I had barely walked ten feet onto the fair grounds when I was approached by a man wearing a tan uniform and a suspiciously broad smile. “Well, hello there!,” he said, “You know what? We’re looking for some Junior Deputies and you look like just the kind of gal we need.”
“Why me?” I wondered. I just wanted to spend some quality time with my family at the County Fair that morning. I had never sought out a career in law enforcement, but I had also never been one to back down from a challenge. With a quick glance over my shoulder and a nod from my mother, my life took an unexpected turn.
It all happened so fast – stand in that line, go over there, sign your name here, pick up your badge by the pickle jar, smile for the camera. And there I was – a Junior Deputy. My brother had always been a man of science, and never really had the stomach for law enforcement, but my mother insisted he join me for my employee photo.
I was nervous, but all I could think of the entire time was how glad I was that I had put on my best strawberry outfit as I got ready for the fair. “Dress for success,” my father would always tell me, and he was right.
After I hopped off the chair and picked up my photo, I waited for further instructions from the Sheriff. What was my first assignment? Were the Tenuta boys running a gambling ring at the Pick-a-Duck station? Was someone filling the cream puffs with sawdust? Were shoddy gods-eyes being passed off as blue ribbon winners at the 4-H booth? Whatever it was, I was ready.
But instead of a case file, he handed me a First Community Bank lollipop, patted me on the head, and told me to enjoy the fair. As I walked out to meet my family, I looked around and saw dozens of other kids with deputy badges just like mine. I grabbed my mom’s hand and stared at the ground as we wandered out into the fair. It was all so disheartening… how could I enjoy the fair when I had just learned that my whole career was a sham?
So I went through the motions.
We went into the livestock area and I pet a baby goat. Then we went into the chicken area and I saw some chickens with fancy feathers. In the arts and crafts tent, some old lady had a bunch of watercolor paintings of barns. Then we were going to watch Robinson’s Racing Pigs but the next race wasn’t for another hour, so we got popcorn instead.
I was just about to ask my parents if we could go home, when we turned a corner and saw a huge crowd of people staring at some display. I squeezed in closer and my eyes opened wide as I saw the most amazingly disgusting thing I’d ever witnessed – it was a live cow that had some sort of observation window surgically implanted into its side, so when you looked in, you could see his organs. The cow was just casually eating straw and seemed oblivious to the portal installed in his body.
To this day, people have tried to tell me that it was the pressure of the job getting to me, that I made this up, or saw it in a movie and turned it into some kind of false implanted memory. But I know what I know, and I know what I saw.
And I saw a lot of things that day. I saw shrunken head apples with little wigs sewn on them, and cotton candy smeared kid faces, and horses with runny noses. I saw my dreams of winning a four-foot tall Sylvester the Cat get shattered when my ping-pong ball bounced off all the goldfish bowls and fell onto the ground. And I know without a shadow of a doubt that on the same day I became a Junior Deputy, I saw a live cow with a glass bubble in its stomach that let you see his organs. And no one can ever take that away from me.

23 Responses to “Deputized”

  1. Strode Says:

    I believe. I had heard of this mythical cow when I was a child. Alas, I never saw it.

  2. Dave2 Says:

    Does that outfit come in adult sizes? Because, seriously here, it looks absolutely fabulous on you! And that deputy badge? Girl knows how to accessorize, I tell you what! I think you’ve found what you’re going to wear to TequilaCon 2008.

  3. You can call me, 'Sir' Says:

    You missed your opportunity to exert your lawful influence on the scene by forcing your way in front of the cow and yelling, “Move along folks! Nothing to see here! Move along! It’s OK! I’m the law!”

  4. You can call me, 'Sir' Says:

    You missed your opportunity to exert your lawful influence on the scene by forcing your way in front of the cow and yelling, “Move along folks! Nothing to see here! Move along! It’s OK! I’m the law!”

  5. shari Says:

    It’s the curls. No way could anyone commit crime or even entertain criminal thoughts gazing upon those killer-cute curls. That’s why they deputized you — visible deterrent.

  6. Hilly Says:

    Don’t ever let anyone take away your magic cow, baby. Now seriously, that outfit and your curly do – adorable!

  7. churlita Says:

    It sounds like you and Barney Fife have a lot in common…Except seeing that whole glass bubble cow thing.

  8. jenny Says:

    strode: thank you! i swear i wasn’t dreaming!
    dave2: don’t i wish! i could totally get away with that outfit on casual fridays. and re: tequilacon, if only i knew someone talented enough to make deputy badges… ;)
    sir: that would’ve been awesome. what would’ve been even better is if i would have had to take the cow home with me as evidence.
    shari: yes, my curls are exactly like wonder woman’s lasso. you cannot tell a lie when you are under their power.
    hilly: thanks! and i won’t ever let go of the bubble cow memory.
    churlita: i like to think of myself more as a mini christine cagney, pre-lacey.

  9. Jennie! Says:

    This one time I spent the night at my aunt’s house and a bat swooped into my room while I was sleeping and it landed on my chest and no one ever believed me. So what I’m saying is, I believe you.

  10. Robin Says:

    I think your brother looks a wee bit jealous in that photo.

  11. AA Says:

    I once saw a cow with a portal too. I SWEAR! And I have never forgotten either. I was in high school and it was at a university vet school. It was just standing there eating as well. Now, you could not see into it, but it was definitely there.It had a cover over it. I was told the vet students could look in there and see everything and I guess touch it even. I am sure they could have put a clear cover on and sent it to the fair! Did you parents and brother see the cow? Can they vouch for you?

  12. Cheryl Says:

    Mental scars from the Cow Incident may explain the aforementioned Sometimes Rabbit And Pickles/Turkey Taco Incident.

  13. brandon Says:

    i had an awesome comment that would have cleared up all your life’s questions, but then i read jennie’s comment (LESSON LEARNT) and thought:
    1. this reminds me of the night i proposed.
    2. someone needs a rabies shot.
    make it happen, deputy.

  14. jen Says:

    they are real…you should know that it still happens to other innocents, such as yourself, to this day. fair go-ers, BEWARE!

  15. jenny Says:

    jennie!: if there were awards for comments, i would give one to you right now. i’m not sure it gets any better than that. :)
    robin: i know! he wouldn’t have made a good deputy anyway – look at those hippie pants!
    AA: i don’t think they remember it, but i still say it’s true. :)
    cheryl: county fairs made me who i am today.
    brandon: you know, i really miss the days when you would write about your romanian vampire wife. and yes, i had the same thought about rabies…
    jen: i need to start hitting the county fair circuit apparently! 50 county fairs in 50 days – that’s going to be my 2008 goal!

  16. roy Says:

    That picture…whenever my kid looked like that, I got real nervous, started moving stuff up on top of the refrigerator, using only slow, deliberate movements…

  17. Don Says:

    I saw a Holey Cow once too. It was on Picnic Day at UC Davis, an ag school in CA. On a dare, some folks were sticking their hands in the hole. Or maybe they talked about and in my feeble and inebriated state I transposed those dares into synthesized memory. No matter. It was real. Geez. Lots of strange things were real that day.

  18. Dustin Says:

    You know I believe in you, right? And that I’d never say anything I thought would hurt you.
    However…that cow thing is cra-cra.*
    *Pronounced “Cray-Cray”, definition: crazy, loony, batshit insane

  19. jenny Says:

    roy: what? what are you talking about? butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth, as my mother would always say.
    don: i have a lot of synthesized memories… sometimes i steal other people’s. like now, i’m probably going to tell people i’ve been to UC Davis.
    dustin: you’re too young to believe in a time when phones had cords and cows had glass stomachs. i wouldn’t expect you to understand.

  20. Tracy Lynn Says:

    Bubble cow? Dude.

  21. Roy Says:

    Sure you went to UC Davis. Don’t you remember? You me and Don used to get rip-roaring drunk and drive to Reno on Don’s motorcycle–yes, all three of us. You would sit on the handlebars and do your Janis Joplin–and get thrown in jail most Saturday nights. I remember it like it was yesterday, or perhaps the day before yesterday.
    Wait. I think I sat on the handlebars and did Janis, you were driving, Don was behind you telling you when to change lanes. Whatever. Like it was yesterday! Or, the day before.

  22. jenny Says:

    tracy lynn: i know. can you handle it?
    roy: god, those were good times. i used to love it when we would all make up new verses to Mercedes Benz. and i only drove when don was too drunk.

  23. Laurel Says:

    So you and Sheriff Dustin will be keeping the peace at TC08? I feel SO much better about attending now…

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