3 Mules
February 27, 2021 7:49 PM   Subscribe

Who are we? We are the Mules. Where are we from? We are from the outside. We live outside all day, every day. Where are we going? Nowhere. We’re here: the outside, the web of life, the beautiful earth, a place like no other. We have come to this place, a place of golden sparkling light, a place for anybody and everybody. Give your faith, hope and energy to this place at which time you connect to it and receive the magic and endless possibility of infinity. As you walk in this place with these mules you spread the awareness that this beautiful earth, like no other, can only be protected by the way we live one day at a time.

blog posts are sorted by tag at the bottom of this page

Previously on MetaFilter in 2013, but there's piles more blog entries now.
posted by aniola (19 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I first saw The Mules several years ago. I'm happy to know he's still kicking.
posted by mule98J at 10:10 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]

Saw them in Walnut Creek a few years back.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:15 PM on February 27

The police are completely out of control.
posted by bleep at 10:34 PM on February 27 [4 favorites]

I knew mule j98 would slip in, saving my kick strap vs. kick stand CHIPS roundue.
I love mules, they tolerate me. perfect working relationship. We had one named Dynamite for 4 days and our jerk SL bullies the mule...like wading in traffic. I walked the quarter mile, remove the strap, shared an apple, chatted, they get gette up when you talk to em too long dunno. Writing a mule a citation is insanel.
posted by clavdivs at 10:53 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]

The police are completely out of control.

And militarized, to boot.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:07 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]

Not so much that walking on the road is illegal - more that telling a cop "no, I will not do what you tell me to" is illegal.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:02 AM on February 28 [3 favorites]

I am pleased to announce that District Attorney Dan Dow has advised me today, February 1, 2020, that the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office will be declining to file a criminal complaint against my client, Mule, “in the interest of justice.” Mr. Dow is to be applauded for doing the right thing and doing the right thing swiftly. Mule was traveling across America as he has done for many years, bothering no one, minding his own business. America’s roads are designed for its citizens, its cars, its horses, its mules, its pedestrians, its travelers. Let’s share our roads and be mindful that some of us move a little slower on them. Mule teaches us that life is not a sprint, but a marathon. It was an honor to represent an American icon.

Glad to see the half-assed charges dropped. But is his name Mule? The pictures are of him and two mules.

So this is how the Mules many thousands of years ago became to be and reside in this place.

California? They came over with Columbus but nobody tell him, it's a nice story.
posted by adept256 at 3:15 AM on February 28

But is his name Mule?

That sounds like a frequently asked question.


Earth. If you’re looking for straight forward answers in The Mules and Their Mythology instead of Frequently Asked Questions, You’re probably going to be disappointed.
posted by zamboni at 7:04 AM on February 28

When I first saw him, he and three mules comprised this little band; he packed two, rode one...rather, he sometimes rode the one with the riding saddle. Mule's point of view is simple, straightforward, and he doesn't need to apologize for it. He's willing to spread his message one citation at a time.

BTW....fun fact: if mules weren't sterile, horses would be extinct.
posted by mule98J at 7:42 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]

Ugh, that's so dumb. That's the sort of fairly rural road you'll see horses along, you can't tell me that cop hasn't seen them before. But make it mules and a scraggly older guy and the cop goes into total respect my AUTHORITAH! mode.
posted by tavella at 7:54 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]

if mules weren't sterile, horses would be extinct

Please tell more? This is interesting!
posted by Meatbomb at 8:00 AM on February 28 [3 favorites]

“Excellence, he is known as the Mule. He is spoken of little, in a factual sense, but I have gathered the scraps and fragments of knowledge and winnowed out the most probable of them. He is apparently a man of neither birth nor standing. His father, unknown. His mother, dead in childbirth. His upbringing, that of a vagabond. His education, that of the tramp worlds, and the backwash alleys of space. He has no name other than that of the Mule, a name reportedly applied by himself to himself, and signifying, by popular explanation, his immense physical strength, and stubbornness of purpose.”
posted by doctornemo at 8:12 AM on February 28 [3 favorites]

I found the story about their first day in Redding was illustrative of how car culture doesn't understand yet about slower-moving travelers. He went into the grocery store, bought supplies, came back out to fuel up, and a security guard thought that was enough time to get a move on and was going to call the police:
We had been walking in the heat since 6:30am. It was 110F. Myself and Little Girl walk using our own power. We are not machines. We do not move at the same rapid effortless pace as the automobile and its occupants.
This is what I really appreciate about 3 mules:
“Mule has been living outside with his mules for 31 years. Just walking. He’s dedicated to trying to convince people that when we destroy nature, take up all the wilderness space with buildings and concrete and no room to roam freely, we’re destroying ourselves and our true nature. He’s trying to affect a change by encouraging the “People in Charge” to link the outdoor spaces, parklands, etc., so a horse, a mule, a bike, a walker – can pass through continuously without breaking a law. He’s also trying to have those same ones in charge consider making it possible for a traveler like him to spend one night legally in outdoor space.”
(quotes at this link)

Speaking from experience as someone who travels by bicycle, the roads need to be safe for all travelers. It really isn't the 3mph mules responsible for all the memorials on the side of the road. And it absolutely needs to be explicitly legal to spend a night in outdoor space. This is crucial for moving past car culture to something more inclusive and diverse.

I asked jessamyn for a post last fall on
the history of the freedom of movement in the USA as it relates to the rights of the pedestrian/bicyclist(/driver/wheelchair user/e-scooter/etc.). [...] If there's room for other types of freedom of movement within the US (gender, race, etc) that would be awesome too but I tried to keep it specific.
and this is what she came up with.
posted by aniola at 8:44 AM on February 28 [3 favorites]

Don't those state troopers know that this is exactly how all of those Rambo movies turn out to be total shitstorms?
posted by halfbuckaroo at 2:53 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]

This idea has really stuck in my brain since reading it, so here is my spitball / armchair idea of why fertile mules would make horses go extinct...

Mules are just overall better horses! They are stronger, sturdier, calmer. I do not know how they would work out in the wild, in competition with regular horses, but from a domestic animal perspective it seems people would always choose a mule over a horse, if it wasn't for the "they won't make new mules" problem.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:24 AM on March 1

Oh i love mules. I love donkeys too; I love animals with a bastard streak, as I've never had to rely on one. I am highly impressed and grateful for anyone out there showing alternative ways of living.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:49 AM on March 1

Unfortunately that website is blocked here so I will have to check it out later this evening but I have long been interested in this kind of thing. Many years ago I read William Least Heat Moon's PrairyErth and he talked about how he'd walk around on the backroads of that county and would frequently be accosted by people in trucks asking the same question: "Trouble?" Which he said was asked in a manner to say "Are you trouble?"

I also like taking long walks on the unpaved roads leading out of my little town and have experienced similar things. My favorite was the day my wife and I decided to take a walk out to a ghost town 10 miles away and not more than a couple of miles out of town a man roared up in his pickup to demand to know just what we were doing out there. "Erm, walking?" To him anyone who was out moving under their own power on a frigid day were suspect. The part that irritated us the most was the usual insistence of someone inside a motorized (and heated) easy chair that we stand there in the cold to answer his questions.

Thankfully so far we haven't had any encounters with the police.
posted by drstrangelove at 10:45 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]

Jack Kerouac wrote about his experience one night in Mexico where he and his companions were too exhausted to drive and the road was just too dangerous to press onwards. They wanted to stop in a village but finding no lodging they drove on to just outside of town and proceeded to literally sleep in the road. Kerouac couldn't sleep and at some point saw the dim beam of a flashlight making its way steadily up the road. Eventually he realized that it was the local constable and his only concern was to ask if the man in the road (Neal Cassady/Dean Moriarity) was "dead" or just sleeping. Kerouac marveled over that experience, saying that if this had been in the US the police would have brutalized them and tossed them into jail. Instead it was just a humble public servant looking over the safety of his village with no malice or need to bully anyone.
posted by drstrangelove at 10:49 AM on March 2 [3 favorites]

Are they from Moscow?
posted by bendy at 4:59 AM on March 7

« Older Dance like everyone's watching   |   Concerning Beards Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments