Laugh Tracks in the Dust 12-21-09
This has been a tough week for me and ol’ Nevah out at Damphewmore Acres. The good news first. I am – very s-l-o-w-l-y – recovering from my bout with pneumonia. The bad news is that months ago, we listened to all the smart folks at the land-grant university and at our bank and we put all our farm production records, spread sheets, and financial analyses into a fancy computer program – that everyone swore would work perfect for us.
If you’ve ever done that before, you know it ain’t much fun. It’s tough to learn how to use them confounded computer programs, but after a lot of work and several heated arguments, we got the program up and running and entered in all our farm records and ran our first analyses. They showed we were barely breaking even.
Then this week, I went out to do the chores and discovered that most of our livestock and poultry were moving slow and off-feed with some strange malady. When we came exhaustedly into the house, ol’ Nevah burst into tears and said, “Milo, every animal on the place is moving slow, off its feed and not acting normal. We’d better call the vet.”
So, we called up ol’ Doc Annie Byawtick from town and she hurried right out. She looked at all the animals and confirmed that every one of them wuz reacting slow and wuz off-feed. But she couldn’t diagnose the problem. So, she called in the extension vet from K-State, ol’ Doc Manny Whitelines who travels all over the state, and he drove down from Manhattan in record time.
Doc Whitelines looked all the animals over, looked puzzled and said he’d like to ask us some questions about our management. He asked about out livestock rations. We said we fed corn, grain sorghum, soybean meal and oats to everything. Then he asked about our water supply and we told him it had tested clean just a few months ago.
As the two docs were puzzling over the problem, I said, “I sure hope you can get these livestock well and growing again. If you don’t, our new computer-analyzed records will all be printed in red ink.
That’s when Doc Whitelines slapped his forehead and exclaimed, “That’s it, Mr. Yield. I’ll bet it is. Let me draw a little blood from one of the animals to confirm it.” So, he did.
After he did the blood check under his mobile microscope, he whistled in surprise and announced, “Folks. Here’s your problem. All your animals are suffering from the same virus that got into the computer programs in Washington, at the Pentagon and all the university research programs a couple of weeks ago and slowed them down, made them act strange, and took up storage in the permanent files. That’s why your animals are moving so slow and off their feed.”
As he packed up to leave, he said, “Just go erase your computer information disks and reload them again with antivirus protection and your livestocks’ viral problems will be over.”
After he left, we did as he said and within a couple days all our animals were healthy again. However, the experience left me a little suspicious of computers when some runty little intellectual computer hacker nerd from the East Coast can cause me problems like that.
I heard a cute joke the other day from an Arkansas City, Kan., farmer. It seems that two farmers arrived at the Pearly Gates on the same day. When they were approached by St. Peter, he said that Heaven was full to overflowing that day and that there wuz room for only one of them.
Furthermore, he said he wuz gonna make his decision by which farmer could bring the best possession into Heaven with him. The first farmer squared his shoulders and proudly announced, “St. Peter, I have a perfectly matched big pair of Belgian mares that I can bring to Heaven with me.”
The second farmer said, “St. Peter, the best offering I can make is a gold-plated toilet seat that wuz a gift to me from the Queen of England when I made an agricultural tour to Great Britain.”
Without hesitation, St. Peter announced that the second farmer and his gold-plated toilet seat would be admitted to Heaven, and the first farmer would have to go the other direction and wait for a heavenly-opening.
But the first farmer protested by saying, “But, St. Peter. How could you make such a choice? My big pair of mares will certainly be more useful than a golden toilet seat.”
St. Peter answered with finality, “Sir. Don’t argue with me. Everyone knows that a royal flush always beats a big pair.”
There’s a grain of truth in that story, ain’t there?
The other evening ol’ Nevah came home from town just furious. When I asked her what her problem wuz, she exploded, “I just got a traffic ticket.”
“What did they catch you doing, speeding?” I asked.
“No,” she yelled, “They caught me backing down a one-way street going the right way.”
I sat there for several minutes and could never fathom that answer. Can you?
I guess there’s no need to continue this column any longer this week. I’m tired of writin’ and you’re probably tired of readin’. So, let’s take a mutual break and I’ll quit with these patriotic words from former President Woodrow Wilson: “A little group of willful men, representing no opinion but their own, have rendered the great government of the United States helpless and contemptible.”
Have a good ‘un.
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This the first in a six-part series of articles covering basic water law in the United States, predominately in the western part of the country, and how it affects this finite resource.