Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Bold and the Brayful: Passenger Safety Instructions

The Bold and the Brayful
A column by Fenway Bartholomule

Reprinted with permission from the Brayer

Carry-on luggage must be securely stowed 

When FarmWife talked to a former owner of mine from a few homes ago, she was told that I could carry 350 pounds (I probably weigh 800). The operative word here is could—not should. FarmWife is a rider who listens to her mount, and here's what I told her: I'll carry her and I'll carry her dog, but I'm done carrying half my own weight down the trail. New owner, new weight limits, new rules. Here are a few of my new, improved guidelines for safe muleback riding:

Passengers are allowed one checked bag (attached to the saddle, and generally containing a hoof pick, wire cutters, and a few first aid items) and one piece of carry-on luggage (in FarmWife's case, a dog-pouch worn about the torso). Pets must remain securely stowed until Captain Fenway turns off the "watch for traffic" sign. (Clover Chihuahua, this means no roaming until we're out of the public roadway). 

Before takeoff, Captain Fenway requires that passengers run down the following checklist: 

Hooves picked
Coat curried and brushed
Hoofboots secured
Saddle pad smoothed
Ears massaged
Saddle placed in a secure and upright position

In the event of turbulence, please keep your center of gravity low and stable over the center of the mule. Captain Fenway is not responsible for poorly balanced passengers. 

In the event of a sudden loss of altitude, please wear A) a helmet and B) boots with heels. A) because I don't have opposable thumbs with which to scrape your gray matter off the floor, and B) because I'm frightened of dragging things. (This has stood in the way of my conversion to a driving mule, actually—I certainly don't want to get stuck dragging you!)

In the event of a water landing, Captain Fenway's tail can be used as a towing device. To use it, free your feet from the stirrups and float backwards towards the rear of the mule. 

On this mount, there are four exit doors—one on each side of the saddle, one over the ears, and one over the crupper. Please take a moment to locate the exit nearest your left leg and use this exit whenever possible. 

This mount is equipped with radar for the detection of scary things. Please defer to Captain Fenway's judgement when passing lines on the pavement, looming garbage cans, and other treacherous items. 

At the end of your voyage, Captain Fenway will be searching passengers' pockets for carrots and other delectable items. Please be prepared to make a donation at this time.  

Ears to you, and thanks for riding with Captain Fenway! 

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