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Museum Faces

Museum Faces

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Baxter Black

Baxter Black

I took a trip to the museum of natural history. It was a fascinating place — a taxidermist’s showcase. A dog heaven, what with all the prehistoric bones. But as I walked through the halls and stared at the infinite variety of creatures that stalked the earth, I began to feel uneasy. I started seeing familiar faces looking back at me.

There stood the reincarnated remains of Stegosaurus. He was 25 feet long, had a hump in his back, big spikes on his tail and a skull about the size of a Spanish goat. The description said he wandered from place to place, grumbling about the mud and slashing his tail at his enemies. He had one brain the size of a walnut in his head that controlled his mouth. He had another in his rear end that controlled his tail. It is unlikely that the two brains communicated much. Thus, one end never knew what the other was doing so that if his mouth wasn’t gettin’ him in trouble, the other end was. He looked like every feedlot cowboy I’ve ever known.

Back in the corner was Brother Walrus, weighing in at 700 pounds. I could picture him rounding the corner of the loading chute, sittin’ behind the wheel of his 2003 Lincoln. Or hooking his tusks out the window as he drove up and down the feedlot alley, figgerin’ out how to shave two cents off the price. All he needed was a cheap cigar to look like yer typical, everyday packin’ house buyer.

Rearing up before me, 17 feet tall, with a head the size of a front-end loader, was Tyrannosaurus rex. His huge mouth and armory of teeth reminded me of Carlsbad Caverns. Every creature gave him wide berth. His front paws were very small, good for very little except, possibly, counting money. He ate everything he could catch and showed no mercy. The fiercest carnivore that ever lived … yer friendly ag loan officer.

Then I came upon a pitiful sight. A Giant Sloth, mired in the Tar Pits. He was being attacked by two saber-toothed tigers (drug salesman), six hyenas (government bureaucrats), an alligator (the implement dealer), and a covey of buzzards (assorted veterinarians, consultants, county agents and commodity brokers). He was stuck in the tar. He couldn’t get out. Even if, by some miracle, he did manage to extricate himself from the tar, he’d still have to fight his way through the hungry predators. Strangely enough, it occurred to me that if the Giant Sloth finally went under, so would the predators. So it goes with the farmer and the rancher.

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