Thursday, March 31, 2011

How To Sheath A Horse: An Overview...

For many horse owners and trainers,
their animals take to sheathing quite
well. Success in this touchy endeavor
begins with the right attitude.
Earlier this afternoon, I was sitting at my desk working on a loan application for one of our customers.

     "Hey Abby, these people want to use this Home Equity loan to pay off some bills.  Under 'Loan Purpose', can I select 'Consolidate Debt', or...  do I have to choose 'Other'?"

Yesterday, I had put another Home Equity Loan on the system.  The customers had wanted the loan to pay for some home renovations.  When I had selected 'Home Improvements' in the drop-down menu under 'Loan Purpose', the loan system froze on my computer.

I haven't been very fond of our loan software for quite awhile.  At best, I suppose that it minimally gets the job done.  The best way to describe it is...  temperamental.  When filling out an online application, there's a laundry list of exceptions and glitches to keep in mind when switching back and forth between different screens or saving your progress.

For example, if you add information to one screen and then click to switch to another screen, you'll get a big pop-up that says...

You have unsaved changes.  Do you wish to continue?  Click Yes to continue without saving your changes.  Click No to return to the worksheet where you will need to save your changes and re-run the action.  Yes or No

If you do want to save your changes, you actually have to click 'No', and then click the icon on the top of the screen that looks like a diskette from an Apple IIe computer, from 1985...  because we all save our work on 4-inch floppy diskettes in 2011, right?  Seems fairly logical and intuitive.

But I have a better idea.  Wouldn't it be easier to have a pop-up that says...

Would you like to save changes before you continue?  Yes or No

Another one of my favorite 'mysteries' of the software is when I need to add a co-signer to an individual application.  When I'm finished, sometimes I'll find that the co-signer has mysteriously been added twice.

Of course, all I have to do in this case is remove the duplicate entry for the co-signer...  right?

Nope...  Instead, I actually have to start a new application all over again.

One or two mysteries might not seem like a big deal.  But when you add those two mysteries to sixty-seven other mysteries, it can get pretty annoying.

I actually think that our loan software is run and powered from central headquarters by a series of delicate pet hamsters running on hamster exercise wheels.  Whenever a mystery rears its ugly head, I just chalk it up to one of the hamsters falling off a wheel, passing out from exhaustion or dehydration.

The good news is that we're currently looking at new loan software.  The bad news is that this didn't help me with the debacle at hand.

After throwing a fit and asking Abby for help, she told me that I needed to choose 'Other' instead of 'Home Improvements', for the time being.  The current mystery was causing the loan application to bomb out, when 'Home Improvements' was selected for 'Loan Purpose'.  I couldn't actually change 'Home Improvements' to 'Other' in the current application.  Instead, I had to start from scratch and process the entire application all over again.

This didn't sit well with me, seeing that it would take at least four minutes for me to complete the application again.

Abby told me that I needed to stop being a diva.

I told Abby that the area around my cubicle needed to be tidied and vacuumed, and she needed to get on that.

Anyways, on today's Home Equity application, I wanted to be one hundred percent sure that I wouldn't piss off one of the hamsters.

     "Hey Abby," I called out again.  "Is it OK if I choose 'Consolidate Debt'?  ...  Abby?"

No response from Abby.  Instead, I heard giggling.  Turning around to look, I noticed Emily standing in Abby's cubicle, talking in barely a whisper.  After a few minutes, they both started giggling again.

     "Whatcha guys talkin' about?" I asked, never shy to butt into a conversation uninvited.

     "Nothing," said Abby.

     "Well, it must be something."  I leaned back in my chair and sipped my cold coffee.

     "Dave, you don't wanna know," said Emily.

     "I do now."

     "I was just telling Abby about sheathing Kirby this morning."

Sheathing...  What could that possibly be?  I knew that Emily had to clean her horse's dirty stall every day.  Maybe 'sheathing' was the scientific term for collecting and disposing all of the excess feces, spent hay, and additional equine detritus.

     "Sheathing...  Is that where you shovel out all of the dirty, poopy hay in Kirby's stall?"

     "No," replied Emily.  "That's called...  shoveling the dirty hay out of the stall."

     "Well, what is it, then?"

     "It's when I clean off Kirby's pecker."

     "You're...  kidding.  You actually have to clean off Kirby's junk?"

Emily laughed as she strolled over to my cubicle.  "He can't reach it himself."

     "What...  on earth... are you two talking about?" Lisa asked.

     "Emily is just telling us how she has to clean Kirby's member," I said, turning towards my supervisor.  "I didn't know you had to do that."

     "Oh, good grief," said Lisa, grasping her head between her hands.  "I knew I should have gone to lunch.  Just keep me out of it...  I need to call a customer about a wire transfer.  Caroline, can you do this auto loan application?"

     "Be happy to," said Caroline, taking the application that our supervisor had just printed.

     "That's actually pretty fascinating," I continued, taking another swig from my mug.  "How often do you have to do that...  like, once or twice a day?"

     "Oh no," said Emily.  "Just once or twice a year."

     "Why does a horse's schlong need to be cleaned?"

     "A horse's...  schlong...  can get pretty dirty."

Abby had gotten up from her desk and joined Emily behind me.  She had just opened a container of Greek yogurt and was mixing it around with some frozen blueberries.

A.  Where you find the bean.
B.  Inside the sheath area.
     "Couldn't you just pay somebody to take care of that?" she asked, gulping down a big spoonful.

     "That would cost me over a hundred and fifty bucks," said Emily.  "I actually didn't realize that I'd have to clean his ding-dong until after got him.  But then I downloaded a how-to video on the Internet.  After watching it, I said, 'Hey, I can do that!'"

     "The Internet, huh?"

I opened a new browser window, typed in 'how to clean horses sheath' in the blank Google field, and hit 'Enter'.  I started scanning the results.  The tenth entry down read 'How to clean your horses sheath: Sheath cleaning DVD for sale'.

     "Hey Emily, do you need to buy a DVD?  There's this horse-guy named Jeffrey R. Kelly who's selling one...  It says here...  that Jeffrey's been cleaning the sheaths of male horses for the past twenty-five years."

     "What?  No, I already know how to do it."

     "Jeffrey says that if your horse has a dirty sheath, you may also note an unpleasant odor around your horse's hindquarters...  um...  also...  the smell of a dirty sheath is very, very strong--"

     "Nasty!" Lisa exclaimed.  "Dave, can't you read that to yourself?"

     "Well I thought that everybody else might want to know what Emily does to Kirby several times a year."

     "So how exactly do you...  do it?" Abby piped up.

     "Oh, it's pretty easy," replied Emily.  "You just put on some rubber gloves and rub a special kind of cream all over his sheath.  The brand I use is called Excalibur.  After a few..."

I opened up another browser window and typed 'Excalibur Sheath Cleaner' in the Google field.  The first five results were all listings for various drug stores and tack shops.  Depending on the vendor, the price of a 16-oz bottle of Excalibur Sheath Cleaner ran anywhere from ten to twenty dollars.

     "...cream hardens.  Then, you just peel it off in layers.  All of the feces and other nasty stuff that's been caked on just comes right off real easily."

     "Hmmm...  just like dead skin from a suntan," said Abby.

     "That's exactly what it's like...  And when I'm finished, Kirby's pecker is as smooth and pink as a baby's backside."

That made me cringe.  When we were growing up, my parents, sister, and I would spend four to five hours on a Saturday working in the vegetable garden in the blazing sun...  no sunscreen, of course.  This was back when 'skin cancer' was just a phrase that was only seen in medical journals once every five years.

Several days later when our skin was peeling, Dad would always ask Mom to peel the large sheets of crisped skin off his shoulders.  There's nothing quite like spending a summer evening watching the Mets on TV, as Mom sits nearby, carefully ripping tortilla-sized sheets of crispy, dead skin off of shirtless Dad.

(Insert caption here...  No really.  Do it...  )

I switched back to the first Internet Window and started browsing the list of questions that Jeffrey R. Kelly covered in his Sheath-Cleaning DVD.  Number 1...  how to be calm and assertive around your horse...  Number 3...  Use of proper and adequate lubrication...  Number 8...  What about sedation?  ...  Number 14...  What is smegma?  Where is it located?  Number 19...  What is a bean?  ...  Where is the bean located?  ...  Why is it called a bean?  ...  How large can a bean or beans be?

     "Hey Emily, what's a bean?"

     "Look it up."

I typed 'horse sheath bean' in the Google search box and clicked on the first result.

     "A bean is a firm lump of smegma that has collected and hardened inside the horse's penis.  This lump or 'bean' must be removed as often as possible."  The next section explained how to get the horse's penis to extract.  "Hmmm...  gross."

Abby tossed her empty yogurt container into the waste bin under my desk.  "Does Kirby get nervous when you're handling him?"

     "Oh, no.  He's actually very low-key.  He's a very sociable animal.  As long as you--"

     "Ya know when my youngest son was a toddler he had the very same problem and I had to do the same thing for him at night," Susan interjected, rising up from her cubicle.  "On some nights the pain was so bad and I'd have to go in there with the cream and rub it all over and--"

     "Susan, we're actually talking about horses."

     "Oh, I know...  But I heard you guys talking about that and my son had the same problem when he was really little.  I know that Kirby's an older horse and all so maybe horses get more dental problems when they're older and when I heard you say that Kirby was teething it reminded me of when I used to have to take the cream into my son's room at night and rub it on his little--"

     "Susan," Abby interrupted.  "Emily was telling us about sheathing Kirby...  not teething Kirby."

     "Oh, she was?  WHOOPS!?" Susan exclaimed, as she began laughing hysterically.  "Oh, my goodness...  I could of sworn you said that Kirby was teething, and..."

The rest of us looked over at Lisa.  She had buried her head in her hands again.

     "...figured that most older horses probably had their teeth but...  Oh wow, so SHEATHING!  What's sheathing?  Probably has nothin' to do with teeth, huh."

     "Nothing at all," I said, as I pulled up the fully-labeled diagram of a horse's penis.  "Come on over and take a look at this picture.  Sheathing is when you--"

     "It's when there's so much spent hay and manure on the floor of the stall," Emily said, cutting me off, "that you need to apply a hardening cream to scrape it off.  Kirby's stall hadn't been sheathed in awhile, so I took care of it this morning."

     "Ha!  And I thought you were talking about Kirby's teeth this whole time," said Susan, sitting back down at her desk.  "Oh gee whiz.  Oh, I have to call this customer about his IRA..."

Abby shot me a dirty look on the way back to her desk.

     "What?"  I asked innocently, shrugging my shoulders.

I opened up a blank email and started typing a message to my friends from college.  The mere mention of horse penis was guaranteed to bring back fond memories.

During my freshman year at Rutgers, the three of us lived on the same floor with several girls from the equestrian team.  They were all really nice.  But they were a bit...  different.

     "Horse chicks," one of the guys on my floor used to say.  "You gotta watch out for those horse chicks...  They're weird, man."

Of course, if anybody knew anything about horse chicks, it was Randy.  Randy was the only one on our floor who actually dated a horse chick for an extended length of time.  When it came down to horse chicks, it was all about timing.  If you ever caught one of these girls alone, they were actually quite normal.

Two horses enjoy the peaceful morning
air, waiting patiently to be sheathed.
I remember one night when a bunch of us were invited to a party at one of the horse chick's apartments.  About an hour before the party started, I ran into Jamie outside the campus center.  Jamie was one of the four horse chicks who shared the apartment.  We had some time to kill, so we spent the hour before the party taking a walk around campus.

Jamie was extremely friendly, and she was really cute.  We had a really nice conversation.  I knew that she already had a boyfriend, but I figured that I'd try and make a good impression anyway, just in case she had some cute 'horse chick friends' who were single.  She seemed fairly normal to me.

Eventually we made our way back to her apartment where the festivities were just warming up.  I met up with several of my friends, and we started scoping everybody out, making plans to strategically circulate amongst all of the horse chicks.  However, before we could make any headway, a disturbing phenomenon started to unfold.  All of the horse chicks slowly gravitated towards one of the corners of the main room, their drinks in hand.  Once we got close enough to observe, we heard them enthusiastically discussing the enormous size of a horse's penis.

After listening to the exchange for a few minutes, it became clear that these were the largest penises that they had ever seen.  While all penises were certainly impressive to some extent, there was apparently no penis on God's green earth that could even hold a candle to a horse's penis.

We watched and listened in horror for the next three hours, as the horse penis talk carried on deep into the evening...  shape...  size...  width...  girth...  even hue.  Every twenty minutes or so, two of us would get up the nerve to sneak over to the 'horse-chick circle' and try to change the subject to something else...  like baseball, the weather...  Brad Pitt.  We were repeatedly shot down within minutes.

At one point, somebody actually suggested that we should try to enter the conversation by showing a genuine interest in horse penis.  It seemed like a good idea, and we were all getting pretty desperate to talk to a female.  But nobody wanted to take one for the team and be the first to express a genuine interest in enormous horse penis.  If the plan backfired and word got out that a gentleman was really into horse penis, then that unlucky gentleman's remaining time at Rutgers could potentially be destroyed.

For the rest of the evening, the guys stayed in one corner discussing football, while the horse chicks stayed in another corner discussing horse penis.  It was as segregated as an end-of-the-year junior high dance. 

Wait...  Hmmm...  That comparison doesn't really hold water anymore.  It's 2011.  We now have kids groping each other in elementary school and having babies at thirteen. 

For the remainder of the evening, the guys stayed in one corner discussing football, while the horse chicks stayed in another corner discussing horse penis.  It was as segregated as an end-of-the-year junior high dance...  in 1987.

Randy was right.  You gotta watch out for those horse chicks.  They're weird, man...

I can still picture Randy standing outside the entrance to Perry Dorm back in 1995, smoking a cigarette and warning us about horse chicks.

I finished up the email to my two Rutgers buddies and was about to hit 'Send' when...

     Hey, wait a minute.  This would make a really great blog entry.

     "Hey Emily, what's the name of the cream that you rub on Kirby's package?"

     "Excalibur...  Why do you want to know?  ...  You're not writing a blog entry about that, are you?"

I chuckled to myself as I began typing...

Earlier this afternoon, I was sitting at my cubicle working on an application for a Home Equity Loan.
     "Hey Abby, these people want to use the loan to pay off some bills.  For loan purpose, can I select 'Consolidate Debt', or do I have to choose 'Other'?"
The day before, I had put another Home Equity Loan on the system.  The customers had applied to pay for...

Cats clean their own sheaths.
They're kinda self-sufficient like that. 

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