First, in the vein of you can take the
boy out of the math but you can't take the math out of the boy, here
is my functional analysis on the mathematics of manure.

There is a mathematical construct
called a function. But to give an analogue, think of a function as a
machine that takes some input and gives some output. The machine can
take many different inputs, but what is important is that if you give
the machine the same input more than once, you get the same output
each time. Anytime you feed that same input in, you get the same
output out. You can try a different input and maybe you will get the
same output or maybe you will get a different output. Either is fine.
But starting with the same input, you have the same output. Okay, if
I haven't yet explained that to death, let me know. But I'm pretty
sure I've exhausted that explanation.

Well, I was thinking of a horse as a
function which takes inputs (I have to supply these) and gives
outputs (the aforementioned shoveling.) So we have a function, h(x)
and we know that h(hay) = poop.

But we are getting into the circle of
life here. (Cue the majestic Disney music.) See, I haul the poop into
a big pile cleverly referred to as the poo pile. But that poo will be
allowed to compost or ferment until it becomes fertilizer. So we have
a function f(x) choosing f for ferment. (Note, that in mathematics,
we have favorites ranges of the alphabet for various items, and for
functions, our favorite letters are f, g, and h.) And we know that
f(poop) = fertilizer.

Finally, what is the fertilizer going
to be used for? You guessed it! To grow more hay! So we have a growth
function, g(x) and we know that g(fertilizer) = hay.

Thus, using the composition of
functions, we can show that h(g(f(poop))) = poop! Poop begets poop.
(In statistics, it is sometimes said, “Garbage in, garbage out.”
Similar, but not the same.)

What does this tell us about the world?
I guess that even what we think of as waste can be a part of making
something fresh and new. But ultimately, it all goes back to being
waste. It's sort of like nihilism with brief optimistic spikes along
the way.

Turning away from math, I know, you're
disappointed, let move to philosophy. Question, who is the dominant
species: humans or horses? If you've read Gulliver's Travels, you
will see some of Swift's thoughts on that matter. But what about my
thoughts? I'm not as famous as Swift, but he's long dead, so I get to
have my say now.

On the one hand, humans put up the
fences and gates. We choose when to open the gates and when to close
the gates. We put harnesses on the horses and then move them where we
want them. We choose the times of feeding. We seem to make a lot of
their decisions for them. Sounds like we are the alpha species,
right?

But then, while I'm shoveling poop and
the horses are watching me, I can't help but wonder if they are
thinking “Hey, look who's cleaning up my feces! I guess we know
who's the low man around here, don't we?”

So maybe it's a draw.

Still, the horses have a pretty routine
existence. Same basic meals all the time. Same times in the pasture,
same times in the paddock. Yeah, the weather changes, but that's
about all that varies much for them. And they are perfectly happy
with it.

Maybe we humans could be like that.
Just okay with sameness. Okay with predictability. Less concerned
about the big wide world and more focused on our immediate
surroundings. Or maybe, since we think like humans and not like
horses, that would bore us right out of our sanity.

So, those are my deep thoughts that I
came up with while hauling manure. And maybe they aren't so deep, or
so great, or even so insightful. But in my defense, I did come up
with them while shoveling poop. And as I have shown mathematically,
poop begets poop.

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