As I mentioned last week, I am in Wales now, awaiting the chance to have lunch with Ollie the poet, whom I met at a pub known as The Verve. In that pub there where jokes told a plenty, some about Welshmen and sheep, for shepherding is something that some Welshmen—enough for it to be commonplace—do for a living. Now precisely what the Welshmen in the bar said about the sheep, I don’t know, for the lilt, as I said last time, is strong here in Swansea. In Cardiff, where I was yesterday for the day, there’s a noticeable accent, but even in a pub you can understand the person with whom you’re speaking. Not so in Swansea.
Then, coincidentally, ABC News ran a story this week about 25 sheep (25 sheep led through Parisian parks) that were wandering through France. They followed the Siene through downtown Paris. While there, by looking for foliage to eat, they sought to make a public statement, as best as sheep can, about the need to integrate animals into urban life. I am not really sure what to say about this. I am just sharing it with you because it fits in the Welsh banter of the Verve.
And I thought I was done with sheep until yesterday, in Cardiff, I went to a fine bar called the Queen’s Vaults, where they served a Sunday roast—quite an experience. And I had lamb, but I didn’t think much about my friends in the Verve as I downed that delicious meal.
And then, again, I thought I’m done with the sheep, finally. Until I came upon the most interesting sheep-story of them all: a sheep that cheated to win a contest using performance enhancing drugs. Now think about this for a moment: the words performance and sheep probably have never before been used in the same sentence, not even in the case of the famous Australian sheep shearing contests. There, of course, the performance is done by the shearers; and they are remarkably adroit. But that doesn’t count because it’s the shearers who are performing, not the sheep. But in the case of this award-winning sheep—the performance being enhanced is that of the sheep in question.
The title of the article by David Aaro is stunning: “Award-winning lamb under investigation for performance-enhancing drugs.” It certainly jumps off the page, or at least off the screen at you. Images of Lance Armstrong come to mind, but Lance Armstrong as a sheep on a bicycle, which is certainly an odd image.
Photo by Peretz Partensky (Flickr)
And some of the comments beneath the article say more than I can.
In that comment section, “Shahooster” writes:
“Officials grew suspicious when the lamb surpassed Barry Bonds’ single-season home run record with more than two months remaining of regular play.”
Meanwhile, perhaps even more sardonically, TWYer, writes:
“Pulling the wool over our eyes!”
And Yarxing cleverly writes:
“They found out it actually was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
And, of course, this could not pass without at least one pun, this from DickSoupCan:
“This is so ba-aaa-aaa-ad.”
I leave it at that. Is there a lesson here, in any of the sheep stories? I, for my part, am pretty sure there is not..