I don't wish to be alarmist, but the recent spread of horrific cattle diseases from England to mainland Europe to the United States raises a whole barn-load of disturbing questions.
Will hoof-and-mouth spread to Canada next? Will it come to Alberta? Will we have to cull the massive herds that dot our foothills? Do burning cows smell bad? Where will we dispose of the carcasses? Can we we still eat them if we cook the diseased beef long enough?
If we can't eat beef, then... what's for dinner? What's this "chicken" I've been hearing so much about lately? Does it taste like beef? Can you make steaks out of chicken? Is chicken as healthy for me as beef; as full of rich proteins and vitamins?
Wait, wait... without beef, what happens to Alberta? What are we? If there's no cattle industry, what happens to our economy? Can we eat oil? Hey, will tourists still flock to our city? Will Calgary disappear from the maps? Can we still call ourselves "cowtown?"
Will there be no more Western culture? Will we lose all ties to our glorious past? Can we still give visiting dignitaries white cowboy hats? What will happen to all the bovine-themed souvenir shops on Stephen Avenue Mall? Does the death of all our cows make "Udderly Art" a wasted gesture?
Oh God--will Cowboys be forced to shut its doors? Where will I drink? Where will waitresses get free breast implants? With Cowboys shut down, will women even need breast implants? What will I do with my 10-gallon hat, boots and rhinestone bolo tie? Can I still wear chaps to the opera? Will my Ford Excursion still need a cattleguard?
Worst of all, can the City of Calgary hold Stampede if there are no cows? Will people attend a rodeo that only features barrel racing? Will they have to cancel the greatest outdoor show on earth? Where will I get corn dogs and those delectable little donuts? Where will the Dixie Chicks play? What about 54-40? Who will employ all those dirty carnies? And just what will I do with two extra weeks of summer and hundreds of extra dollars?
Is this the apocalypse? Is this the end of all of us? Without beef, do any of us really have a reason to live?
Oh God, please don't let hoof and mouth spread to Alberta.