For those who have never traveled to the great West, cattle guards are horizontal steel rails placed at fence openings on highways to prevent cattle from crossing.

For some reason the bovines will not step on the guards, probably because they fear getting their feet caught between the rails. I need to make that clear in order for everyone to appreciate the following TRUE story. (?)

President Clinton received a report that there were over 100,000 cattle guards in Colorado. Because Colorado ranchers protested his proposed changes in grazing policies, he ordered Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt to fire half of the guards immediately.

Before Babbitt could respond, and presumably straighten him out, Colorado's congresswoman Pat Schroeder intervened with a request that before any were fired they be given six months of retraining.

Stranger than fiction, isn't it?