The story of GoatWorld is really not so unique as it is downright funny. You could say that it kind of happened to become GoatWorld by a strange twist of fate. But that was oh so many years ago....in a place over the hills and far away.
So the best place to start is at the beginning - many years ago in the late 1960's as a young boy in Cucamonga, California (yes there really is such a place). That's where my initial involvement with goats began.
I owe my first experiences with goats to the neighbors we had; Marvin, Ruth, Duane and Corrine Haas. Of solid character and hardworking, the Haas's raised Nubian goats for dairy purposes. I don't remember exactly how many goats they had, but there was one in the herd that was destined to be my first goat.
I would soon be a member of 4H and proudly showing "my goat" to scrutinizing, stern faced judges. Perhaps these first goat shows gave me a sense of accomplishment and discipline. I like to think they did. But they were very good days indeed.
Quite often in the evenings I would head over to the Haas's and help milk several of their many goats. They were good times. Marvin, (Mr. Haas), patiently taught me how to correctly milk the occupied with eating grain doe, every now and then seeing one of the wild barn cats and giving them a spray of milk. Some memories never fade.
I should also mention as well that nearly every year, a guy brought a flock of sheep to graze the lush green pastures nearby our area. I had a strange fascination for this and would quite often go down and "help."
Now what's funny here is that the guy spoke very little English. He was actually a Spaniard from the Basque Region. Smoked those funny smelling clove cigarettes too, though I often find myself thinking back and knowing now that they probably weren't cloves. From my assistance, I learned a little bit about the basics of "herding" from an actual shepherd.
Sometime before 1970, my family decided to move away from the area and that would be my last involvement with goats for quite sometime. Until 1999 to be exact. But in all honesty, I never forgot those days for some reason. It was just unfortunate that we did not move to a place where we could have goats. I had to settle for a bunch of lousy goldfish.
Now the story takes a funny turn into the depths of human personality - mine. I've been called everything in the world except late for dinner but one thing many people will agree upon - I'm a pretty hilarious personality when I want to be.
Somewhere in the chain of events between 1970 and present, I developed a passion for "baahing" like a sheep or goat. Don't ask me why. I just did. It was more often than not interpreted by others as a sheep. Such phrases turned up in my workplace, "Hey Goatboy!" or "What's up Sheep Man?" I took them all in stride. We all had a good laugh and I'd always chlaked it up to just getting along with people and having a good day at work. A bit of laughter always seems to make the task at hand easier right?
And I'm sure that by now, everyone has heard every one of the goat and sheep jokes that are in abundance, especially among the guys, but there's one joke that stands out above all and has to be retold in a similar manner as it was told to me. After all, if you own goats or have a web site that has anything to do with them, you're going to get ribbed anyway.
- I used to deliver newspapers and one day I was pedaling my route on my bicycle when I happened to look over and see a guy in the field doing unmentionable things with a sheep. Totally shocked in disbelief, I pedaled fast and furiously to tell the farmer at the end of the road about it, a trail of undelivered newspapers left in my wake.-
I got to the house and there was a kid outside playing in a tire swing. "Kid! Kid!" I exclaimed excitedly. "There's a guy down in that field doing unmentionable things with a sheep." The kid just blinked his eyes a couple of times and told me, "Oh, thaaat's okaaay. Thaaat's just my daaad."
Never failed to get a laugh out of that one no matter the situation or company I was in. But after years of hearing it over and over in differing versions, I knew it was time for new material. I happened to take it a step further.
About a year after I had been married and my wife had heard the joke several times, I one day turned to her in a very serious manner and said, "Dear, there's something I'd like to confess." I know she thought it was something serious by the look on her face. That's when I told her, "You know that kid in the tire swing I told you about?" Cautiously and confused she said yes. I continued with a still serious tone, "I was the kid in the tire swing!"
It took her a second or two but then she knew she had married not only me, but a zany sense of humor like that.
But back to the original story behind GoatWorld - I worked at a medium sized company where everyone knew each other. The owner had a habit of hiring refugees from Cambodia, Vietnam, etc. Most of these employees were just barely learning English when they came to the company. I liked everyone I worked with, but there was a definite communication problem if I needed to converse with them.
Well, I didn't speak Cambodian very well so I resorted to "baaahing" like a goat at them every now and then - just in fun mind you. Not in a derogatory or disparaging way. Something must have clicked because a few of them started mimicking that and the next thing I knew, the whole darn company was "baahing" like a hungry herd of goats.
It only got worse. I'd pass someone in the hallway and we'd both give each other "the goat salutation" meaning hello or whatever we might think it meant. Someone would try to get my attention across the floor and they'd start "baahing" like a GID (Goat In Distress). They usually were in distress if they needed my help!
It went on and on and never waned. The funniest part was hearing those "Cambodian" Goats baah at you. They never pronounced the "B" leaving it as kind of an "aaaah" with a definite accent. Pretty soon everybody was baaahing at each other and I could just sit back and see the scene I had created.
Well, one Friday at work, a guy came up to me and said, "What you do this weekend Mr. Gary?" It only took me a second to reply, "I think I'm going to hang out up at Goat World." Perplexed, the guy asked me, "Where's Goat World." I gave him some big song and dance about the Goat World 96 Festival being held up in Baanf, Canada. I had no idea he would believe me.
Soon thereafter, Goat World became that fantasial place in one's mind - the perfect weekend getaway where no one could bother you, simply because it didn't really exist. But the stories that came out of that idea were some of the craziest I had ever heard (or made up myself). Some downright crass, most downright hilarious.
Even the women where I worked started baahing like goats. I got called into the bosses office one day, expecting to get chewed out. My boss was pretty decent though. Somewhere in the course of the conversation, he asked me, "So how's your dear old daaad?" I told him I didn't think it was funny. Actually it was pretty baaad. That's how far the joke went and never seemed to grow old.
So it's easy to see how one could get carried away with such a thing and have it eventually end up as a web site. But as I mentioned before, Goat World and Sheep World were often exchanged for each other. It just depended upon how the flock or herd at work felt on any given day.
A TRIBUTE TO THE LAMB
(Read more in the life of a wayfaring goatherder!)