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Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Herd

As an English major I tend to write a lot of different essays. This one I'd like to share is my favorite so far from this semester. It is a metaphorical essay that describes the college students who eat at the residential dining area a.k.a "Res".
The Herd

    The sounds of hooves shuffle along the floor; its lunch time and the cattle are out to graze. The fences have opened and in come the noisy herd eager to enjoy the fruits of carefully tended labor: hamburgers, beef stir fry and tacos. With much pacing the cows decide what to eat and where to settle; they lay down in no particular order on their rumps and chew for hours. Welcome to Res.
    The students at UMass Dartmouth eat at the Resident Dining Hall “Res”. There, as anyone grazing at the peak hours can tell you, hungry students are naïve cattle. “What to eat?” they moan; “Where to settle?” they snuff; “Something’s in my way, it should move.” They stomp. As cattle do, they move in herds sluggishly, eat their weight and leave a mess of spittle and cud.
    Trying to maneuver your way through the cattle is like a maze with squeezing walls: you need to get by but they don’t let you! You must be nimble to squeeze by the hoard of bulls near the water hole and support beams. Be careful, or else you’ll lose your plate by someone’s stray horns or a whip of their tail as they turn without looking. Yes, being a skinny cow is preferable in this grazing field; being too bulky will knock around displays and naïve cows who stand idly. In their defense, the fencing was not properly designed to accommodate such a population. The several posts get in the way of a clear path to and from the feeding areas and watering holes. Poor design on the farmer’s part.
    After taking their time enjoying their meals the cows clumsily get up and make their way to leave. However, in every herd there are a few calves that have not learned proper etiquette and leave their mess for others to scowl at and clean. The strange thing is that these calves are in the same herd as the adults indicating they know better, but choose not to clear the area of their spittle and cud. Perhaps they are busy mooing to their friends and butting heads in order to show off their prowess.
    At the end of the day the farmers shoo away the cattle and begin the mucking process. A grueling task for the caring farmers, but if the cattle were more considerate then the environment would be a more pleasant place for everyone. So to all the cattle out there: Tread kindly.

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