This video from our trip to Oregon was previously used in another post (Is it much further, Papa Smurf?). It’s funny. I snort-laugh every time I watch it. But as I viewed the footage again this morning, I realized that The 3-Year Old Girl going Deliverance on a hapless farm animal is more than just humorous; it’s inspirational, as well. (Make sure your volume is turned up as you watch the clip, and if you can hum “Dueling Banjos” and “Chariots of Fire” simultaneously, it should set the mood perfectly.)
There are important lessons for all of humanity in Pip’s unrelenting quest to pick up (MAIM) a goat.
Lesson #1: Set a Goal
The goal: pick up a mini goat.
Maybe your goal is to lose a few pounds, hoping to squeeze back into those parachute pants that you rocked in 8th grade. Or maybe your goal is to get promoted at work, possibly even rise to CEO, from which position you will mindlessly and soullessly blow shareholders’ money on lavishly asinine perks, like a stuffed Pinta Island tortoise head that dispenses Ecstacy-laced Pez mounted just outside your $5.2 million executive bathroom.
Or maybe, just maybe, your goal is to write a blog about your incredibly average life with your wife and four children that will start out being only occasionally perused by your mom and a handful of other relatives. But you keep writin’, keep grindin’, keep on keepin’ on, Rocky theme playing on a continuous loop in your head, and slowly but surely your view stats reflect a couple hundred loyal followers per day, and you keep poundin’ the keyboard, keep rackin’ the thesaurus looking for the perfect word, keep shamelessly self-promotin’ on Facebook and Twitter, and then BOOM!!! You’re “Freshly Pressed.”
THE BLOG. FREAKING. BLOWS. UP. It practically goes viral! Tens of thousands of readers worldwide now, some of whom don’t even know English but just want to be able to say that they hit the “Like” button on your latest post as they sit and sip their morning mug of yak milk with their fellow herders. Oprah comes back for one more show just so she can have the personal satisfaction that you were the absolute last person ever to make a fool of yourself jumping on her couch.
And then websites and advertisers line up and start throwing money at you, serious money, the type of green that NFL teams fill dump trucks with and back up to the doorsteps of franchise quarterbacks. NBC runs a primetime special hosted by Dan Patrick, Blogcision 2010, during which you announce the website you will be taking your blogging talents to. Then you quit your day job, and you blog. That’s what you do. Just blog, baby.
But pretty soon, the pressure builds. The posts have to be funnier, wittier, more heartfelt, more grandma-friendly, less trivial, less offensive to people who live in Colorado. The fanatical denizens of the Blogosphere want more and more and more, until it reaches the point where nothing less than your soul, stripped, seasoned, sautéed, and served with a buttered Blogroll, will appease their insatiable appetite for more. You have to have the perfect post. Every. Time. And finally you snap.
We’re not talking sob-on-your-wife’s-shoulder-who-has-pretty-much-decided-that-your-a-narcissistic-a-hole-anyways snap.
We’re talking full-fledged-side-effects-may-include-donkeys-and-hookers-and-ungodly-amounts-of-alcohol-Tom-Hanks-Bachelor-Party-style-sleep-deprived-bloodshot-eyes-hallucinogenic-Map-from-Dora-the-Explorer-is-stalking-me-in-Wal-Mart snap.
Your family? Gone. The wife dashed like Usain Bolt after that whole donkeys and hookers thing, took the kids with her. Big money websites and advertisers? You kiddin’ me? They dropped you like a bad habit (donkeys and hookers is actually a pretty good example of one). Hell, you haven’t posted in a month, too busy looking behind the abandoned toy box for Map, just knowing that insanely repetitive little bastard is going to “Slip you a shiv, slip you a shiv, SLIP YOU A SHIV!” the moment you turn your back on him.
You hit rock bottom. And then you bounce up and hit a ledge. And then you richocet back to the bottom. Then the ledge again. Back and forth, the granite much springier than you would expect rock to be. You are the Wile E. Coyote of burnt-out bloggers. Super genius? Hardly.
But then it hits you. Not the ledge again. An enlightening, walk-out-of-the-darkness epiphany: you had it all when it was just you and your incredibly average life with your beautiful, loving wife and your four adorable-if-sometimes-maddening kids. A handful of devoted readers and your mom was enough.
So you start over. You drop to an unworthy knee and beg forgiveness of your wife with a sincerity she can’t dismiss. She flinches, and you have her back. You get the kids a dog, so they’re cool with it. And then you go in front of Congress and admit that you used blog-enhancing drugs, even though you didn’t, because the public and media always forgive the guy who does that. You’re back in their good graces. And then you start blogging again.
Pretty soon, VH1 features your rags-to-riches-to-rags story on Behind the Blog. Then a made-for-television movie detailing your life airs on Lifetime. Your kids are played by the Jonas Brothers and Dakota Fanning. Your wife is portrayed by Valerie Bertinelli because she always plays the wife in those movies. And Chuck Norris plays you, just because the guy is a Grade-A, upper echelon badass, which is in no way representative of you, but it’s your life story and that’s who you want. And the movie is a hit as far as made-for-television movies go. The websites and advertisers start to come back. And before long, you’re rolling in the dough again.
Woohoo! Bring on the donkeys and hookers!
So maybe that’s your goal. But if you’re The 3-Year Old Girl, you just really want to pick up a miniature goat.
Lesson #2: Find a Mentor
Experience is invaluable.
There is infinite value in seeking out the wisdom and expertise of someone who’s “been there, done that” to help you achieve your goals. For instance, your 6-Year Old Brother just might have a wealth of knowledge to share in the area of farm animal hefting. Tap into that. Follow his lead. If he suggests putting your arms out, by all means, put your arms out. He’s the expert.
Lesson #3: Stay Focused
Baby deer? C'mon! Get back in the game!
Don’t let yourself become distracted from your goal, or goat. If your 4-Year Old Brother spots a baby deer, who cares? Your dad has to honk the car horn to get the baby deer to move out of the driveway at home. Focus. And if you do get distracted, quickly lock back on. Remember, your relentless pursuit of a miniature goat will pay off in the end.
Lesson #4: Reassess and Re-establish
From time to time, you may need to stop and reassess your goal, and possibly even establish a new one. If the goat you’re after is the Gale Sayers of petting zoo herbivores, start chasing a less elusive one. If the goat of your dreams is outsmarting you, pursue a less intelligent one, like the one over in the corner reading Us Weekly. If the goat you’re after is too lively, look for a dead one.
Lesson #5: Overcome Obstacles
Obstacle? How about a slice of forearm shiver.
There are often roadblocks on the path to obtaining your goal: self-doubt, apathy, having to go to the bathroom really bad. But sometimes the roadblock is literally a larger goat. If need be, give that goat a forearm shiver; channel some Jack Tatum. Then go around it.
Lesson #6: Accept Help from Others
What's gonna work? TEAMWORK!
Collaboration and teamwork may be the missing element in reaching your goal. The Wonder Pets have been preaching this for years, and if anybody would know, it would be a turtle, a duckling, and a guinea pig. You may just need your 4-Year Old Brother to snake his arm into the deer pen, yank out a handful of grass, and distract the goat of your dreams with an enticing snack while you slink up behind it and put it in a sleeper hold.
Lesson #7: Cross the Finish Line
You did it! All you’d ever dreamed of since you saw a miniature goat for the first time in your life five minutes earlier was deadlifting one and carrying it around. So what if it is approximately the same size as you? And filthy? And smells like dusty fecal matter fired in a kiln? Congratulations. Tote your trophy around for a couple of seconds; celebrate your accomplishment. You deserve it.
Lesson #8: The Letdown
Maybe lifting a goat wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. He hurted your leg. Little bastard. Now go wash your hands.
Of course, the lesson for goats themselves is to run like hell if you see The 3-Year Old Girl coming your way. Believe me, she’s going to go Randy Couture on your ass.
Dream big, people. Go out and get your goat.