I believe, most of my life I have been a professional "poo" checker. Not a Winnie the
Pooh checker, but the earthier poo checker. It started when I was small and had sisters
and a brother that needed their diapers changed. I was quite young, possibly two or
three... okay, I was older but Iím not going to admit it, and mom needed help with all
the children. Iím sure my brother and sisters always appreciated my help in changing
their diapers. Now a days, when people go to psychiatrists and complain about their
mothers, Iím sure, with my siblings, the blame of a confusing life would be laid to rest
at the door of a sister who thought she could diaper anything.
Back then women were women. They used cloth diapers on their babies that they had
to clean and wash themselves. None of this Pamper stuff, even Pamper wipes. That
name gives you a clue right there. Women werenít pampered back then and neither
were their children, by gosh.
Real women had to be able to undiaper a baby, carry the soggy stinking mess (the
diaper not the baby), dump its load, put it in a pail to soak the stains out, and then beat
it on a rock in the backyard (to kill anything that had started growing there), and wash it
in the stream. Okay, mom had a washing machine. I think she might have started
getting a little soft by the time the fourth child showed up. I once asked her how it felt
to be a real woman back then. All she said was she wished she had Pampers.
The easiest part of the diapering business, was to put the clean diaper back on. You
folded the cloth diaper just so and then laid the squirmy, kicky baby on it. Then you
picked up two lethal weapons (Iím sure this is where Kung Fu fighters first learned how
to handle their knives and swords) called safe diaper pins. They had this special head to
them so they couldnít accidentally come undone and pin the baby to the bed. But, to
put these deadly weapons in the diaper, you had to learn to ignore pain and always have
your hand between the squirming, fighting baby and the diaper pins. This is why I have
such a high threshold of pain now. When doctors ask if I need anesthesia for surgery, I
laugh at their joke.
This early raising to observe poo and then figure out what to do with it lead me to my
next career. I was going to be a horse trainer. Strangely enough, every professional
stable I worked at, the head trainer firmly believed that the makings of a real trainer
were to clean up horse poo. To reach that higher level of being a horse trainer, one had
to clean at least a zillion stalls, snatching quick peeks of the trainer riding by on a horse.
Thus, you learned to be a horse trainer.
You were also expected to be able to use every barn utensil available and learn to
skillfully remove the horse poo. If you were given a shoe, you would quickly learn how
to clean that stall with a shoe, a sign of a true up and coming professional. You had to
remember, poo was your life. Trust me, you felt like it.
Then, on top of that, not only did you have to know how to get rid of the manure; you
had to be able to "read" the poo. Iíll never forget the one trainer who came into the stall
that a few of us future professional horse trainers were in, to teach us about horse poo.
He scooped up some horse poo with his hand. Of course we knew how to remove
horse poo with only a shoe available, but this was a whole new level of horse training.
And, Iím sure all of us had the same thought, "I hope he remembers to wash his hands
before he eats."
He started breaking the poo apart with his bare hands. "Look at this!" he complained.
Whatever it was, we all said we didnít do it.
"No, no. Look how dry this poo is. And, look here, she hasnít chewed up all her oats.
It came out whole. Weíll have to get her teeth floated (rasp the sharp points off the
teeth with a rusty file, much like what your dentist does) when the vet comes around.
Smell this! Itís all wrong!" He shoved a handful of horse poo under our noses. Weíd
always hoped to keep it at armsí length, but saw now that wasnít going to happen.
"Sheís not drinking enough water, sheís definitely not chewing her feed right, and sheís
got the wrong smell to her poo. This mare is going to colic on us if we donít do
something soon." We all made a mental note to start running our fingers through the
poo, sniffing it closely, and be that much closer to being a professional horse trainer.
One of these days we would even learn to ride.
Since that memorial day, I have been a professional poo checker, no matter what
animal I own. I find myself walking behind the goats, following them around and
observing them pooing. Was that black poo coming out of her? Does that mean that she
has a heavy worm load and is bleeding internally? I notice her shiny coat, fat little body,
and the way she bucks and plays most the time. Nope, must be something she ate.
A big pudding pile drops behind the next doe. What?! Either something she ate, or
worms! I make a note to worm her. Anotherís poo berries comes out clumped like
grapes. Hmmm, if she were bred Iíd start wondering about ketosis or, possibly, worms!
Another one gets on the worm list. I go kicking through the goat berries looking for
signs of possible tapeworms. I get after my dog for eating a potentially interesting poo
I leave the goat pasture and go to the hay field. I notice poo lying there. Wow. This one
has real problems and I start dissecting it. Thatís when I realize its deer poo. I dust my
hands. Not my worry that.
I notice anymore I donít walk with my head up, looking forwards, walking smartly. I
walk mainly with my head down, a slow shuffle, and a look of concentration on my
face. But, after all, I am a professional poo checker.