In the mid-1980s, despite pedagogical intentions, Coach Watson’s “Global Studies” course introduced me to The Far Side. We checked in on Gary Larson’s strange mind each day as we perused the newspaper for world events (and/or, read the sports page).
Although impossible to pick an all-time favorite, the cartoon featuring a courthouse broadcast where the reporter said something like, “Dramatic testimony against Mr. Pumpkineater was given today by his sister, Jeannie Jeannie Eatszucchini,” always makes me fall on the floor.
But today, for some reason, one of Larson’s anthropomorphic classics came to mind. Mr. and Mrs. Cow are in the living room, and Mr. Cow is in the easy chair with a beer in front of the television. Mrs. Cow is standing in front of the picture window, a fruit platter by her side, a string of pearls around her neck, and bracelets dangling from an arm holding a glass of wine. She looks over her shoulder and says to Mr. Cow, “Wendell…I’m not content.”
Hee-larious. The drawing itself, the absurdity of the scene, and maybe most especially something about a cow named Wendell is so outlandishly clever.
The disturbing part is when I identify with Mrs. Cow.
Once upon a time in a law school paper on Greed titled, “Enough Already,” I shared Dr. Stanley Hauerwas’s one-word definition of the deadly sin of greed—“more”—and juxtaposed that insatiable desire with the idea of “enough.” “More” vs. “Enough.” I’ll give you one guess which one characterizes my mind most often.
“Enough” is elusive, in part because death comes quickly if taken too far, i.e., life demands more air to breathe; more food to eat; more exercise to stay healthy; more money to pay bills; more goals to achieve; and so on and so forth, but the ability to be satisfied, in a given day or a given moment, is important for mental health if nothing else.
And when you are a cow with a glass of wine and a fruit platter, anything less is just ungrateful.