Rod Miller: Fake Electric Cows – A Cautionary Campfire Tale

Columnist Rod Miller writes, "Stetsons were tipped back as heads were craned toward the black sky, eyes following a pin-prick of light that moved slowly among the stars. 'Is that it?' asked Rimrock, 'Is that Biden’s cow-trackin’ satellite?'"

Rod Miller

May 19, 20244 min read

Rod miller campfire 4 23 24
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Nothing but a glowing bed of coals remained of the ol’ campfire, as our favorite cowboys roasted their s’mores. Stetsons were tipped back as heads were craned toward the black sky, eyes following a pin-prick of light that moved slowly among the stars.

“Is that it?” asked Rimrock, “Is that Biden’s cow-trackin’ satellite?”

“Dunno," “Maybe” and “I have a bad feelin’ about this” were the answers from the nervous circle of cowhands.

The crew had spent the entire day installing electronic AI ear tags, mandated by bureaucrats in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, on each head in the herd. 

Signals from the devices beamed to an orbiting satellite so that the movement of each cow could be tracked by spies cloistered deep in the bowels of the National Security Agency and the CIA.

“They do that so they know which cows is fartin’ upwind of a big ciry,” opined Rawhide Ricky from Rawlins. 

“Naw,” responded Panhandle, “They wanna keep these cows from wanderin’ down to Colorado an’ gettin’ et by wolves. Its fer their own good.”

“Them eartags is pretty heavy,” offered Sourdough, “After we put ‘em in, them cows’ heads all tilted to one side. They’ll probably just walk in circles now.”

Back and forth the debate went, about poor ol’ cows caught in the greedy clutches of Big Gubmint and high tech attacks on a bucolic way of life.

A couple of the brushpoppers reached into pockets and pulled out spare ear tags that hadn’t found a home in a cow’s ear. They tossed the gizmos into the campfire ashes and dusted their hands on their chaps. They looked relieved.

The Trail Boss sauntered up and said, “That ain’t the worst of it, boys. I hear tell that there are secret labs in China where they’re makin’ fake beef. It looks like beef and s’posed to taste like beef, but its made from chemicals an’ recycled diapers or some such.”

Shocked looks greeted this unwelcome news.

“Fake cows!”, shouted the Kaycee Kid. “Science has gone too far!”

An indignant Latigo Lou from Lingle jumped to his feet. “What’s next? Fake horses?”

“Iffn scientists could make ‘em so they don’t buck, I don’t have too much of a problem.” said Joe the Wrangler.

“I’m gonna have nightmares,” said the Kid, “about them Chinese commie rustlers stealin’ our herd an’ replacin’ ‘em with fake cows.”

“What y’all need to be worried about,” offered the Trail Boss, “is fake laboratory cowboys. Made to look an’ smell an’ act like the real thing so’s ya cain’t tell the difference, but fabricated from the leftovers swept up off the floor o’ them fake cow labs.”

At this, cowboys around the ol’ campfire cast suspicious glances at one another, and the unspoken question on every lip was, “Hey, pard, are you real???”

It had been quite some time since the trail-weary hands had engaged in a good existential hermeneutic and solipsistic free-for-all about what role government has in their lives and what it means to be a real cowboy, so the conversation got lively around the ol’ campfire.

As Biden’s spy satellite looked down on the sleeping herd, cowboys heatedly debated the virtues of real horses vs. fake, and how a lab-raised cowboy would more’n likely wilt like a delicate prairie flower the next time the crew visited the fleshpots on Front Street in Rawlins.

The campfire rhetoric about the relative merits of grass-fat t-bones vs. Chinese faux beef was cut short when Cookie banged on his skillet with his six-gun and growled, “Supper’s on. Get yer asses on over to the chuckwagon. I cooked y’all a surprise for tonight.”

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Rod Miller

Political Columnist