
all, they donít prepare their own meals. For years farmers have been
feeding animals the ground-up remains of their friends and family. The
animalís, not the farmerís. Because cows have hooves, they canít
call Dominoís and order a pizza, which leaves them no choice but to
eat Aunt Bossie. If she had BSE, theyíll get it too.
True, but theyíre not the only animals
that eat their own. Spiders, fish, and mice do it all the time, and
they donít even wait until the kids die or grind them up. While this
sounds inhuman, letís not forget that they arenít human. Besides,
there isnít a mother alive whose child is older than one week who
hasnít given this idea strong consideration. And face it, the world
would be better off had some of them done it. Mrs. Hitler, Mrs.
Dahmer, and Mrs. Hussein all come to mind.
Where did mad cow disease originate?
It first cropped up in England about
five years ago. The authorities were slow to figure out there was a
problem since traditionally the English call their mothers-in-law mad
cows. Once they started to suspect something was up, they assumed it
was a Monty Python skit, which is only natural. At least until someone
pointed out that Monty Python hadnít been together for years. After
investigating Benny Hill, Mister Bean, and the royal family ó which
is known for eating their young, though unfortunately only
figuratively ó they finally took the situation seriously and told
people not to eat their mothers-in-law. Just kidding. Actually it
turns out thatís okay, itís eating the meat from infected cows
thatís the problem. Oddly enough, even cooking it for seven days
like the English typically do doesnít kill the renegade proteins,
though it does kill the taste of the meat, which is, after all, the
main way of knowing that youíre dining in England.
There are no mad lambs, mad
chickens, or mad pigs. Well, not unless you count Rosie.
Just kidding. Everyone knows sheís only mad at her magazine
||Is mad cow disease
still a problem there?
No. They got it under control by killing
all the cows and lowering everyoneís cholesterol level since they
had to eat chicken. But like a movie that earns more than $129.72 at
the box office, there was bound to be a sequel. A few years ago mad
cow disease surfaced in France, then Germany, then Canada, and now
itís in the United States.
Why did it take so long to get to the United
Tightened security after September 11th.
Are you sure mad cow disease isnít caused
by genetic manipulation?
Well, anythingís possible. Okay,
except maybe Danielle Steel winning a Pulitzer Prize. After all, if
Merck can scramble a turkeyís DNA so the males are born with black
feathers and the females with brown, anything could happen. Itís
true that the only reason they had to do this was because their last
genetic manipulation made it difficult to tell the sexes apart, but
this demonstrates that what they were really working on was the goal
of scientists everywhere: job security.
beef thatís been eating beef -- stick to vegan cattle. Donít grind
up your relatives and sprinkle them on your cereal.
||Is this a problem
with other animals?
Of course not. Animals donít have jobs
so why would they be concerned with job security?
I meant do they get their own kind of mad
No. There are no mad lambs, mad chickens, or mad pigs. Well, not
unless you count Rosie. Just kidding. Everyone knows sheís only mad
at her magazine publisher. And Madonna. And....okay, strike that.
What about the elephants who went on a
rampage and flattened the village in Bangladesh a couple of years ago?
They werenít mad, they were drunk from a local brew which is a lot
like egg nog except it tastes good. At least to elephants.
How can I make sure I donít get mad cow
You canít be 100 percent certain, but
there are definite precautions you can take. First, donít go to
England, France, Germany, or Canada. Trust me, they wonít miss you,
especially in France. Donít eat beef thatís been eating beef ó
stick to vegan cattle. Donít grind up your relatives and sprinkle
them on your cereal. And last, stop reading the newspaper and watching
the news on TV ó theyíre worse for your health and mental
well-being than any mad cow could ever hope to be.
22204 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read
them while cleaning the kitchen counter with a cow brain.