Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 3-14-11
March 14, 2011
We’ve all had brain cramps when our minds wandered from the bizness at hand until something happens – usually bad – that brings our mind crashing back to Earth and reality.
Such wuz the situation a few months ago for my buddy, ol’ Fergut Tareelitin, who drives a bulk feed truck for a commercial cattle feeding enterprise and feed company.
Ferg wuz happily making his feeding rounds, driving an expensive feed truck with a 36-foot “stinger auger” to make the unloading faster, more efficient, and, supposedly, safer. He’d drive up to an unloading site, hit the hydraulic button to extend the stinger and then reverse the procedure when he left for the next unloading site.
Well, the safety bit went awry when Ferg’s active mind clicked into high gear and his mental brake went into free spin. In short, what Ferg did wuz forget to reel in the auger, so he headed happily down the road with the 36-foot auger whipping in the breeze like a big metal flag. Maybe, I’d better rephrase that and say it was waving in the wind like a giant electrical ground rod.
At any rate, as Ferg wuz sailing down the road with the stinger working as an air rudder, he noticed the folks he met on the road seemed unusually friendly with their frantic waving at him through their windshields. A sure sign of being popular, Ferg thought to himself.
But, then his wandering thoughts got quickly focused when the “stinger” made contact with an overhead power line above the road. Ferg heard one heck of a crash and looked back in the rearview mirror just in time to see the stinger depart company with the feed truck and take on a life of its own as it tumbled down the road and into the ditch.
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Thankfully, no one was electrocuted or even hurt – except in the pocketbook. However, Ferg did have to spend the next day returning to the site of his mental meltdown to collect the remains of the auger and all the pieces strung out along the road ditch. Chalk it all up to one more hard lesson in the school of hard knocks.
If you run a beef cow or dairy enterprise, you know one of the hardest management decisions you’ve got to make is deciding on what cows to cull – and when to cull them.
Now I know that every cattleman will swear on a stack of Bibles that he is NOT sentimental about culling his cow herd. And, I know – from helping many cattlemen when they are culling cows from their herds – that they are lying.
Here’s how the scenario usually works. The herd owner is working the headgate on the squeeze chute when, lo and behold, into the chute walks “Old Grandma” cow. She’s got one blind eye, two blind quarters on her udder, she’s thin, weak, toothless, and loaded with warbles and lice.
But the headman suddenly recalls that the cow once produced the top-selling bull in his production sale a decade ago, and followed that up with a steer calf that his granddaughter took to the championship of the county fair.
He whips out his handkerchief and dabs it at the corner of his eye, claiming a piece of dirt flew into his eye, and then announces, “She’s good for another year, boys. Let her out.”
When the decrepit old cow stumbles out of the chute, she immediately gets bogged down in the muddy cowlot and splays out on her belly – a downer cow – never to regain her feet again. Of course, in today’s politically correct world, a downer cow is now unsalvageable. It’s a simple case of sentimentality negatively affecting the bottom line. Good money down the drain.
Well, cowboys and cowgirls, that scenario never needs to happen again on your ranch or farm. I’ve got an invention that let’s you be sentimental with your cull cows, and still makes them a paying proposition. It’s called the Strike-It-Rich Lightning Rod!
Here’s how it works. When ol’ Granny Cow is in the squeeze chute, just strap the Strike-It-Rich Lightning Rod under her chin and let her wobble back to the pasture. When the next thunderstorm rolls across your pasture, a huge (and fatal) lightning bolt is sure to ground itself through Granny Cow’s lightning rod and put her out of her misery in a nano-second.
All you have to do then is remove the Strike-It-Rich Lightning Rod from her carcass and turn her loss into your insurance company. Only in this way, can ol’ Granny Cow become the “best” cow in your cowherd – and you’ll be handsomely rewarded.
The Strike-It-Rich Lightning Rod is reusable for decades. It will return you many times its modest original cost. Innovation is truly wonderful, ain’t it?
Well, I’d best strike the last keystroke for this column and let my mental branding iron cool off. Until next week, remember these words of wisdom about lightning from Hannibal, Missouri’s, famous novelist and writer Mark Twain: “Thunder is good, thunder is impressive, but it is lightning that does all the work.”
Have a good ‘un.