At a recent campus festival, among the many activities was a mechanical bull ride. 
Since Debra Winger rode that one in “Urban Cowboy,” I’ve wondered what it would be like. 
I examined the enclosure surrounding the mechanical bull. It was filled with giant blocks of foam rubber, maybe a foot deep. I looked more closely at the big metal bull. It didn’t look scary at all, it fact it looked a little like it might even be fun. 
Two of my friends saw me staring at the bull and one said, “You can do it!”
And at that moment I was certain I could, although I did not see either of them que up to be next. That might have been a clue as to why I should have given this idea a bit more thought. Mistake number one.
I eyed the operator of the bull. He was young with very big, sincere brown eyes. 
I said, “This is the first time I’ve ever ridden one of these. I hope you will take it slow.” 
“Yes, ma’am, I will.”
Mistake number two.
My two friends squealed and clapped and dug out their cell phones. Evidence, I thought. They could show my family exactly how I dislocated my shoulder and broke my neck.
As I approached the bull, I had a horrible realization – I had no idea how to get on it. There were no stirrups, no step stool – nada.
“Just jump up there and pull yourself on over,” the operator said.
I believe the last time I executed this particular move was as an 18-year-old department store clerk. I vaulted over the counter of the jewelry department to avoid being trampled to death by a stampede of women shoppers headed for the January coat sale. 
I crooked my index finger and beckoned him to assist me to mount my ride. He rolled his big brown eyes and hefted me much as you might a sack of feed, flopping me stomach first onto the back of the bull. I hoped the girls were not photographing that.
As I attempted to “right” myself in the saddle, I realized it was not a real saddle but a design of a saddle in material that I can only describe as slick as Teflon.
I grabbed for what should have been a saddle horn, only to discover that it was just a hank of rope. A short hank of rope. I comforted myself when I noticed that the bull had two huge horns which might be my salvation when it started moving.
I locked my knees in place, holding on with all the strength I could muster. Slowly the bull started to move in a circle. Not too bad. Then it reversed direction and began picking up speed, so did I, not unlike some presidential candidates, far right, far left. 
In an effort to stay on, I lurched forward and grabbed the bull’s horns. Mistake number three. They came off in my hands as I sailed into mid-air. 
Only my pride was injured. And my reputation on Facebook, Instagram, probably Twitter as well, if my friends can figure out how to use it. 
I’m grounded for now. Too bad they don’t have those coin-operated pony rides at the grocery stores anymore, I could start training for next year.

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