Gather 'round, idiot children! I'm about to tell you the dumbest story you ever heard. This is going to make Jack and the Beanstalk look like Anna Karenina. Grab your forks and let's read this thing.
"Chapter 1. This calf was born on a Texas ranch. Several acres of grazing land are required to support each cow and calf."
Okay, this part's not all that stupid. Just wait.
"Chapter 2. As a yearling, the calf was sold to an Iowa farmer for 'finishing.' Proper feeding of corn and protein supplements adds many extra pounds and a lot of extra eating quality to our beef."
You see what they did there? First it was "calf." Then "yearling." But then they slipped and called him "beef." And look at that dumb cow grinning! What's he got to be happy about? They're finishing him! Keep growing, dummy.
"Chapter 3. After several months in the feed lot, our calf, now a full-grown steer, was sent by rail or truck to the stockyards and assigned to a marketing firm for sale."
Assigned to a marketing firm? Oh, brother! He's practically a member of the family! Keep quiet, kids, or maybe we'll assign you to a marketing firm.
"Chapter 4. Buyers for several local and out-of-town meat packing companies put in bids based on the going consumer price of beef. This steer was one of a carload bought by an Ohio meat packing company."
Ol' Stupid is still grinning like a dope! Doesn't take much, huh? Fella, they looked you over and paid the going rate. Nothing they wouldn't do for any consumer goods.
"Chapter 5. At the packing plant, the 'beef crew' turned beef on the hoof into meat for the stores. Beef was inspected, chilled and graded, prepared for shipment."
Turned beef into meat! That beef crew is a real bunch of wizards! You don't need a magic wand for that trick. Just takes a big knife and a strong stomach. I can't tell—is the cow still smiling? (And now they're just calling him Beef, like that's the dummy's name.)
"Chapter 6. Under refrigeration, the quarters of beef were shipped to New York's wholesale meat district — 1500 miles from Texas, where the calf was born."
It's an all-expenses-paid trip! See America from the back of a refrigerated truck.
"Chapter 7. Owner of a Brooklyn meat market, after comparing prices and quality, selected a quarter of our steer."
The owner loves the steer. Just not in that way. The other way.
"Chapter 8. In the store, a quarter of beef was turned into steaks, roasts, stew and hamburger; was displayed for customer's selection competing with other meats."
I think they mean the dead cow was competing, not the customer. But I wouldn't put that past them.
"Chapter 9. Yesterday, a housewife looked over everything in the counter, compared values, decided on steak, porterhouse or chopped, depending on what she wanted to spend."
Hey, look! The butcher's got the cow's smile now! That's the circle of life, kids. Now help me with the lighter fluid and let's get supper started.
(Thanks to Dr. Anencephalic for the referral.)