The guy didn’t look like a Canadian farmer.
But then again, how would you be able to tell if someone looked like a Canadian farmer? I didn’t really care. I don’t ask a lot of questions in a public sauna. I just find my corner of it, get in my personal head space, and tune everybody else out.
This was back before Covid, when we still got in saunas at gyms. The one at Mandalay Bay, in Vegas, is big enough to share with a couple of people and not really know they’re there. Before a show, I used to love getting a workout and a sauna in. Helped clear the head.
The two other guys sweating it out, when I walked in, struck up a conversation. The older, severely out of shape guy, from New Jersey on one side. The fit, chiseled young farmer from Canada, on the other.
I listened to their conversation…while trying not to. They gave me no choice.
Eventually, the sauna talk turned to the weather. That’s good, benign small-talk fodder…you would think.
But the big guy from Jersey began preaching to us about the issues with the weather and climate change and his sauna space became a bit of a soap box. Again, I just listened. I wanted these guys to leave, so I would have the place to myself. I definitely didn’t want a social justice lesson…in Vegas.
Finally, the young guy spoke up and informed us of his farmer job in our neighboring land to the north (did I mention he didn’t look like a Canadian farmer?). He talked about how in Canada the environmental laws and regulations are almost impossible to adhere to. And how there are constant inspections and mandates and visits by government officials.
According to the farmer (who didn’t look like a farmer) the farm in question had been in his family for a hundred years or so and had been a robust producer. But they were now teetering on the edge of not being able to keep it because of all of the regulations.
But here was the interesting part …
He said NONE of the predictions made by all the “experts” who were constantly descending on their property, had ever come true.
His words were, “they keep telling us things are going to happen, that never happen. Meanwhile, the farmer’s almanac, actually ends up being the accurate predictor of what actually happens.”
The big man from New Jersey took great issue with this, asserting that the farmer didn’t understand this study or that study and that he wasn’t seeing it from a global view.
The young, unassuming farmer, very meekly and politely responded by telling the Jersey boy that he knew about the studies being cited. They were part of why this or that regulation was in place at their farm.
The problem was the studies were WAY off in their hypotheses and caused the growth projections to be skewed to an almost laughable degree. In other words, the government was telling the farmer how to grow crops based on some computer model that actually turned out to be wrong.
The farmer went on to say something I’ll never forget: “We actually have our hands in the dirt. We have to live with the consequences of these projections. It’s not theory to us. If you work on a farm you know that it either works or it doesn’t.”
The man from New Jersey got tired of being bested by the Canadian farm boy and left the sauna, mumbling platitudes under his breath.
With no one left to talk to but a disinterested Nashvillian, Canada farm hand looked to me as if to ask, “What do you think?”
I just nodded and said, “I get it.”
I have no idea if that guy was really a farmer or if anything he said was actually true. But I’ll say this: the guy from Canada at least appeared to have had his act together health wise. And the New Jersey know-it-all appeared to have had some health issues.
Sometimes things are self-evident; they just are. And even though I didn’t know either one of them, I had a feeling one of those guys knew a thing or two about how things (like the body) work. I had a feeling the other one operated on speculation and theory.
I was on a farm yesterday. Several people in my extended family have small farms. So we went to visit one of them with my daughter and son.
And what the Canadian said is true – you can’t fake it on a farm. A farm isn’t a place for theory.
On a farm, nonsense will get you killed or get the crop or the animals hurt or get everything so behind you can’t get caught up in time for the season to yield.
When you go to the farm, it’s time to get real.
I believe in the city. I think we do have to get off the farm and chase dreams and flights of fancy.
We need the people with their heads in the clouds, believing in the impossible.
But every once in a while, you need to go back to the farm and remember how things actually work. You need to see where that steak actually comes from or where those strawberries start. You need to be around people who deal with it – the real it – everyday.
We have gotten so far away from common sense and “farm sense,” that we now think of it as offensive. It’s often not what we want to hear. We’ve so “Disneyfied” animals that we think of them as characters rather than what they actually are.
We aren’t connected to the dirt anymore. We don’t live with the smell of manure in the air. We don’t kill the hogs for our bacon. We just order it on a cheeseburger. We don’t have to pick the peas. We just isolate them for the protein shake.
And it skews our reality.
And before long, we just accept the grey-suited bureaucrats who show up, demanding that we do things that run counter to the real. We accept theories that are based in aspirations rather than truths. And it affects our politics. And we vote for policies that are based in how we want human nature to be, rather than what it actually is.
We want there to be trillions of dollars there, so we just print it. We want people to act lawful without the police, so we just defund them. We want the world to operate without oil, so we just strangle the flow.
And we end up becoming the guy from New Jersey, telling the farmer that he doesn’t know what he knows he knows.
And some singer/songwriter, who just wants a moment’s peace before his show, has to listen to it.
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