Since it will come up eventually, we may as well talk about the time that I was viciously attacked by a small herd of goats. This is one of my favorite stories, so pop some popcorn and settle in.
Setting the Stage
Five months into my ill-fated career as a paper saleswoman, I was working the McMinnville, Tennessee territory. Two things are notable about McMinnville: 1.) the abuse of methamphetamine is out of control and 2.) it is the nursery capital of the world. (For trees and plants, not babies.)
You should also know that, by this point in time, I had risen through the MLM ranks to become a “Team Leader.” As such, it was my responsibility to interview and train prospective and new employees. (This involved driving them around all day and illustrating for them my boundless enthusiasm for all things paper related.)
Finally, I had broken my hip the week before and had been sentenced to two months on crutches.
The Day before the Day It Happened
The day before the goat attack, I had the “privilege” of interviewing a potential new member of the team. This really only matters to the story because I had a witness. We were tooling around my territory while I chattered to keep the small talk going. (For the record, I approached these interviews like many hostages approach their captors – if I keep volunteering information about myself, hopefully they’ll develop an emotional attachment to me and not kill and dismember me.)
I kept up the buzzwords about how “we do things” – Tight to the right! Every door, every floor! See more doors, make more sales! – and made a right turn onto a road with a sign for a nursery. We plodded along the road for what seemed like forever. Eventually, the road turned to gravel and we started winding through some mountains. Finally, just as I was about to give up and turn around (Why would I want to be in an isolated area with a dude who I’ve already decided might murder me?), I found the entrance to the nursery.
We turned into the driveway and the interviewee exclaimed, “Wow. It looks like friggin’ Middle Earth back here!”
Indeed it did. The whole property was beautiful.
The “Middle Earth” thing was solidified when we met the gentleman in charge. He was very short with very curly hair. He also introduced me to his goat pen and told me to come back the next day “when Mother is here.”
True to my training, I drove back the next day. There was a light rain falling that left Middle Earth looking misty and serene. I got out of the car, hopped on my crutches and began hip hopping across the gravel. It was an arduous 50 foot journey. When I got to the office shack, I tried the door. It was locked. Greatly discouraged – although, no, that’s not true. I was relieved. I was always relieved with the decision maker was unavailable, it meant that I didn’t have to try and sell them anything – I began the trek back to my car.
The gravel was slippery, so it was slow going. I stopped to adjust my coat and contemplate the humor in the situation. That’s when I heard it.
The sinister bleating.
Looking to my left, I could see that the doors to the barn were slightly ajar. In an instant, the small herd of goats that I had met the day before were upon me. At first, I thought that they were perhaps friendly goats, excited to make my acquaintance. “Hullo goats,” I said – because what else are you supposed to say to a pack of goats? It became very clear that these goats did not want to be my friend.
They were out for blood.
I tried to ward them off with my crutches but that was difficult without falling over. During the onslaught, a goat managed to nose its way into my pocket and nab my paperwork. I did wrest a corner of the sheet away from him though, so that was an accomplishment. After a different goat took a bite out of my coat sleeve, I gave up on keeping them at bay and hightailed it back to my car. They followed me to the edge of the property.
When I got back to the office, my boss asked me not to “spread that story around” because “people might think that this is a normal occurrence.”