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My nine loyal readers know that often in this space I lament careers that might have been. Sometimes, as readers giggle at my latest typo — I once referred to a downtown music series as “Concerns on the Square” — I imagine a better life as a Godiva chocolate tester or Halle Berry’s masseur or a meteorologist. Hey, I’m qualified: I’m wrong at least half the time. Just ask the organizers of Concerts on the Square.

But now I think I’ve found a job that truly is my calling: Writing punny slogans for the ABS Global billboard. As my readers know, puns are a pillar of this column.

ABS is a world leader in bovine genetics and reproduction. This line of business lends itself to jokes — let’s call them knock-knocked-up jokes — and ABS proudly displays its sense of humor on a billboard along Interstate 90/94 outside its DeForest headquarters.

Those who travel between Wisconsin Dells and Madison on the interstate enjoy the “bull board’s” slogans, which change frequently but always center on insemination semantics. Example: “Our genetics will improve your dairy heir.”

While sitting on the interstate one summer Sunday, I got to thinking. (I had plenty of time, as traveling anywhere between vacationland and Chicago on a summer Sunday takes roughly 15 minutes a mile. Jokes on the ABS board could be 100 words long and still be read in their entirety.) I thought to myself, writing slogans for ABS would be my dream job. No bull. You herd it here first. I wouldn’t give them a bum steer.

Dreaming up puns about cow reproduction for a living? It would be too easy:

  • “Your ladies will udderly love our bulls”
  • “We’re informal here: No need to call us ‘Sire”
  • “Even for gals unglamorous, our studs will become amorous.”

Oh, what fun that job would be. They wouldn’t even have to pay me.

Sadly, I learned they don’t have to pay me — or anyone else — to write such jokes. People send them in for free. In fact, ABS once held a slogan contest and received 300 submissions. Enjoy the winning entries:

  • “With ABS, your calves are only an arm’s length away.”
  • “A bull’s favorite pickup line — man-ure cute.”
  • “We don’t build houses, but we can supply the studs.”
  • These rank right up there with other favorites displayed over the years:
  • “ABS — from here to maternity”
  • “Milk duds belong in candy stores”
  • “ABS genes — it’s not just a fashion statement”
  • “ for cows”
  • “The few, the proud, the frozen”

I don’t suppose ABS will pay me or anyone else to come up with insemination jokes, not while there are so many volunteers offering submissions. As they say, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

It’s too bad, because I’d like to have some career options. Especially if I get canned for writing about “Concerns on the Square.”

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Ben Bromley is a columnist for the Baraboo News-Republic. Contact him at


Dunn County News editor

Barbara Lyon is the editor of The Dunn County News in Menomonie, WI.

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