Randall Gerard writes back...

Location: Out West

An old-fashioned guy grappling with new-fangled ways.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Corporate Ag Spinmeisters

I saw this in the local paper and thought it was hilarious.

Swine Production Career Opportunities: New Fashion Pork is a progressive swine company looking for quality production staff to add to our talented team. Swine Technicians, full-time positions available at our sow farm near Albin, WY. Competitive compensation and benefit package available. For more information on this outstanding career opportunity contact: New Fashion Pork, P.O. Box 6, Albin WY. 82050

I swear I'm not making this up. Swine Technicians? We used to call 'em pig farmers. And most pig farmers I knew also raised crops, cattle, poultry, garden produce, fruit trees, honey, hay, sheep and goats. So now instead of farmers working their own land and raising a variety of products requiring a variety of skills, corporate ag is proud to offer 'career opportunities' as Swine Technicians. The reduction of the american farmer continues. He is now an employee of New Fashion Pork, part of a 'quality production staff'. Oh wait, did I say this was... hilarious? Never mind.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The dinner show

At work we have a long honored tradition we call the dinner show. I work a 24 hour shift, so we eat supper together, and usually one or more of us will tell a funny story during the meal. These stories aren't always family friendly; in fact they are often profane and vulgar, so I rarely participate. However, I just returned from a road trip to SW Missouri, and my co-workers wanted to hear all about it and they weren't taking 'no' for an answer. I tried to explain that the trip was a working vacation and nothing they would consider interesting happened, but in the end, they prevailed. So, I cleared my throat.
"Well, we drove to Lincoln and visited my folks and then got up the next morning and drove to Branson. My wife, son and his friend stayed on campus that night with my other son and daughter, but I stayed at a friend's place with my youngest daughter. The next day we got up and drove to Branson and I spent that day working on my oldest son's car. We managed to get it drivable and my wife fixed dinner for all of us at my daughter's dorm on campus. After supper we drove to the same friend's house and stayed up talking with them until midnight or so. We got up the next day and drove to Branson again for worship. After worship we went to my friend's church in Springfield and we enjoyed a pot-luck supper, hymn singing, foot races and volleyball the rest of the afternoon. We then drove back to my friend's house and had supper, listened to some fine guitar picking and even helped them sing a little. The next day, we said our goodbyes and drove up to Lincoln. We spent the night there and got up the next day and drove to Cheyenne."
While I was relating this basic story, I was being constantly interupted. Did I see any shows in Branson? No. Did I do any golfing? No. Did my wife and I do anything (ahem) intimate? None of your business. Did I see a lot of road kill? Yes. Any dead armadillos? Yes. Did I get rained on? Yes. Any tornadoes? No. Did I get drunk and do anything embarassing? No. Did I go to the movies? No. Did I go out to a nice restaurant? Yes, my friend's house and my mom's house and the church pot-luck and the meal my wife cooked. Nooo, I mean a nice restaurant, with waiters and such? No. Did you have any car trouble? No. Finally silence. I sit back and poke idly at dessert.
'Wow', someone says, 'what a boring trip'. I shrug. I let them think it was boring and uneventful. But actually, our trip was refreshing and stimulating. I could have told them about the multi-colored flock of hens pecking and scratching in my friend's yard, and how their antics made me smile. Or about working all day with both my sons again and how good that felt. We enjoyed stimulating conversations, good nourishing food, lots of laughs and we even learned some new hymns. I watched nine children, ages 7 to 20, occupy the same modest house for days with nary a cross word between them. What a blessing that was! I saw green pastures, flowering fruit trees and many contented cows. I heard guitar pickin' so pretty I had trouble singing around the lump in my throat. I saw my adult children prospering spiritually. I got to pray and worship with them in person again and shed tears of mingled joy, pride and sorrow at our parting. I traveled 2,000 miles in safety, ease and comfort and I saw many loved ones and made several new friends along the way. And I went home rejoicing in the goodness of God and thanking Him for my new friends, The Settler and The Aspiring Agrarian.
But of course, I didn't tell them what really happened because they weren't interested. They only wanted to be entertained, not edified. They did not wish to rejoice with me, but only find ways to laugh at my expense. The truth is, had they gone on this trip with me, they would have been bored and discontented, even as I experienced blessing on every side. Isn't it amazing how the natural man only wants to feed his lusts? He cares nothing for his soul.