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Township Roads Ė Bragging Rights


Fri, Nov 29th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

Deb and I traveled to Minot recently to attend the Board meeting of our national farm management instructorsí organization. One of our colleagues told us that he had received a nice compliment from his administrator back home. He was asked, "What bunch of geniuses planned a board meeting in Minot in November?" We all felt pretty good about that.On the way back from our two-day week in Minot, we stopped at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn, North Dakota. Lewis and Clark, long overlooked in history, now are claimed as "homeboys" by North Dakota and several other states. We learned from a North Dakotan that Lewis and Clark spent the first winter of their famous trip in North Dakota. I wondered what genius planned that itinerary.I browsed the bookshelves in the gift shop at the Interpretive Center. My eye was drawn to a book authored by Tony Bender. Bender is a North Dakota columnist, probably about my age, who has been writing and otherwise communicating for many years. His book was a compilation of some hand-picked columns, most of them humorous. Heís really very good. However, I noticed that he tends to derive much of his humor from putting himself down. He makes fun of himself and his attempts to do things. I think he might actually exaggerate some of the things that happen to him to make them seem funnier. Whoever heard of such a thing? Why do writers keep going to that stale old well time after time just to get a chuckle? I wonít compare myself with an accomplished writer like Tony Bender. I am far too self- deprecating, modest and humble. However, I am going to blow my own horn yet again. I am better than Tony Bender in at least one area. In his story titled, "No Ordinary Project", Bender tells how he became physically sick after dining at a restaurant with his wife and young son. The food was good, but he was overwhelmed with nausea as he changed his babyís diaper out in the parking lot. Iím tougher than he is. That kind of thing never bothered me. I was always right there in the thick of it, so to speak, with all three of my kids. Maybe I gained some tolerance from being raised on a livestock farm where you often had to stick your hands, arms or face into or near some fairly unpleasant settings. This may be an unfair advantage to me, but in this one area, I am the champion over Tony Bender.Now, when it comes to blood, thatís another story. Other peoplesí blood is bad enough, but my own is the worst. It isnít necessarily the sight of my own blood that bothers me. Just the thought of the sight of my own blood can make me woozy. By the time I see my blood, I had better be finding a place to be voluntarily horizontal or I will soon be going down for the count.Iíve tried to overcome this aversion to my blood. I even tried to donate. The Mayo Clinic was happy to have me there the first time and I donated my pint. The second time I went to donate blood, the technician made the mistake of talking to me about the procedure. A few seconds later she looked at me and said, "You donít feel very well, do you?" That was the end of that session. They were very nice to me then. Iíll bet I saw three doctors and six nurses in the next ten minutes as the call went out, "Cold and clammy in room two!" I was back to see them one more time and successfully bled out a pint for them, but I got the impression I was more trouble than my blood was worth. Itís just chicken blood after all.Well, this didnít turn out quite as I thought it might. Try as I will, my attempts at bragging just donít seem to amount to much. I may be a champion diaper changer, but I am also a chicken blood donor. I fear I may yet have to resort to self-deprecation. Hey, it works for Tony Bender.



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