By Stan Grant
Today I’m going to share a (mostly) true story that I’ve entitled “Stan & The Angry Bull In The Bathroom”. Read on, I’m sure you will find this entertaining.
There was a time in my life when I was between real jobs. So rather than draw unemployment and think like a liberal, I decided to herd buffalo and work at a meatpacking plant. It was available as employment, I was bored, and it seemed like the thing to do. The work environment was entirely Hispanic, and I was the only Gringo. But hey, it was a paycheck. I’d never done anything like that before, and I signed up for work until I could find something better.
Days were spent moving buffalo from trucks, through pens, and into the building for “processing”. It was exciting work, and I learned a lot about buffalo.
For starters, when their tail goes into the air, you have problems. Real problems. If you happen to be in the same pen with them, that’s a clue that you need to GET OUT. NOW even. I learned in a hurry how to scale a 10-foot gate or fence in 1.2 seconds, and practiced it many times.
Sometimes out of necessity.
I also learned that buffalo can throw poop. Yep, not joking. And they know how to aim! More than once I was standing by, waiting to move them into the building, when one of them would flick his hoof, and kick the poop from the ground directly onto my face. To this day, my cowboy hat is stained with buffalo poop remnants, and it has the smell of a real cowboy.
None of the other buffalo ever ratted out the offender, but I’m convinced they knew how to do it deliberately. They wouldn’t have received clemency anyway.
Finally, I learned that they’re terrified of WalMart bags. Really. One day I was having problems with 3 stubborn bulls, who did not want to go down the chute of doom. Frankly, I think they knew that bad things happen on the other side of the door, in the box of doom. They didn’t know that Bob the executioner was awaiting their arrival, but they knew things weren’t right. They saw the door open, Fred their buffalo buddy went in, the door shut behind Fred, a loud bang was heard, and Fred was seen no more. So they were giving me fits and didn’t want to budge. Their tails were up too, and I wasn’t about to go into the pen and try to persuade them. What to do, what to do? Then, as if in answer to prayer, the heavens opened, a light shone down from the sky, I heard angels singing, and a wind gust blew a WalMart bag into the pen. Never…and I mean never…have I seen such panic in a buffalo’s eyes! Suddenly, following Fred didn’t seem like such a bad idea as they ran in terror away from the fearsome WalMart bag. From that day forward, I kept a beach ball handy in case I had a few stubborn critters. Just throw the beach ball in the pen, stand back, and watch the chaos unfold. They’re pretty compliant once they’ve felt the wrath of a beach ball or WalMart bag!
On one fateful day, there was a lull in buffalo activity. Cows were being processed, and they are much more docile. Or so I thought. They tend to follow head to tail, which buffalo hate to do. They like to move shoulder to shoulder, with a buddy by their side. But cows don’t have any problems moving head to tail, which makes it easy to move them down the chute of doom. That day we were having zero problems moving them into the land of steak and hamburger.
I proceeded into the building to do some paperwork, and turned over the herding duties to my sidekick. But I hadn’t made it 30 feet into the building when I realized my sidekick did not check the interior gate that holds the cows in the box of doom. That said, the outer door went up, the bull entered, and with the inner gate standing wide open, nothing was preventing him from free access to the entire plant. Kind of like illegal aliens. Once they’re past the door, they can roam free.
That’s when all bull hell broke loose.
Question: Have you ever seen Mexicans stick to walls? Did you KNOW that Mexicans can stick to walls? Well they can! And they do! I’ve seen it, so if you’ve heard rumors to that end, they’re truth!
The entire Hispanic population employed on the kill floor at the plant was immediately sent scrambling for cover anywhere they could find. Chief Angry Bull was chapped, and he wasn’t going down without a fight!
Being the only Gringo, I couldn’t understand a word the workers were shouting, but I did hear “sierra del fuego, aya caramba” and other words. I think I even heard a few “hail Marys”, but I’m not certain. Time really stood still. And they stuck to the walls! Really. Everything was in slow motion, and I just remember bodies hanging everywhere, and a mad bull heading my way. I don’t know how they did it, but they were hanging from fixtures on the ceiling, chains used to move beef carcasses, and any orifice they could find. Even smooth tile seemed to be no problem. It’s like they had secret suction cups in their hands. To this day I think they were enabled by God with special Spider Man powers, because that’s what they all looked like. Later, when nobody was around I tried to do what they did, but I just didn’t stick. Weird.
With Chief Angry Bull bearing down on my position, I ran. Away. I managed to put some distance between me and him because he was occupied with Juan, trying to pry him off the wall. What happened with Juan I’ll never know, because I was heading for the locker in the office where they kept the armory. If Angry Bull wanted a war, he was going to get one!
Upon entry to the armory, the Plant Manager and CEO asked what all the commotion was, and I told him we had a case of mad cow. Not the disease, but an angry 2,000 pound bull on the loose in the plant, tearing up anything and everything in its path. As the gravity of the situation sunk in, I grabbed the empty Ruger .357 Magnum that we used to dispatch buffalo, a box of shells, and headed back into the action to deal with Mr. Bull.
As I came through the door from the administrative area back onto the kill floor, I came face to face with Angry Bull. Juan was nowhere to be seen, but the shouting from the floor suggested that a hurricane had just gone through. At that point, it was all I could do to hope that Angry Bull just gave up on trying to pry Juan off the wall, and he’d moved on to a softer target. That would be me. And there I stood. So now what? The hurricane is about to make landfall, think quick Stan!
A quick, well thought out, and rational assessment showed I had three choices. Forward, into the horns of Angry Bull; left into a bathroom; right down a hallway. There would be no retreat, it was time to take a stand and be the man. It’s the only time in my life that I’ve chosen to be a leftist. Left it was, into the bathroom. After all, Chief Angry Bull is going to forget about me and go down the hall…or back to fight Juan…right?
I didn’t get to the first stall when Mr. Bull came crashing through the partially open door, intent on taking his displeasure out of my hide.
Hit pause for a moment. So just what exactly is a guy supposed to do in that kind of situation? It’s not like I lay awake in bed at night, wargaming about what to do if I ever encounter a mad bull in a bathroom.
And I’ve never seen a class offered at the local college on “Angry Bull In A Bathroom” management. It’s just not part of most professional development plans. So the obvious answer was to go into an open stall and shut the door. Which I did. OK, now he’ll go away…right?
Unfortunately for me Mr. Bull wasn’t about to be deterred, and he came in with me. By now I’m thinking “this is one mad bull, or he really has to go”. My only saving grace was that the door was too narrow for his shoulders, so he couldn’t get into the stall all the way without tearing everything up. But he was able to get his head around the door, wherein his horns encountered the toilet paper roll. You should have seen the toilet paper fly!
Now, I know for obvious reason there are no security cameras in bathrooms.
But if there were, here’s the picture:
Stan is standing on the top of a toilet. Standing with one foot on the toilet, and pushing against the door with the other foot to keep the bull at bay. Chief Angry Bull has his head in the stall and he’s thrashing around trying to get to me. Toilet paper is flying everywhere. In addition, both of my hands are occupied. With one hand, I’m holding the pistol. The other hand is loading. Loading as fast as I freaking can! I was seriously poetry in motion, I wish it was on video.
And then it happened.
I happened to look down. And when I did, I noticed that the person who used the stool before its present occupant had FAILED TO FLUSH. And I never…NEVER…bypass an unflushed toilet. It’s a rule, the code of the West. That’s when the CDO (that’s OCD in alphabetical order) kicked in.
While standing on the toilet with one foot, pushing the door with my other foot, holding a pistol in one hand, loading with the other, and angry bull throwing toilet paper everywhere, I decided that the toilet MUST be flushed. In no way could I tolerate the status quo. But my immediate dilemma now had to do with which extremity to use to push the handle. The solution? My knee. Somehow in the midst of the chaos I managed to flush the toilet with my knee, and to my surprise I think the noise scared Chief Angry Bull. The tide was about to turn.
He immediately withdrew his head from the stall, and made a hasty retreat, breaking the sink in the process. Water went everywhere as the pipes broke, and I got soaked. I looked like a living victim of a teenage TP party, and now it’s all getting wet. I looked like a wet mummy, or Lazarus coming out of the tomb. But I felt a strange sense of satisfaction knowing that I’d flushed that toilet under great duress. Suddenly life just seemed complete. I’d been missing something in my life, and this seemed to fill in all the gaps. Life suddenly had new meaning, the sky seemed bluer, the grass seemed greener. In addition, I now had a fully loaded .357 in my hand, and it was time to finish…yes FINISH…this ordeal once and for all! Angry Bull had started this affair, but I was going to finish it.
I made a hasty pursuit of Mr. Bull as he barreled down the hall. I didn’t really have a plan, but I was still awash in the emotion of flushing that toilet. So I knew that God was on my side, and He had this thing all worked out.
I snapped back to reality pretty quick when Mr. Bull got to the end of the hallway. I knew it was decision time for him, and he was either going THROUGH the door into the administrative offices…or reverse course and come back toward me.
He chose the latter.
This time Stan was ready. And really, how could I not be? I was soaked head to toe, covered in wet sticky toilet paper, and I had just walked through the valley of the shadow of death without so much as being scratched. And I’d flushed! So like David vs. Goliath, I knew Goliath didn’t stand a chance. I’d fought the lion and the bear, and now it was time for the giant. It was high noon at the OK Corral, and the only thing that came to my mind was Dirty Harry’s words…“go ahead, make my day”.
The ratcheting sound of the hammer cocking…the blast of a cannon in an enclosed space…and Chief Angry Bull lay at my feet. Game, set, match…Stan. I had won.
With liberty now secured, Juan showed up, unscathed. His super Spider Man powers had saved the day. The guy was a natural born matador. Then the boss showed up, followed by the Mexicans detaching from their perches on the walls. And we all dragged a now very heavy bull to the back to give him his rightful resting place. It’s the first time the plant ever packaged and sold a cut of meat they called “bathroom beef”, but I’m proud to say that I was there. Victory never tasted so good. Literally.
The moral of the story for anyone who reads this?
Manage your business, or it will manage you. And THAT, my friend, is no bull.