It’s 4H Fair season, and Lauren will be showing her rabbit, Milkshake. She has been practicing her showmanship routine for weeks now.
These routines follow a fairly standard format – you talk about the breed, the identifying marks, and a long list of body features that ought to conform to breed standards, and the judges evaluate you on how well you know what you’re doing, how well the rabbit behaves, and how close to the standards the rabbit actually is.
And after you’ve gone through it enough times, it starts to get funny. Eventually you start altering things slightly. And then not so slightly. After a while it doesn't sound much like the original at all.
This sounds best if you read it in the voice of Larry, Daryl and Daryl from the old Newhart show.
ARBA is the American Rabbit Breeder's Association. They are the people who can tell you about rabbit breeds. Because someone has to.
Hi. My name is Ed. And this is my rabbit, Earl.
Earl is a Mississippi Mud-Crawlin’ Rabbit. The Mississippi Mud-Crawlin’ Rabbit is a rare breed, though it would not be so rare if they would just stop doing things that have to be introduced with, “Hey, y’all, watch this.” The Mississippi Mud-Crawlin’ Rabbit is not a fancy breed. Earl is just a down home rabbit and does not put on airs or try to make the rest of us feel small like some other rabbits do.
Earl is a senior buck, which means that he is an old boy rabbit, not a ripped up piece of paper that I got in change down at the minimart.
Just tryin’ to keep things light here, is all. No need to get snippy at me.
Now I will pose the rabbit. Work it, Earl! Yeah!
Now I will examine the rabbit.
In his left ear he has a tattoo that says “MOTHER.” He says he is saving up to get another tattoo, but he will not tell me what it will be. I hope I will not have to get it removed like the last one.
In his right ear you should see a tattoo that indicates he is registered with ARBA, except that Earl is in the Federal Witness Protection Program now and they had to take him off the list. No, really, they did. If you should see several large men in dark suits and they start asking for him, we would very much appreciate if you could forget that you have ever seen him. Earl is trying to turn his life around, and we want to give him all the support we can.
We will now check his ears for bugs, which are listening devices. It is kind of funny that these devices would be planted in his ears, now that I think about it, but I do not think that he has any such things in his ears as he has retired from that line of work.
Now we will look at his nose. If we see any discharge, that means that the large men in dark suits have caught up to him recently and we should give him an ice pack and some ibuprofen.
There is no discharge. He is still not found.
Now we will look at the rabbit’s eyes. His eyes are nice and clear and not red. If they were red, this would mean that he had fallen off the wagon and we would need to report him to his parole officer. There is no discharge coming from his eyes, as he has not been watching sad movies recently.
Now we will look at the rabbit’s mouth. In his mouth we should see some teeth. Unfortunately Earl does not like dentists and he does like chewing tobacco. Let this be a caution to us all.
Now we will look at the rabbit’s paws. There should be five claws on his front paws and four on his back paws, and if Earl had been a little more careful this past Fourth of July that is what you would have seen. The doctors say that the casts will be removed soon.
We cannot tell if he has sore hocks, but he probably does. The casts do a bit of chafin’ when you get right down to it, but soon he will be right back to his old self again.
Now we will check his chest for any abscesses or cysts. It is clear from this examination that Earl has been hitting the gym recently and is just as chiseled as all git-out. Hubba, hubba, ladies.
And now we will sex the rabbit.
HOOOO-WEEEE! That there’s a BOY! Good show, there, Earl!
Now we will see if he has a screw tail, which would be very helpful when it comes to opening bottles. Unfortunately he does not have a screw tail and will have to rely on his friends for such services.
Now we will examine his shoulders, ribs and hips. These should be nice and wide, and it is a good thing that Earl spends much of his time on the couch watching reality television shows, so wide is pretty much what we got.
Earl’s fur is the proper mud brown of the Mississippi Mud-Crawlin’ breed, mostly. Pay no attention to the orange parts, please. Cheez powder is just the devil to get out of rabbit fur. He used to have “fly-away” fur except that it has mostly flown away now, so we are treating him with the Rogaine. Do not bother him about it, as he is kind of sensitive on this point.
Now I will tell you two strengths about the rabbit and two weaknesses of the rabbit.
Earl’s two main strengths are punctuality and typing speed. His two weaknesses are blondes and chocolate.
I have now examined the rabbit. I thank you for your support.