Mind Over Miller: People say the darndest things
I recently took a tour of the Big Island of Hawaii that included lecturing at a veterinary symposium and visiting several huge cattle ranches. So here, thanks to my tour guides, is a collection of stupid questions asked by tourists in Hawaii:
"Is the manure real?""What do you do with so many cows?"
"Why are ranches so large?"
"What do you feed the cows?"
Response: "Grass? How can they live on grass?"
A lot of these questions compel me to believe that geography is simply not being taught in school any longer. A survey a few years ago of Texas high school seniors included the question "What country is south of Texas?" Half the students didn't know the answer.
On a veterinary tour of Kenya a few years ago, a 13-year-old barefoot Masai village boy asked a practitioner in our tour group where he was from.
"Washington," he answered.
"Ah," the boy said, "where President Bush lives."
"No," my colleague explained, "that's Washington, D.C. I'm from the state of Washington. Do you know where that is?"
"Yes," the native youth replied. "Between Oregon and the Canadian border."
This child spoke three languages: English, Swahili, and Masai, and his knowledge of geography surpassed that of most Americans his age. He was probably better in math, too.
Robert M. Miller, DVM, is an author and a cartoonist, speaker, and Veterinary Medicine Practitioner Advisory Board member from Thousand Oaks, Calif. His thoughts in "Mind Over Miller" are drawn from 32 years as a mixed-animal practitioner. Visit his Web site at http://www.robertmmiller.com/.