I just received an e-mail in Spanish from a friend. It was titled ” La Culpa es de la Vaca,” (It’s the cow’s fault), and started as follows:
COMUNISMO: Tienes 2 vacas. El estado te quita las dos y te regala un poco de la leche.
(COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both of them and gives you a little bit of milk)
And so it went on with Socialism, Fascism, Capitalism, etc., etc.
Some of them were quite original—I thought—and funny and I immediately started translating them to share them with our TMV readers.
Halfway through the translation, however, something prompted me to “Google” to see if perhaps there was a version already in English.
And lo and behold, there were 340,000 entries/versions under “you have two cow jokes,” with entire web sites dedicated to them and entries dating back to early days of the internet.
As a matter of fact, a web site tells us that “You have two cows” jokes originated as a parody of typical ” Economics 101″ examples, meant to show the limitations of economic systems and to point out flaws and absurdities in those systems.
The jokes evolved into satire with virtually anything becoming candidates to be used as “cow joke fodder” and are examples of the first Internet jokes with the initial “variants of these jokes predating the Internet and were circulating in typewritten form even by the early 1980s.
According to the site, being such a readily understood source of humor in many cultures, “two cows” jokes became a part of the international development of the World Wide Web and were translated and quoted on many websites, in dozens of versions, with newer “definitions” added every year.
As I mentioned, there are numerous sites with dozens, hundreds, of such jokes. One such site is TheCapitol.Net, which has a delightful collection of them.
The site says that the jokes are collected from various sources and do not represent the opinions of TheCapitol.Net.
Economicexpert.com tells us that, because of their freedom and universality of topics, “two cows” jokes are considered a good example of “cross-cultural humor.”
It is in that spirit (The jokes do not represent the opinion of TMV, and they are presented as examples of cross-cultural humor), that I have selected a representative number for your enjoyment.
For the entire collection please click here. (The ones preceded by an asterisk (*), are my translations of the ones I received in the e-mail)
ANARCHISM: You have two cows. You steal your neighbor’s bull and ignore the government.
ARISTOCRATISM: You have two cows. You sell both and buy one really big cow – with a pedigree.
*BRITISH: You have two cows. Both are mad cows.
BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.
CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
COMMUNISM — CUBAN: You no longer have any cows. They sailed to Miami. You still have no milk – but you do have Fidel.
COMMUNISM — “PURE”: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.
COMMUNISM — SOVIET: You have two cows. You count them and realize you have four cows. You drink more Vodka. You count the cows again and realize you have eleventy six cows. You drink even more Vodka. After a while, you realize that eleventy isn’t a real number. You count the cows again and have two cows. You open another bottle of Vodka and try to drown the loss of eleventy four cows.
DARWINISM: You have two cows. They develop opposable thumbs and milk you.
DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. They outvote you 2-1 to ban all meat and dairy products. You go bankrupt.
DEMOCRACY — REPRESENTATIVE: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.
EUROPEAN UNIONISM: You have two cows. The EU develops a quota system that “limits the gas emissions from flatulent cows.” You sell your carbon allotment, not the milk.
FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.
IDEALISM: You have two cows. You get married and your partner milks them.
INDUSTRIALISM: You have two cows. You dissect them both and figure out how to build a milk-factory instead.
INNOVATIONISM: You have two cows. You patent “cow” and claim license fees from all the milk of the world.
LIBERALISM: You have two cows. You sell both to the rich. The government then taxes the rich one cow and gives it to the poor.
LIBERTARIANISM: Go away. What I do with my cows is none of your business.
PACIFISM: You have two cows. They stampede you.
PLATONISM: You have a reflection of two perfect cows. Their milk tastes like water. You look for two real cows to milk.
SAUDIISM: You have two cows. Since milking the cow involves nipples, the government decides to ban all cows in public. The only method to milk a cow is to have a cow on one side of a curtain and a guy milking the cow on the other side.
SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes one of them and gives it to your neighbor.
SOCRATIC METHODISM: How many cows do I have? Why?
UNITED NATIONISM: You have two cows. France vetoes you from milking them. The United States and Britain veto the cows from milking you. New Zealand abstains.
* A JAPANESE CORPORATION: You have two cows. You redesign them to be one-tenth of their original size and to produce twenty times more milk than a normal cow.
* A CHINESE CORPORATION: You have two cows and hire 300 people to milk them 24/7. Then you claim both high employment and high production.
* AN AMERICAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You sell one and force the other cow to produce as much milk as four cows. Then you hire a consultant to investigate why the cow died.
Image: Courtsey farmpower.com
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.