Man Gives Up Living As A Human To Be A Goat
Did you hear about the man who gave up living as a human so he could become a goat? No, it's not a joke, it's a true-life trending story on the internet. Thomas Thwaites thought it would be a good idea to take a vacation from the worries of being human by living as a goat – not forever, but for almost a whole week in the Swiss Alps. He has now published a book about his life-as-a-goat adventure. It might sound like a lark, but it was a serious project. He even applied for a grant to do it.
In 2014, Britain-born Thwaites was 33 years old and living in debt. A graphic designer by trade, he was unemployed, searching for work, and living with his father. His life was very stressful at that time, and that's when the idea struck him. He would take a holiday – not just from his life, but from being human. He would try his hand at becoming another sort of animal altogether, so he could experience life from another creature's perspective. He would walk and eat as that animal and spend all day doing things that particular animal did. At first, he wanted to cross the Alps as an elephant, but when he travelled to South Africa to research the animals, he realized how difficult that would be. He discovered that elephants experience emotions in much the same way humans do. An interview with a shaman who called his plan idiotic further deterred him. The shaman said the animal he was best suited to was a goat.
Thomas Thwaites researched goats inside and out. He learned they don't tend to have episodic memory as humans do. They don't think about the past or the future but are much more in the moment. With the help of doctors, Thwaites developed prosthetics that would allow him to live as a quadruped – literally walking on all fours. The front prosthetics were hinged and extended his arms to the ground. As goats support sixty percent of their weight on their forelegs, Thwaites had to do the same with his arms. Thwaites' mother made him a waterproof jacket. He invested in a helmet and a chest guard, in case the other goats tried to head-butt him. As he also wanted to experience eating grass and digesting it the way that goats do, Thwaites tried to develop a prosthetic stomach that could do this for him – but failed. Instead, he opted for chewing the grass then spitting it into a portable stomach. Later he would heat the partly-chewed grass in a pressure cooker and eat it. His next step was to contact a goat farm in Switzerland and ask permission to visit for a week – but he didn't tell them why. They complied, and when arrived he told them the real reason why he was there. They still agreed to let him stay. In the daytime, he would go wherever the sheep went, eating with them. At night, he would sleep in the same barn as them, but on a separate floor. One of the most painful lessons he learned as a goat was to walk downhill properly. On his first day, Thwaites realized how tricky it can be to walk downhill as a quadruped and toppled over – to the amusement of the Swiss farmers. It took a while for the other goats to accept him, but by the end of the six days, he made a close friend – Number 18, who followed him everywhere.
This trending news story about how Thomas Thwaites became a goat for a week comes from the Damn website, where you can read more about his adventures – and view photos, as well.*
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