Cow-Selfie Hypocrisy

In 2016 my sister took the most perfect lamb-selfie to ever exist. We were at the beginning of an ill-fated 47 km bike ride along Ireland’s Slea Head Drive on the famed Dingle peninsula (pronounced pen-in-shula in this case, for local flavor)—ill-fated in this case because we didn’t realize how intense those 47 km would be, but when the picture was snapped we were young, carefree, and didn’t realize that we’d soon be asking the owners of a rural Irish pub if there was any chance they could call a cab to drive out and fetch us. The selfie was perfect, just her and a lamb both peering directly into the camera. Editor’s note: I’m not including said selfie because she is a private citizen and not a wanna-be-influencer disguised as an influencer satirist. I’ve been trying to replicate the magic of that picture since, so take one every time I get in close proximity to anything that could be considered a “barnyard creature.”

I hiked Bearwallow Mountain Trail tonight after work. The trail is quick, about a mile or so through the woods. The highlight is the bald summit which you share with a herd of free ranging cows. I spent most of my time on top taking a series of selfies to try and best my sister’s. I sent her my best work once I was done and received this reply, “Oh wow. That’s a good one. Not as good as the #lambselfie of ’16, but good nonetheless.”

Animal selfies seem to be having something of a cultural moment this summer, or at least for me since I went and visited Yellowstone and thus spent a lot of time researching how to behave around bison. The short answer? Give them their space because they will toss you, headbutt you, and rip off your pants if you get too close. My brother, cousin, and I spent a lot of our time in Yellowstone judging people we thought might get gored in the name of a selfie.

I took this photo in Yellowstone from a safe distance.

But you know what? Tonight I learned I’m a pot full of stones calling a kettle black in a glass house. I thought I knew enough about cows because I grew up rural Pennsylvania (nevermind that I maybe actually got close to a cow twice in my life) and so knew they weren’t as flighty as buffalo. This meant I was legitimately surprised when the cow I was attempting to get a selfie in front of charged me and send me scampering down the pasture like the certified asshole I am. And the selfie isn’t even that good.

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