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Thursday, November 15, 2007

THE VOICE OF THE INDEPENDENT FLOCKMASTER

It's been 15 years of wondering, and today I finally figured it out. And to think it all happened by accident. I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's back up a bit.

Back in the early 1990s, I was attending college in Utah. With the benefit of hindsight, I'm not quite sure why I was attending school in Utah, but I was. Each morning, I would walk up to campus and cut through the faculty parking lot. On the back of a Volvo was a red bumper sticker with white lettering that simply said "sheep!"

"Sheep!"?

What did this mean? Why was this guy so excited about sheep? Was he trying to warn us about sheep coming our way? If this parking lot was near the agricultural department, that would be one thing. But the school's livestock farm was several miles to the north, and this parking lot was near the health center and engineering building. So that's just... I don't know... odd.

Each morning I was confronted by this strange bumper sticker, and each morning I would contemplate its meeting.

Eventually I pointed it out to my roommates. They weren't at all helpful in trying to figure out what it meant, but soon we were all prone to shouting "sheep!" to each other for no real reason. (It really is a pretty fun word to shout. Try it.)

At this same time, my friends and I were editors of an underground newspaper called "Student Review." Each April, we'd put out a spoof issue of the campus paper. That year, we chose "sheep!" as our banner headline. Such was our fascination.

Fast forward 15 years. I'm looking at Deputy Dog (a blog I link to on my sidebar) and I find an article on "Five Strange Magazines." The first one is called "Miniature Donkey Talk." Then the second magazine is... wait for it...

SHEEP!

I could not have been more excited. It's a magazine. A magazine that declares itself "The Voice of the Independent Fockmaster." The most recent issue has an article on long wool and, "How Much Cider Vinegar To Add To Sheep Water Tanks."

This was huge news. I sent an IM to my friend Sam, one word: sheep! As you can imagine, he was very excited about the discovery.

Sheep! is now online, and they even have a store. One may purchase the curious red bumper sticker I saw all those years ago. But unfortunately, the sticker now has some extra words that would likely clear up the kind of confusion that I experienced for so many years.

They've got shirts, too, and that was the icing on the cake. In what I imagine will be a Christmastime tradition, Sam and I each bought sheep! shirts for each other.

That might not sound all that significant (although it does sound a little gay), but consider this: Sam and I are going head to head in fantasy basketball this week. We should be mortal enemies. Yet instead, we're exchanging gifts.

If two rivals in a pretend battle can become put aside their differences because of the sheep! shirt, what else is possible? Perhaps the sheep! shirt can be used as a tool of peace throughout the world.

I suggest an experiment. I'm going to sent President Bush a sheep! shirt, but enclose a note saying it's from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Then I'll sent Ahmadinejad a shirt, but claim it's from Bush.

It's hard to know if it will work, but don't be too surprised if you see a photo of Bush and Ahmadinejad shaking hands over a negotiating table while wearing matching sheep! shirts. (And if I had any photoshop skills at all I'd produce just such a photo right now.)

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6 Comments:

At 2:25 am, Anonymous deputydog said...

brilliant.
great story, i always knew sheep would somehow be instrumental in the quest for world peace.

 
At 7:29 am, Blogger imitate said...

I thought you were afraid of sheep. Didn't you have a run-in with sheep in Norway or something??? Perhaps in joining the sheep! revolution, you can, at last, become at peace with sheep.

Oh, and PS - I love NaBloPoMo. Something new to read every day! Yay!

 
At 9:53 am, Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

All of those references to loving sheep make me uncomfortable.

 
At 10:17 am, Blogger Overachiever said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10:18 am, Blogger Overachiever said...

A colleague introduced me to your blog a couple months ago and I just wanted to say I think this post is my favorite. Saving the world through sheep! shirts; I love it.

 
At 3:11 pm, Blogger Ogie said...

This sort of fits with your interest in the Faroe Islands (Sheep Islands)

 

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