“Goat” by lierne is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

At the risk of sounding immodest, I am a much better goat squatter than my wife, Marianne, will ever be. Sure, she has the leg toss\straddle down but when it comes to the knee clamp\sit move, she lacks the subtle nuance of motion that separates the true masters of the field from the common chattel.

I mastered the art of goat squatting as a direct result of our youngest nigerian drawf goat, Layla’s, hobby of getting her head stuck in the pasture fence. She is not the only goat of ours that has gotten her head stuck in the fence, but she has elevated the practice to near obessive compulsive behavior.

I have studied the grass on the other side of the pasture fence. I don’t see a difference between that grass and the grass inside the fence. It is green. It sticks up about three inches. It has fire ant hills interspersed here and there. It must be an eye-of-the-beholder type scenario, because Layla has an addiction to the other-side-of-the-fence grass the likes of which is unprecedented in the annals of goat kind. At least it is for our goats.

She pushes her head through the gap in the wires and chews happily for a while, tail wagging. Then, of course, she tries to step back only to find – shockingly enough – she can’t get her head back through the fence. The other goats wander off leaving Layla stuck and crying at the top of her lungs.

Marianne and I dash out to rescue her. She thanks us by fighting us like the devil himself. Most times we somehow manage to wrestle her head back through the fence. She immediately takes off running in a zig zag pattern, elated to be free. Then came the time, for the life of us, neither of us could wrestle her head out of the fence. She was pulling back and leaping around too much.

“You’re going to have to sit on her and hold her still,” Marianne told me.

“I’ll crush her,” I said, hoping Marianne would back off the idea.

She made face. It was not a pleasant face. “I don’t mean sit all the way down on her. Squat on her and hold her still.”

She conjured up another face that basically said I could argue or I could eat my own cooking for the foreseeable future. I have eaten my own cooking. It is not a pleasant experience. A squattin’ I did go.

Getting my leg over Layla was not the hard part. I am over six feet tall and she is a small goat. Getting my leg over Layla without her rearing up and damaging any of my anatomical parts I hold near and dear to me was the problem.

Steeling myself, I drew in a long, deep breathe then, summoning everything I had, I begged Marianne to reconsider.

Nothing doing.

In a sort of Kamikaze, damn the torpedoes mindset, I pressed my hand to Layla’s spine, I slung my leg over her back, squatted low and clamped my knees to her flanks all in more or less one single move. For her part, Layla went, in what we in the goat business call, completely out of her mind.

She bucked. She twisted. She screamed out loud.

The goats who gathered around to watch, called out in alarm, too. “What are they doing to Layla,” they baahed. “Does this involve food?” they baahed.

In an effort to calm her down, I engaged in the old farmer’s trick of yelling out words and phrases that would turn my mother’s cheeks redder than a baboon’s bottom if she heard them issuing from her baby boy. It didn’t work. Layla ramped up her gyrations.

“Hold her still,” Marianne barked. She had a hand on either horn and was twisting Layla’s head this way and that.

“I am holding her still as I can,” I barked back.

“I can’t get her out. She’s twisting too much.”

I sat down lower pressing my weight against her back. I squeezed by knees together.

“That’s all I got I said.”

Layla either got tired or the pressure worked. She stood relatively still. Marianne, who made at least one unlady-like comment herself during the operation, finally managed to push Layla’s head, horns and all, through the fence.

The experienced goat squatter knows the freeing of the head is the time the real problems start. I was not an experienced goat squatter. Once her head was on this side of the fence, Layla was free to buck like a champion bronco. She threw her head back. All I saw was horns coming at me. I leapt backwards for all I was worth. Turns out, it wasn’t worth much. My dismount left a lot be desired. Balance for one thing. I landed on my feet, but I was off kilter. I stumbled backwards for several steps then landed on my backside with all the grace of a possum falling off a log.

Some of the goats who were milling around watching ran up to me. They baahed at me and sniffed me. One snorted as if I was the worst thing he ever smelled. In my current condition, I just might have been.

For her part, Layla bounded away in a kind of side-wards motion until she straightened out her trajectory and took off like a shot to the other end of the pasture.

“Never again,” I told Marianne who was doing a better than average job of concealing her concern for me by laughing to the point she could hardly breathe.

But I have since goat squatted to the point I am an expert. Nowadays, my dismounts rival those of five-time Olympic gold medalist and super-gymnast Nadia Comaneci. My leg toss\straddle move is the stuff of legends. I could teach advanced courses in the knee clamp\sit move at any Ivy League university that teaches goat-based courses.

I was feeling pretty good about my goat squatting – smug even – until the day I watched a documentary about an alligator farm. One of the workers was shown squatting on an eight foot alligator. He was holding the alligator’s mouth shut so it wouldn’t wheel around and remove various chunks of his anatomy.

The sight of that worker squatting on an alligator sort of put things in perspective for me. Boy, I thought. He must really hate to eat his own cooking.