Sunday, January 10, 2010

Defining The Muleness—Part II of a Series

Tolerance is an important but often misunderstood quality—it means forbearance, and charity in thought in action, but it does not mean being a pansy or backing down. It is essential in those who wish to possess The Muleness.

Tolerance is what allows a mule to live with ten pound goatlings asleep in his hay pile. It is what allows him to carry larval humans who have not learned that the "wahoo!" feeling that one gets while riding a mule does not require a happy dance, complete with kicking and waving. Tolerance is the quality that I call into play when the farmwife wants to make her very occasional inspection of my manly bits for the sake of hygiene. Unlike some less sensitive geldings, I cannot treat this ticklish invasion as a day at the spa, but the FarmWife understands my wrinkled nostril and defensively positioned rear leg, and my firm but polite, "I'd rather you didn't touch my willy for longer than necessary." She is all expedient business.

Some less Tolerant geldings, in the above scenario, might say, "I'd rather you didn't touch my . . . . KAPOW! There ya go. You might want to ice that." Not good thinking, especially when kicking the hand that feeds you results in a person who cannot move hay from the car to the shed, from the shed to the mule, and so forth.

Mules have a reputation for being kickers. This is a rural legend, but like most rumors it has roots in the truth. You see, mules have more power per square inch of hoof due to the wonderful concurrence of our Horse Mass, our Donkey Hooves, our Special Muscles, and our Hybrid Vigor. This brings me to my other point about Tolerance, which is that it is not synonymous with Pansyhood. When a mule has good reason to kick (Serial killer coming to take the baby? Kick worthy. Cougar trying to eat the vastly pregnant Empress of All the Light Touches and her fetal goatlings? Kick worthy*) then kick he shall. And boy lemme tell you, it's not gonna be something that ice alone can fix. 

The folks at, who must be wonderful if they, like me, have their own website, have this answer to the question "Do Mules Kick?"—"Of course, but with more discriminaltion than horses and with a lot more accuracy."

The world is not black and white, and not all visitors are kidnapping murderers. Not all carnivores are ravenous goat killers. This is why a mule must take a Tolerant stance until defense is proven necessary without a doubt, and this is why the dogs who have nipped my heels and the weirdos who have pet me over the fence are alive today. This is also, among other reasons, why the FarmWife loves me. Next time your terrier runs under my heels, you will have occasion to love me too.

Fenway Bartholomule

*While I have not personally intervened in a case such as the examples presented herein, I have no doubt that I could be fully effective in either scenario.

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