After reading accounts of this summer’s annual Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, I have just one question: How do they get them to do that?
I don’t mean the human participants, who do it because they are all liquored up on cheap Spanish wine. I mean how do they get the bulls to do that?
I live in a rural area. There are lots of cows and bulls around here. It is my considered opinion that they are a lazy lot. I wonder just what it would take to rouse them from their lethargic stupor. If they did not flick their tails at the flies every now and then, I would suspect they were concrete lawn ornaments.
The Spanish bulls of Pamplona, Spain, however, are powerhouses of rippling muscles and explosive fury, tossing their mighty heads as they gore drunken revelers and fling them through the air like rag dolls. The streets flow with blood and alcohol.
Every morning of the nine-day festival, six bulls are run through the city’s narrow streets, as the human participants run for their lives. Balconies along the route are crowded with spectators. The entire run lasts just under three minutes. This year’s Running of the Bulls sent eight gored participants to the nearest hospital.
The Running of the Bulls draws over a million visitors per year. It is a financial bonanza for the city of Pamplona. It is about time America got in on the action and staged its own running of the bulls.
I foresee at least two problems with this plan. Studies and surveys show that the majority of Americans are obese couch potatoes motivated only by greed. For most of us, the threat of imminent death would not be enough incentive to inspire us to sprint down the street while being chased by mad bulls.
There would have to be some sort of tangible reward at the end of the race. What would inspire lazy, out of shape Americans?
Instead of angry bulls, we could have a Misty Softee ice cream truck cruise slowly down the street, its loudspeaker tinkling merrily, as hundreds of Americans, salivating like Pavlov’s dog, waddle down the street after it, while stopping at every booth for cotton candy, corn dogs, and elephant ears. The winner would be promised the opportunity to lie down with his open mouth under the soft serve nozzle.
This would not be very exciting viewing for the spectators. We still need to add the element of danger and excitement to the chase. This brings us to the other problem: those lethargic American cows.
My first thought was to have someone stand behind the cows and wait for them to pass a burst of methane gas, a by-product of their digestive system. A match would be lit and the cows would shoot down the street like bottle rockets on the fourth of July.
Then I realized this would bring down the wrath of animal rights activists (as it should), not to mention encouraging lawsuit-happy opportunists who might be injured by the flying cows.
No, we will need a chase animal which represents danger, yet without the threat of death or dismemberment. Like skunks. Most people fear a skunk attack far more than a cow confrontation.
And we certainly have an abundance of skunks. Every mating season they congregate under our rear deck as if it were a skunk singles’ bar. Within minutes their distinctive odor seeps through every minute crevice until it forms a noxious vapor cloud over our home. Until I moved here, I had no idea that I could be jerked out of a sound sleep by an odor.
So there we have it: a plan to compete with the fame, fortune, and glory of Pomplona, Spain’s Running of the Bulls: The First Annual American Running of the Skunks, with a grand prize of all the soft-serve ice cream your belly can hold, followed by a tomato juice bath to neutralize the odor.
There is a ton of money to be made on T-shirts, refreshments, and souvenirs. I get first dibs on the tomato juice bathhouse franchise.