String is like socialism: It’s easy to swallow but hard to pass

Krayton Kerns
Thursday, February 14, 2019
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Ramblings of a Conservative Cow Doctor

Several Decembers back, Woody began vomiting and abdominal x-rays suggested a bowel obstruction. In surgery, we discovered Woody’s insatiable taste for German polka music had prompted him to munch a gift-wrapped cassette tape from under the Christmas tree. Several segments of Woody’s small bowel were badly damaged, and he had a couple tough days but fully recovered.

Over my career I have removed dozens of these linear foreign bodies from dogs. Cats seem more discerning. Normal peristalsis causes the tinsel, twine and audio-tape to saw through the intestinal mucosa thereby causing a potentially fatal peritonitis. Given the choice of swallowing a needle or the thread, pick the needle as it tends to harmlessly prick its way down the gut.

Linear foreign bodies are rare in livestock likely because swallowed twine must string out to saw through the mucosa. If it is mixed with a wad of hay, it can safely pass through. Here is my case in point: I normally winter my horses out, but this recent below-zero stint prompted me to feed them a round bale. I tried to sneak the bale into the pasture with my Skid-steer, but the sound of the diesel engine is like a dinner bell to critters conditioned to socialism—getting something for nothing. I carefully cut and coiled the twine and when I glanced at Spud, my new horse from Idaho, he was munching a frozen chunk of hay with a foot-long tail of twine hanging out both corners of his mouth. I slowly stretched and grabbed at the string, but he spun away while chewing frantically. He won our game of twine keep-away and as he chewed, the string shortened from 12 to 6 to 3 inches before disappearing with a big swallow. Dang it!

Animals, including humans, who have swallowed something which gets stuck in their gut, exhibit a characteristic facial expression of sheepishness and nausea combined with belly pain. At the SOTU address when President Trump said, “we were born free, we will remain free and America will never become a socialist nation,” Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Ocasio-Cortez both scowled like they had recently swallowed baling twine or a German polka tape. This brings me to my point: Do not swallow socialism because it is bad for your bowels. Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez will likely pass their plug because the ruling class always thrives under socialism. The unwashed, not so much. To close the loop, after five days Spud is doing fine and likely has passed the twine. A socialist America will not be so lucky.

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