The Collective Cow Consciousness


Again, I am compelled to start with a confession – after repeated attempts to draw some sort of connection between this topic and the overall theme of my blog,  I am forced to admit that the following has absolutely nothing to do with hiking, trekking or climbing.  It is more of a confession on my part.  Read on if it suits you, but you have been forewarned.

Confession #1:  I suffer from logorrhea and stating it this way is further proof of that fact.  In other words, I have a tendency (a compulsion) to use a more complicated word or phrase when a simple one will do.  I know this, yet I am helpless to resist.  My wife, god bless her, has suffered through this for 30+ years and has still not left me.  My main defense is that I blame my father for this (inherited) condition.  As just one example, when I was a kid, I did not get a weekly allowance from my Dad, instead he gave me a weekly “remuneration”.  The rest is history.

Confession #2 (and this is the main confession):  I have visited my condition repeatedly on my kids and now that they are adults, I wait in nervous apprehension to see if my disease has been passed to the next generation (note:  I could have simply said “I wonder if they have it too?”).  Allow me to illustrate.  Most of you are probably familiar with the old wives’ tale that if cows in a field are sitting down, that means it is going to rain.  If they are standing, then clear weather is here to stay for a while.  Growing up, my wife and I would bring our kids to Wisconsin to see their grandparents multiple times a year.  As you may know, Wisconsin, beyond being famous for the Green Bay Packers, has a great affection for all things dairy.  Thus, cows are omnipresent in Wisconsin.  Put simply, Wisconsin has a shitload of cows.

I therefore had ample opportunity to pass on the aforementioned wives’ tale concerning cows and weather prediction to my children.  However, because of my affliction, I couldn’t simply say that.  Instead, one day, as we drove past a pasture full of cows, I made mention of the “Collective Cow Consciousness” to my daughters and linked that with weather prediction.  When my kids asked to explain this (god bless ‘em), I obliged with a scientific description of how cows in the field were able to link their minds together – something akin to a group Vulcan mind meld – and through this reach out into the meteorological sphere where they were able to divine the coming weather front.  They expressed this as a group by standing or sitting.  I further embellished this by stating that the Collective Cow Consciousness (aka the CCC) varied in strength (akin to The Force being weaker or stronger, depending on the situation) and when this happened you saw a mixed vote in the field with some cows standing, and others sitting.  I would reinforce this on a regular basis by noting, when we passed by a field in which all or the vast majority of cows were sitting, as “ah, the CCC is very strong today” or, when it was a 50/50 split on standing/sitting, “oh, I see that the CCC is weak right here”.

Beyond the initial questions about what specifically the Collective Cow Consciousness was, they never inquired further.  They just accepted it.  I presumed that they knew I was just bullshitting them.  But, here is where it gets particularly embarrassing, they didn’t think I was bullshitting them.  As their father, I had somehow built up a large bank account of credibility. In other words, they fell for it – HOOK – LINE – (and) SINKER.  They thought the Collective Cow Consciousness was real.  At the time, my wife didn’t alert me to the fact that our kids had bought it.

How do I know this?  Well, only recently they mentioned to my wife (but not to me) that this had caused them some difficulty back in grade school one day, and only then was the spell of the CCC broken.  Although I have chosen not to question them, nor was I present for the actual interaction, I presume that it went something like this:

Scene opens on a school yard at recess.  Quinn daughters are there discussing world events, including meteorology, with their friends.

Quinn Girl #1: “Well, cows can predict the rain, as long as their minds are strongly linked as part of the Collective Cow Consciousness”.

Friend #1: “What the fuck are you talking about?”

Quinn Girl #2: “No, no, it’s true.  The Collective Cow Consciousness is a real thing.  Our Dad has told us all about this.  He is a scientist.  Remember, he came to our classroom last year to talk about how the brain works?”

Friend #1: “I don’t know what you or your Dad are smoking, but I think you both better stop.  Because that is complete nonsense”.

Quinn Girl #1: But, …”

Friend #2: “Look, let’s be frank here.  The Collective Cow Consciousness is a bunch of dog dookie and if you guys believe that it is real then you have the brain of a mosquito, and I bet he was glad to get rid of it.”

Quinn Girls slink away, completely mortified. Scene slowly dissolves to a clover pasture, filled with … cows, then fades out to utter blackness.

My daughters went to a catholic grade school, so I do apologize for attributing the above foul mouthed dialogue to products of a parochial education.  Still, I can’t imagine that I am that far off.  I felt really bad when my wife told me about this (it happened when I mentioned the CCC while just the two of us were out for a drive in the country recently).

For my own part, I have always been gullible and the foil for many a tall tale myself.  I just wish that I hadn’t visited this upon my own kids.

Still, being able to write a blog about cows and working in references to both Star Trek and Star Wars at the same time, is pretty cool, right?


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