It was years ago, well into my time in my first job. I had been to this blokes dairy farm quite a few times, and he was a funny bugger. Not funny ha ha. Just funny – difficult to talk to, hard to find a connection. It was always an uphill battle to have a conversation…
“G’day,” I said. “How’s the dairy treating you?”
“How’s the weather going?”
He flicked his head towards the cows and walked off. “I’ll be buggered,” I thought. “I’ve been around people on the land all my life, and I’ve never, ever, ever had a one word response to a question about the weather…”
“So what have we got today then?” I asked.
“Coupla sick cows,” he replied.
“Ok – what’s up with them, exactly?” I asked.
“Just not right.” He said.
“Ok then”, I thought to myself – “I’ll examine them, and see if they tell me any more than he does. They don’t talk, I know that, but I wonder if they’ll be better conversationalists.” So I checked them over- bit of a temp, didn’t look to be brimming with health, but nothing really obvious. His cows were as bad as him. They weren’t telling me anything much either. I couldn’t not treat them, or he’d be very put out, get onto the boss, and I’d be in trouble.
“They’re a bit off colour, might have an infection,” I told him. “I’ll give them a shot of antibiotics.You’ll have to withhold their milk for 2 weeks.”
“Right,” he grunted.
I went back to my truck, drew up 20 ml of antibiotic for each cow, and went back into the yard. He was standing, head down, taking no notice of me at all. I went over to the first cow, and thumped her briskly twice before banging the needle in, drawing back to check I wasn’t in a vein, then squeezing the fluid into her muscle. Then the second one.
I saw that the spot on the first cow where I gave the injection was bleeding a bit, so I thought I would go over and give it a rub. I walked over, and WHACK!!! The old bugger kicked me hard, right on the outside of my knee. I staggered about, cursing, rubbing the spot. I limped over to the fence and took a deep breath, bent my knee to see if it still worked, and looked up at the sky. The dairyman hadn’t even moved.
“She does that.” He said. Deadpan, not even the hint of a smile.
I bit back a few choice words, and limped off to my truck. I limped on that leg for 2 months. Every day It made me wonder why he didn’t tell me to watch out for the cow, because he knew she kicked.
People are strange…