Screaming Goats and My Parents

goatYou know, I’m just like everyone else in the world. I’m just like you, really. I go through life trying to be the best person I can be. I have my ups and downs. I look in the mirror some mornings and I like who I see staring back. Other mornings not so much. I struggle to find that perfect balance some days. I just have to come to terms with my shortcomings, my weaknesses; I find nothing funny about screaming goats.


“Hi John.”

“Hi mom. How are you?”

“I’m good. Have you ever seen the video of the screaming goats?”

“What? What the hell is that?”

“Oh Jesus. We watched this video of goats screaming like people last night at your Uncle Donnie’s house. We haven’t laughed like that in I don’t know how long. I had tears running down my cheeks.”

“Why were the goats screaming?”

“I don’t know. They just were. It was so damn funny. You have to watch it with the kids. They’ll laugh their asses off.”

“Okay. I’ll check it out later.”

“What are you doing now?”

“I’m dusting the ceiling fan.”

“Well make sure you watch it. It’s hillarious.”


Two hours later…

“Hi mom.”

“Did you watch it?”

“No I haven’t had a chance. I just now sat down.”

“Well watch it. You need to see it. You’ll think it’s funny as shit.”

“Mom, I just don’t feel like watching screaming goats today. I promise I’ll watch it and let you know what I thought of it.”

“I’m telling you it’s funny as hell. The kids will get a kick out of it.”

“I’m sure they will. I’ll let yo know when I watch.”

“Well okay. Just makes sure you watch it.”


My oldest daughter looks at me kinda funny after I hang up and says “Did grandma want you to watch a video with screaming goats on it?”


“I watched that a couple months ago. I think some of it was fake.”

“Of course it was fake. And even if it wasn’t, it’s screaming goats.”

My wife had her iPhone in her hand and looked up this video of the screaming goats. I didn’t watch it, but I heard it. That was enough. My wife proceeded to laugh quite a bit. Not because the goats were amusing her, but because she was half crazy from being in the house all day. I just sat there, my wife shaking from laughing at these bizarre videos of goats screaming much like humans scream when frightened by something. I thought to myself “Is there something wrong with me? Shouldn’t I be laughing, too?”

Well should I have been? I have this strange feeling that even my 9 year old son would’ve started blankly at this disturbing spectacle with over a million views on Youtube. I just don’t get it. What’s so damn funny about screaming goats? I have a sense of humor after all. Why is this so damn funny to my parents but it does nothing for me? Maybe it’s diverging tastes between son and parents. Most of the movies I recommend to them they find to “artsy” anymore. I’m not throwing Godard, Truffaut, and Bergman at them. Looper was too complex for them for God’s sake. I can remember being in my early 20s and my wife and I going to see Mighty Aphrodite and 12 Monkeys with my parents. They liked good stuff at one point. Now it just seems that they prefer plain old “entertainment”. Popcorn filler. Shoot-em-ups and comedies. NCIS.

Screaming goats.

Will this happen to me as well? Will I get tired of having to wade through artistically rich and sometimes even difficult films, music, and books? Will I eventually give up on complex but inevitably enriching narratives and story arcs for human-like yelps coming from farm animals? Is that my ultimate fate? Maybe I should prepare myself now then. Singing cows? Dancing pigs? Cigarette-smoking chimps? Yeah, I think I could probably laugh at cigarette-wielding chimpanzees. Hell, I’m chucking at the thought of that right now. I mean, I’m not ragging on my parents for liking their entertainment to be easily enjoyed. A million viewers can’t be wrong, right? They did influence me to like the things I like now. If it weren’t for them renting movies like Das Boot, Taxi Driver, Witness, Miller’s Crossing, and The Godfather Part II when I was growing up I wouldn’t have known what “great” movies look like nowadays. And the music I heard growing up, well, that could take up another post completely. Needless to say between the movies, music, and books I was exposed to growing up by my mom and dad I’m the well-rounded individual I am today. If they want to watch a screaming goat who am I to judge? I can only hope I’m influencing my kids in the same way my parents influenced me. And in 25 years when I’m calling one of my kids on the phone and telling them about this hilarious video with chimps smoking cigars, wearing boater hats and bright red blazers I hope they will understand. I hope they’ll at least give that video a shot, or at the very least remember at one time when they were little I used to like things other than primates with nicotine addictions.


monkey smoking

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