Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Day I Became a Man

This weekend, I was presented with the opportunity to travel to Shelley Idaho. Shelley is a rural community just outside of the slightly larger, self proclaimed city of Idaho Falls. My Idaho born tour guide Colton promised some authentic eastern Idaho fun in the form of 4-wheeling, a wiener dog named King Richard, and some cattle castration. I put this last activity out of my mind deciding to cross that bridge when I got there.

After being graciously welcomed by our hosts, I was informed that the castrations would begin promptly at 1pm the following afternoon. I thought about what that would entail and decided to push it out of my mind yet again. 4-wheeling came and went; little Richard took a nap on my lap; lunch was eaten, and the time finally came to face the reality of what lay so closely ahead. As we neared the small farm that played host to a large heard of infertile cattle, the idea of what I was supposed to accomplish began to set in. To put it lightly: I was a little nervous.

You want me to do what?

When the procedure was explained to me, I listened wide eyed and nauseous. I quickly found myself lost in the task at hand and even happening upon moments of enjoyment. The cattle were rounded into a small corral and the calves were separated from the adults. This is where the fun began. We herded the young animals into a corner. A rope was thrown around a back leg of one of the males and we wrestled it to the ground. With someone holding the legs and someone holding the front half of the soon to be emasculated animal, our demonstration began. After a whirlwind of "I'm supposed to do what?" and "You want me to grab it where?", I looked down into my outstretched hand to find myself holding a severed testicle. 3 minutes later that same hand was holding a knife: my turn.

Less than twenty minutes after I entered the corral, I was washing blood off my hands feeling like I could take on the world. Covered in dirt and manure, I became a man. That little calf became a premature steak, but I became a man.