Advertise on the Tentacle


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Advertise on the Tentacle

March 27, 2005

High In A Mountain Meadow

Tom McLaughlin

The Hagerstown Herald Mail advertised a job as a goat tender in the Dry Run area. The position offered a part time income and a share of the profits.

My imagination wandered to the highlands of the Great Valley tending the bovines, hauling milk and watching a flock through half-open eyes as they nuzzled the grass.

Beside me the epic poem Gilgamesh lay open, and I contemplated parts of the long ancient verses and applied the words to my life and the lives of my friends wandering the slopes searching for food.

A staff stood against a tree and I used it, gently, to change the course of an errant friendly animal from the unknown wilds of suburbia. I, the great protector, a bliss to the motorized world, communed with the heavens and the earth and all Gods creatures ’til the end of my days. I walked at each sun set to a hut with only natural foods where sleep and more contemplation followed, and then the dawn of another day. I quickly fired up the computer to the web address after calling the Realtor to sell my house well below market value. I ordered robes made from organic buffalo that died after a long life in the hands of fellow animal lovers. They practiced the same mind set as I. The screen winked and blinked and I expected a serene setting with a Moses-like figure centering the monitor. A black ominous monitor with bubbles coming at me appeared. The words “synergetic computing company” followed by “providing security, design and network integration services” thrust themselves outward onto my unbelieving eyes and mind. What would a computer company want with a goat tender? I wondered.

Maybe it was one of those California liberal types who kept milk in the employee lounge and allowed the goats to wander the corporate grounds for ecological reasons, I hoped.

I dialed the number provided in the newspaper and an incomprehensible voice spouted what was definitely computer language braised my ear. No Indian music. No sitar. No soothing words of the great oracles (sorry about that) of days gone by. Comprehension, followed by disbelief and then tears overwhelmed my entire body. My animal friends, the staff, the hut and the green mountain slowly faded into a cloud of mist. In utter misery, I checked with a few computer geeks online and got the following response: 01100111 01101111 01100001 01110100 00100000 01101000 01100101 01110010 01100100 01100101 01110010. (Ask a computer friend to translate) I should have known better than to ask.

I Goggled and hoped to find the secret computer mystery of goat tender, but to no avail. I searched techno chat rooms and asked the computer people on line if “goat herder” had any meaning in the computer world.

After checking out a few of the suggested sex sites that scrolled by (no goats), there was stone silence. Every chat room dealing with computers were the same, no response. They were either laughing hysterically or keeping mum about a deep dark secret in the computer world. I would never know. I put my dreams back in my head and began to hum: “High on a hill was a lonely goatherd” Lee ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo Loud was the voice of the lonely goat herd Lee ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo”

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