In the 1960’s, there was a TV series about a talking horse called, “Mr. Ed”. I once heard someone wax nostalgically about how, “They just don’t make TV shows like Mr. Ed anymore”, to which I responded, in my vain attempt at humor, “Oh, they still make them. Haven’t you been watching the news lately?” But on the other hand, those people are jackasses, not horses!
The following are a few comparisons and contrasts which I’ve observed over the last year or two.
1. Horses sometimes participate in “races”. I once saw an episode of “Gunsmoke”, in which, Festus raced his jackass, “Ruth”, against a quarter horse and won!
2. Both horses and “jackasses”’ tend to leave HUGE dumps of crap for someone else to clean up.
3. Both Francis and Mr. Ed were made to APPEAR to talk, by someone tying fishing line to the insides of their mouths and tugging, “on cue”, to make their lips flap; just like the special interests groups and “super pacs” tug invisible wires to make these “jackasses” lips flap. (Note: Mr. Ed, eventually, learned to flap his own lips. I have yet to see any of these “jackasses” master that trick.)
4. A guy named, “Chill Wills”, was the voice of Francis and Mr. Ed was voiced by “cowboy star”, Alan “Rocky” Lane, unless he was singing; which in that case, Jay Livingston did the honors (Jay Livingston also wrote the catchy theme song for “Mr. Ed”). What about the “jackasses”? Well their lips are flapping true enough, but somebody else’s words are coming out.
5. Here is a BIG difference that I’ve noted: When we say something is, “Straight from the horse’s mouth”, it usually means that the info is from a reliable source and presumed to be valid; unfortunately, that’s not the case with the “jackasses”.
Here’s a funny story that I heard once: A man was driving through west Texas one evening. The road was deserted and he had not seen a soul for hours. Suddenly, his car started to sputter and the engine died, leaving him sitting by the side of the road, in the waning orange light, of the Texas sunset. He popped the hood in anxious desperation. As he stood looking at the gradually fading light of his flashlight, he cursed that he had not put in new batteries.
Suddenly, through the inky shadows, came a deep voice: “It’s your fuel pump.” “Who said that?” the man called out. There were two horses, a palomino and a sorrel, standing in the fenced field alongside the road. The man was amazed when the palomino repeated, “It’s your fuel pump. Tap it with your flashlight and try it again.” Confused, the man tapped the fuel pump with his flash light, turned the key and sure enough, the engine roared to life. He muttered a short thanks to the horse and screeched away.
When he reached the next town, he ran into the local bar. “Gimme a large whiskey, please!” he said. A rancher sitting at the bar looked at the man’s ashen face and asked, “What’s wrong, man? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” “It’s unbelievable,” the man said and recalled the whole tale to the rancher.
The rancher took a sip of his beer and stared thoughtfully at his glass. “A horse, you say? Was it by any chance a palomino horse?” “Yes, it was!” the man said, finally happy someone understood. “Am I crazy?” “No, you ain’t crazy. In fact, you’re lucky,” said the rancher, “because that sorrel horse don’t know nothin’ about cars.”
In the words of the theme song from the Mr. Ed show; “A horse is a horse, of course, of course…” unless he’s a jackass; now that’s a “horse of a DIFFERENT color”!