Acting on the fly: A veterinarian's little brother gets into a sticky situation


Veterinarian Bo Brock's doctor-brother gets 'stuck' in an ostrich hunt.

My brother, Dr. Brandon Brock, is ten years younger than me and his brain could eat my brain for lunch and not be full. He has more letters after his name than anyone I know, is a professor of some institute of neurology, and can say more big words in one sentence than anyone I've ever met.

We are much different. I live in a tiny town in west Texas and avoid crowds at all costs. He lives in Dallas and flies all over the world giving lectures on neurology. The other day I watched him in awe as he was interviewed on a Good Morning America-type show. And as I watched this famous doctor who fixes people with broken brains, my mind drifted back to the years when he was growing up.

When I first moved to Lamesa, Texas, and began to build my veterinary practice, he was still in high school. He'd spend days or weeks at a time working with me and getting a taste of rural America.

On one day in particular in the early '90s, you'd have never convinced me he would grow up the be so smart. You see, we were out on an ostrich farm, of all places—back in the day when ostriches were worth $20,000 apiece. The owners of this farm were having some trouble with a few of the chicks getting crippled, so they called me out to have a look. I took Brandon with me because I knew we were going to have to do some running to catch these things, and he was a fast rascal.

The baby ostriches were in pens 30 feet long and 15 feet wide. There were little 3-foot-high fences between the pens and each pen had about 10 ostriches in it. Now, the owner of this ostrich farm was a very detail-oriented man. He wanted everything just right and kept things so neat and clean you could eat off the floor.

He gave an extensive history of the problem and then said we needed to catch one of the crippled birds so we could examine it. I sent Brandon into the pen after our patient.

He immediately went into overdrive, hopping over the short fence with nothing on his mind but catching that bird. He was so focused he didn't see the super-sticky fly tape hanging down over the pen. In fact, he didn't see the next super-sticky fly tape or even the one after that.

The first one stuck smack to the top of his head. The next one latched on the front of his shirt, and the third one stretched across his forehead.

It was the impact and adherence of that third strip that brought him to a standstill. He reached up to attempt to pull the shockingly sticky thing from his forehead, never considering that it would also stick to his hand as soon as he touched it. As he tried to pull off the tape, it slid down over his eyes and stuck to his eyebrows and eyelashes. He then strategically tried to use his other hand to release the other tape on the top of his head.

At one point the situation was like this: His right hand was stuck to the fly tape, which was also stuck to his eyes. His left hand was stuck to the fly tape that was also stuck to his hair. Attempts to pull on either one resulted in painful hair-pulling—there was no apparent way of escape. Not only that, but he couldn't see, so he ran into the wall and (surprise, surprise) stuck to it.

He hollered for help, but I was laughing so hard I couldn't even stand up. The fella who owned the place was no help either—he was chuckling just as hard as me.

I wasn't going to touch him because sticky stuff like that grosses me out. The owner must have felt the same because he just stood there too. Brandon pleaded with us to remove the stickies gently, but neither of us could do anything but laugh.

Finally we got some rags and managed to rip the tapes all loose from his body. He hollered for us to slow down while we pulled the tape with clumps of hair and eyebrows off of his body, but we assured him that ripping it off like a Band-Aid would be less painful.

By the time we finally headed home, Brandon could barely open his eyes because the residual sticky stuff had his eyes all matted together.

And look at him now, eyebrows and all, on TV saying more big words that anyone I have ever known.

Dr. Bo Brock owns Brock Veterinary Clinic in Lamesa, Texas.

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