When I was slightly less, ah, early middle-aged and a tad more nimble I found myself running with the bulls in Pamplona — and I mean with them, after my little game of chicken made outrunning them not an option. And I made the run not once, but twice. “Twice” can only be explained by the excitement unmatched before or since, partially captured in a photo run in John McCaslin’s Washington Times column “Inside the Beltway,” over the caption “Chris Horner pushes a smaller Spaniard into a bull.”
That unfortunate gentleman was one of the few Spaniards running, so far as I could tell, with the crowd of mostly Americans and Australians. And, early morning or not, the Aussies already had their beer on, in a big way. But, it wasn’t morning for them. Their evening was just hitting its stride. Despite a few ne’er-do-wells pouring beer on the cobblestones to encourage human and bovine slippage near the turn at “Hamburger Wall,” the episodes led me to develop a strange, lingering respect for their breed.
Having entered the Plaza de Toros after a fantastic Darwinian struggle into and through the tunnel, I decided that getting out anon was in my best interest, having seen too much bull up much too close. Every lunge over the fence was met with a parry from one overserved Aussie or another, tossing me back in with a “down’t warry!” A few jumps later I decided to slug the nearest beefy, sweaty obstacle, prompting a cacophony of approving clucks and several paws extracting me from the ring. And we were all friends forever after that. Or at least until the Caballo Blanco up the hill ran out of lager and we all retired to our own quarters.
All of which is preamble to noting that our friends from Down Under have formed the world’s first political party dedicated to fighting the catastrophic man-made global warming agenda. Good on you, matey! I knew I liked you guys.
By the way, the vistas of Pamplona are scarred with windmills lining the surrounding mountain range.