Yes, it was amazing.
My living situation was ideal too. A professor of mine from back home had grown up in Hawaii and had offered me free use of her empty Hawaiian cottage for the duration of my internship. Located on a large plot of land fewer than 5 miles from the beach, the cottage was surrounded by mango, banana, papaya, avocado, and lemon trees. It was sunny and beautiful, and I felt like I was living in heaven.
Living alone in Hawaii was never boring. As you may imagine, when I wasn’t exploring the island, friends and family regularly jumped at the opportunity to visit. Plus, when company left, I had the cows.
Each day at 4:30 pm the cows moseyed down the large hill in my backyard to lay in the shade of the avocado trees. I usually acknowledged their presence with a friendly wave, but nothing more.
Occasionally, a cow would try to lift his head high enough to reach a piece of fruit from the lowest branches of the avocado tree. I thought this was cute and it would make me chuckle. I would say something like, “nice attempt Mr. Cow”, give the cow an air high five, and be on my merry way for the day.
The cows were mellow, they seldom mooed, and they brought a peaceful vibe to my Hawaiian adventures, but I rarely thought about them. In my mind, the cows were part of the scenery.
It was contagious.
Viewing Hawaii through their eyes reminded me of how lucky I was to live in such a beautiful place. I was filled with warm fuzzy feelings as I recollected my own appreciation of the island, and my pores oozed with thankfulness for the opportunity to live in Hawaii.
I was living high.
When we arrived at the cottage, the cows were enjoying the shade of the avocado tree. I helped my mom and brother cart their luggage from the car to the house, and as they unpacked, I took a stroll in the yard to contemplate my newfound appreciation for the awesome life I was leading.
As I pondered life, my brother made his way towards the car to get another load of luggage.
“This place is awesome! What do the cows do all day?” He said.
“Not much. They mainly wander around the yard, and sit under the avocado tree when they want shade.”
“Do they like the taste of avocados?”
“I’m not sure. I don’t think they’ve ever been able to reach one.”
“Wait, you mean that you’ve lived here this whole time and watched the cows try to reach avocados every day and instead of picking one for them, you just watch them struggle? What a jerk! That’s a horrible way to repay your teacher for letting you stay in her cottage.”
Oh my gosh. He was right. I was living in the most beautiful place in the world, loving my job, and living rent-free thanks to my professor, and how was I showing my appreciation? By torturing her cows! The cows had given me every possible cow signal known to mankind indicating that they wanted avocados. Instead of picking an avocado for them, I had laughed at their bovine attempts. I WAS a jerk!
If You Give A Cow An Avocado
I marched towards the cows and my brother followed. I yanked an avocado from the tree, and attempted to toss it on the ground in front of the cows. The avocado never hit the ground. Instead, the cow at the front of the pack moved forward with ninja speed, opened his mouth, and using his mouth as a baseball mitt, he opened wide and caught the avocado in the deep pocket of his throat.
The avocado was lodged tightly in the cow’s windpipe. My brother and I gasped. The cow’s eyes bulged. All three of us panicked.
With his mouth wide open, the cow tilted his head upwards and tried to force the avocado into his stomach. Now the avocado was in a worse position. The cow quickly went from making a weird whistling sound while he gasped for air, to making no sounds at all when the avocado became wedged in his esophagus. It was obvious that the avocado wasn't going to budge.
“What do we do?!?” I yelled to my brother.
When my brother didn't respond, I turned towards him and realized that his face had turned red and he was in some strange state of panic.
“Should we reach in his mouth and tug out the avocado?!?”
My brother still didn't respond, but the cows eyes bulged even more and his big chubby cow stomach started waving back and forth in a weird jiggly motion.
I could see that my brother wasn't going to be any help, and the cow was badly choking. All that I could think about was how my professor had graciously allowed me to live in her Hawaiian cottage and now I was repaying her by killing her cherished cow.
If this cow was going to live, I had to think of a plan by myself. All of the first aide classes I had ever taken flashed before my eyes and I quickly became aware that this cow was giving me every sign that he needed the Heimlich maneuver. I needed to dislodge the avocado from the cow’s throat by administering a short burst of thrusts right below his rib cage, stat.
“I need your help!” I yelled to my brother. “Where is his rib cage?!? I’m going to give him the Heimlich. Snap out of it, I need your help or this cow is going to choke to death!”
My brother finally responded, “I think his stomach is his rib cage!” (Not a smart response, but a response nonetheless.)
I had no better guess than my brother, so I narrowed my eyes on the cow’s wiggly jiggly stomach and realized that even if I jumped on the cow’s back and reached my arms around his entire body, I wouldn't be able to make the two handed fist required for administering the Heimlich. I had only one option. I needed to kick the cow square in the gut. It was the cow’s only hope.
I started to climb the fence.
“What are you doing?!?” said my brother.
“I’m going to kick the cow in the stomach!”
“Are you sure?!”
“What else can I do?!?”
At this point I had made it over the fence and was standing directly parallel to the choking cow. “Should I kick him?!?”
My brother hesitated, and then yelled, “Yes! Kick him as hard as you can! Do it, now, now NOW!”
Just as I was winding up to give the cow the biggest gut buster knockout kick he had ever received, I heard a noise that sounded like someone was drinking a vein popping, super thick milkshake. I looked around, and finally discovered that the noise was coming from the cow as the avocado slowly turned to mush in the back of his throat.
My brother yelled, “Something is happening! I think he’s going to puke or swallow the avocado, jump back over the fence!”
He was right, something was about to go down, so without kicking the cow, I hopped back to the safe side of the fence.
The cow shook his head back and forth, and I could see the thick avocado peel dissolving in his throat. Finally, with one large gulp, the cow forced down the avocado in one large swallow. I watched the lump move from his neck to the pits of his wiggly jiggly stomach.
The cow yelled moo.
I looked from the cow, to my brother, and together, we all took a deep breath. The cow was alive.
The cow quickly gathered his cow friends and together they ventured away from the avocado tree, over the big hill, and far away. My brother and I were left alone to process the traumatic incident that had just transpired in front of our eyes.
Brother: “What the heck was that?! That was the most terrifying thing I've ever seen in my entire life!”
Me: “Listen. I don’t know what just happened, but I don’t think we can ever tell anyone about this.”
Brother: “I agree, and I will never feed a cow again.”
Until now, I have kept my promise and have never shared this story with anyone, but today I thought it was important to let you know what happens…if you give a cow an avocado.
You've been warned.