Doofus Delights: Pamplona and Calgary

Dear Virtual Editor:

As bad as things seem to be sometimes, one wonders if they would not be worse if the world had no recurring opportunities for the faux macho to act out—without their weapons. Two events serving that purpose this summer are the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona and the Calgary Stampede.

Doofus DelightsIn Pamplona, the nuts get to participate in a stampede that results in the unlucky ones being trampled, gored, and even occasionally killed. While I would not wish any of these mishaps upon any of them, I have to say that it gives me some satisfaction to see the bulls get a measure of payback for the bloody ritual executions to which their brothers are still subjected in parts of Spain. ( I have recently returned from Spain. In more enlightened areas like Catalonia, the bullfight is no more.) Go bulls!

PamplonaAnimals are not so fortunate in Calgary, especially in an event known as the Chuckwagon Race. There, too, a person is occasionally killed but the usual fatalities are horses. One so far this year. Six in 2010. (Another event this year resulted in a broken neck for a steer.) Unfortunately, there is no Running of the Stallions to even things up a bit.

You reported last week on some veteran chuckwagon race crews. I got the impression from the interview that there must be some sort of Chuckwagon Grand Prix circuit with races other than the famous one in Calgary. I follow sports pages pretty closely, however, and I have never been able to find the standings. How are the Calgary teamsters doing, anyway?

I want to be clear that I am not an animal rights person. We have enough trouble grasping the concept of human rights. Animals do not have rights. We have responsibilities. How we treat animals says a lot about who we are and what we value in many areas of life. I guess I am concerned about the bulls and the horses because animals are sort of in the same boat with kids and my group—old folks. No power. Just hoping at best to be appreciated and protected and at least not to be mistreated. As I said, I know it could be worse. But I still wish these doofi could find a better way to advertise their limitations. Giddyup!

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