Running with the bulls………
Who the hell does this?
This is just us talking, right? You and me, and possibly the sixty or so occasional followers who may, or may not, check in from time to time to see if my writing is still angst filled and dark, or if I’ve managed to kick it up a notch and inject some sunshine into my blog.
Running with the bulls. Where to even begin……
Let’s start with the history of this shindig, and then go from here, shall we?
Wikpedia defines running with the bulls as encierro, from the verb encerrar, to fence in, to lock/shut up, to pen)is a practice that involves running in front of a small group (typically a dozen) of bulls that have been let loose, on a course of a sectioned-off subset of a town’s streets. The most famous running of the bulls is that of the seven-day festival of Sanfermines in honour of Saint Fermin in Pamplona although they are held in towns and villages across Spain, Portugal, in some cities in Mexico, as well as other locations.
The origin of this event comes from the need to transport the bulls from the off-site corrals where they had spent the night, to the bullring where they would be killed in the evening. Youngsters would jump among them to show off their bravado. In Pamplona and other places, the six bulls in the event are still those that will feature in the afternoon bullfight of the same day.
Spanish tradition says the true origin of the run began in northeastern Spain during the early14th century. While transporting cattle in order to sell them at the market, men would try to speed the process by hurrying their cattle using tactics of fear and excitement. After years of this practice, the transportation and hurrying began to turn into a competition, as young adults would attempt to race in front of the bulls and make it safely to their pens without being overtaken. When the popularity of this practice increased and was noticed more and more by the expanding population of Spanish cities, a tradition was created and stands to this day.
So there you have it. When you combine animal cruelty with high levels of male testosterone, you get a new hybrid of crazy that defies all logic, and in particular, feminine logic.
Call me critical, but I recognize stupid when I see it. Why, why, why would anyone deliberately put themselves in serious peril where the odds are so clearly stacked against them? On one hand you have a lean, mean, bovine machine whose adrenalin level is over the top given the insanity of the situation. It is packing serious muscle and comes with a truly awesome set of horns capable of piercing, shredding, rending, impaling, and if the mood strikes it, disemboweling. On the other hand you have a welter weight humanoid, sporting a pair of fancy sneakers and little else.
Feel free to enlighten me if I missing something here.
Despite being more than a little mathematically challenged, I can effortlessly reduce this scenario to its lowest common denominator. The odds of escaping without serious bodily injury is not weighted in favor of Mr. Fancy Sneakers. Far too many things can go awry without even factoring in the crazed bulls.
For example, prior to the gate being pulled open, all parties concerned are anxious and revved up, namely, the bulls and the odd cow which have been unwittingly selected for this dumb-ass charade. The Fancy Sneakers have been stewing in a special blend of testosterone and adrenalin. It’s an insane social commentary on any strides we as humanoids may have made since Neanderthals went the way of the dinosaur. Or did they really?
Let’s say for the sake of argument that one of the Fancy Sneakers in his heightened state has neglected to adequately tighten his laces, thus managing to trip over his own two feet. Once he goes down, rest assured that the entire house of cards will come crashing down in short order, and mark my words, it will not be pretty. Memorable, but not pretty.
An anthropologist would probably argue that a re-ordering and re-structuring of society since industrialization did away with male rites of passage, which historically represented an important developmental milestone in both tribes and clan arrangements, with respect to young, virile, males. This is a stretch, but I’m trying to be objective here. Perhaps running with the bulls is a misguided attempt at filling this void.
Call me cynical , but I like to carefully calculate all the odds when it comes to taking risky ventures of my own. Yes, its entirely true that I once jumped out of a parachute on a dare, but the operative word here is not “dare” but “parachute”. Parachutes are designed to open and fill with glorious air.
And yes it’s true that I happened to land on the jump shack roof, roll onto the adjoining outhouse, and subsequently tumble ten feet or so to the ground. However when I was doing the math early on, according to my calculations, the dyad feature of both parachute and reserve chute acting in tandem was pretty much a guarantee that at least one of them would be in good working order if push ever came to shove. The fact that I couldn’t locate the toggles after I jumped, and thus was at the mercy of the wind is a moot point. Statistically, most people are going to land in one piece.
Putting yourself in front of a herd of mad cows driven to insane fright, and frothing at the mouth, the idea being to outrun them while dodging both hooves, and horns? I think not. Call me a nay-sayer, if you will. I’ve been called much worse.
Having given this activity careful consideration, I have come up with some heart felt advice for any individuals considering to engage in this non- olympic “sport”.
My advice is as follows:
Before you set out on this great adventure, be sure to get some practice time in. I whole heartedly recommend having your wife or girlfriend chase you down with the family car.
Of course in all fairness, she will not be allowed to exceed the average speed of a terrorized bull, or cow, even though she will be sorely tempted. In the event that you are unable to outrun her, she will proceed to drive over the top of you, thus accurately simulating your being run over by a 2700 pound bull.
Should you survive this, and manage to come out unscathed, by all means proceed to Spain.
Hasta la victoria siempre!!