a short history of bull.

in high school, everyone had to choose a future job, research the position, and be interviewed. owing to the fact that question-and-answer sessions with writers who haven’t written anything is extremely boring, i decided to become a rodeo clown, if only for the duration of the project. on tape i talked about avoiding injuries: we were trained professionals, i proposed, respecting the animals and always remembering their penchant for the unpredictable. i must have been a decent liar, because, even weeks later, others were asking me if that was what i really wanted to be when i grew up.

standing outside of work, i thought about my former faux-occupation while watching the mechanical bull at a neighboring bar. it bucks and pivots with a girl astride its robotic back. there seem to be a few requirements for those who want to ride: a short dress must be worn and also thong underwear. the guy controlling the beast’s movements eventually stops it with its head down, leaving the girl’s ass visible to the raucous crowd. he then further cements his place in their hearts by causing the animal to shake, the girl jiggling along with it. i’ve seen this occur countless times with almost identical results. the rider soon lands onto the padding with her dress up over her head. due to his behind-the-curtain machinations and his adeptness at choreographing the eight-second show, like an expert puppeteer, i refer to him as the wizard of bull.

now my attentions have turned — and it shouldn’t be surprising considering my past and present affinities for bulls — to planning a trip to spain, particularly for the festival of san fermin in pamplona to participate in the running of the bulls. when i’ve floated this idea to friends though they’ve acted like i am crazy.

i was looking through pictures of gorings (to prepare) when i came upon this. seriously who wears jeans to an encierro? did he not realize that he would be trying to avoid three-thousand-pound animals with sharpened horns on their heads? bulls are very fashion-conscious creatures, and as such, impaling someone is their pointed way of saying, your style does not please me today. i will be fine as long as i can find a nice red scarf.

another thing working in my advantage is that i once was able to run a mile in about six-and-a-half minutes. the bull run is only half that length. plus i will be wearing shoes, while the bull must trod along the cobblestone roads on hooves. also, i can quote passages from the sun also rises to lull everyone else to sleep.

if time permits me to travel by foot, i’d like to make pamplona a stop along the el camino de santiago (way of st. james), a pilgrimage to the cathedral of santiago de compostela in the northwest of spain where it is said that the remains of the apostle st. james are buried.

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