Are you familiar with the term “cow tipping?” If not, there’s a good chance you didn’t grow up in a flyover state. Cow tipping is, in essence, sneaking up on sleeping cows and pushing them over. Or at least that’s the idea. It’s supposed to be entertaining.
Wikipedia tells me that this is an urban legend and “the implication that rural citizens seek such entertainment due to lack of other alternatives is also generally viewed as urban legend, stereotyping and insulting people who live in rural areas.” Oh, quite the contrary Wikipedia. I’ll gleefully tell anyone who will listen that I used to go cow tipping when I was growing up in northern Indiana. We didn’t live on a farm, but we lived right in the middle of Amish country, so there were plenty of farms within shouting distance. Besides, my grandparents owned a farm and raised cattle. You don’t think we pushed over a few of those just for fun? Never mind that cows are huge, easily startled beasts who don’t actually sleep standing up. You think we didn’t get our kicks from trying?
Ok, truth is, you’d be right. I don’t think I ever touched a cow in my life until one tried to suckle my arm when I was in my early 20’s. That’s another story for another day. My older brother fed me the idea that 1) cows could be tipped over and 2) it was fun to do so. There was even one night that we snuck to the back of our fields (ok, it wasn’t a farm, but we did have fields) to spy on the cows on the next property over. I have no idea what I thought I was doing; I just wanted to be cool in front of the older kids.
Early last fall, I went to a wedding in a small town, and once we got off the highway, the trip was through a somewhat rural area. Which made me think of cow tipping. Which made me begin to tell my friend I was with (who grew up in Chicago and is pretty urban) about cow tipping. It took some convincing that this was a real thing and that we should definitely try cow tipping some time in the near future.
Fast forward to several hours later, and we’re tooling down strange back roads, in the dark, looking for cows to tip over. Picture it. We’re both definitely still in our wedding reception finery. I was, frankly, terrified. I’d let my little lie get the best of me, but I wasn’t about to back down. “This is going to be the best time of your life! Woo!” Inside, I was getting nauseous from both the idea that we were about to get killed (either trampled by a cow or shot by its owner) and the bumpy ride down the back roads.
After going down a road that I’m still not sure was a road, we finally pulled to a stop in front of a farm. We knew it was a farm because it had a huge sign. My friend slowed the car and pulled to the side of the road. Next thing I knew, she’d gotten out of the car and headed across the road to the driveway. Whoa, whoa, whoa. I figured it was time that I stopped this little charade. I slowly opened my car door, keeping my body safely behind it, just in case the farmer decided to shoot first and ask questions later.
“Quick! Take my picture! I’m rural!”
Say what? It’s after night fall and quite dark by now since there were no street lights. She was only illuminated by her headlights shining across the road and directly up someone’s driveway. “Take my picture!”
I frantically rummaged around in the car for a camera because I knew we weren’t leaving until she had her picture taken in a random driveway of a random farm in the middle of the night. I finally grabbed my phone, snapped off a picture and hissed, “Let’s go! We need to get out of here.”
She ran back across the road, hopped in the car, and we took off giggling like a couple of school girls. My laughter was fueled by my relief that we hadn’t been shot and there was no evidence the cops had been called. She had also not pushed to actually go into a field and hunt down a cow to tip over.
You should know that there was no alcohol served at the wedding reception. We were completely sober.