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Some years back, at least a decade ago by best count, I had the pleasure of meeting a young couple living in my city. We shared similar circles of acquaintances and soon found ourselves hanging out at a local oyster bar, having drinks, consuming sea food (raw oysters for them, not for me, I went for fried clams. Raw oysters are a bit too "boogery" for my taste).
At some point I was asked about where I'd came from and when it became clear I'd moved a long way from my birth home, I was asked what, if anything, I missed from my there.
"Moose," I said, "They're one of my favorite ungulates and I saw them pretty frequently while growing up."
That word, "ungulates" kicked off a further conversation. What a strange word, the way it rolls of the tongue; guttural and yet poetic. It seems uncommon and yet it refers to things quite common in knowledge; the hooved beasts of the land - cows, deer, horses, camels, whatnot. What a strange conversation furtherer. No longer were we discussing our personal histories, but instead sharing random bits of knowledge and ideas regarding said hooved beasts.
We've remained friends for years, and yet this moment still is brought up. We know how to talk about ungulates. We have thoughts on ungulates. We have, most certainly, considered the ungulates.
And even to this day, I find pleasure to learning something new about the hooved beasts, such that yesterday, I was pleased to discover that despite containing the word "ox" in their common name, the muskox, a stinky, yet stately, ungulate denizen of northern tundra, is in fact more closely related to sheep and goats than to the assumed cattle or bison. The knowledge is apropos to nothing, and yet satisfying (in a way that raw oysters never will be for me).
We'll have to disagree on the oysters. Whenever we decide to have a celebratory feast we head to the local oyster bar. Oysters on the half shell and boiled shrimp. We get to mix our own cocktail sauce. Mine is usually pale pink from all the horseradish. Definitely clears the sinuses. This is the place:
Oh the muskox, if I were ever to see one in real life, they are superb beasts, stinky and all
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