I guess you could say I’m a bit of a late bloomer. My first goat head didn’t happen until I was 22. Despite waiting for it for so long, I just felt this intuitive knowingness reign over me and guide me through it. It evoked so many indecipherable feelings within me. It was truly one of the most amazing moments in my Adult Personal Life.
The snow had melted, the trees were still dendrite-like and barren, and summer’s song played mystically along the horizon. I went to the local market and the butcher sold me the goat head for a dollar. A DOLLAR! You can’t even buy a pack of gum for a dollar, and yet this intricate, emotionless animal face might as well have been free. Elated already by its severe underpricing, I took the goat head home in a plastic bag, noting it weighed startlingly more than I’d predicted.
Outside in the grass of my mother and father’s estate, I laid the goat’s head down on a delicate bed of newspapers. For a while, I just remember looking at it. It was finally our time. I couldn’t believe it.
The pale eyes mirrored my focus like hypnotism, pulling me in deeper and deeper. Its bottom jaw bared endearingly funny jagged teeth, while a droopy, flamboyant tongue slopped out of a hole where it once kept still. I slowly grazed the goat’s cheekbones with a box-cutter, nervous and giddy, still perhaps expecting it to become animated with life again. Gently, I began chiseling away some muscle. Why don’t people eat this part? I wondered, as a foreigner to the practice.
Eventually deciding it was pointless to clean the skull, I took out an axe and started hacking away at its hard palate instead. The goal was to split the goat’s face into two symmetrical pieces and give birth to the delicate brain which slept inside.
The hard palate broke into long, soft boney pieces. It reminded me of a hard wood floor? Unfortunately however, I did penetrate the brain and white matter started spewing out of the cracks, no longer holding its precious shape.
I scooped the brains out of the skull-bowl. I was amazed to see the folds and veins, some splitting open, turning white matter pink. Its texture was like pudding, or jelly, or tapioca. While this was originally what I’d been so interested in discovering, I was now suddenly drawn to the goat’s perfect eyes.
I grabbed the box-cutter again and started poking around the spheres, feeling like my own eyes were also at risk of being stabbed. The eyes were kept in place by stringy rectus muscles. I pulled at them insanely, like a child opening presents. For some reason, the eyes in particular horrified me with delight. The white jelly was tough and heavy. The iris showed a brilliant array of incandescent color. The pupils spilled open like black ink and stained everything. I couldn’t stop squealing and repeating, “Oh my god, oh my god.”
If that wasn’t enough, beyond the puddle of disjointed grizzle and eye fluid, there remained a tiny transparent sphere. Sunlight reflected through it, and on its surface, majestically. I was in total awe. No one has ever mentioned this sphere to me before- not in my whole life. (I’ve been cheated!)
I looked around at the scene of carnage and felt a sense of displacement. What is my purpose in life? Who am I? Self-reflection? I picked up the pieces of the now unrecognizable goat and said an internal prayer of gratitude to the universe, humbled by its beautiful complexity. Then finally, after feeling my blood pressure assimilate back to its normal pace, I knew NOTHING WAS THE SAME.