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The Last Windrow: We lived a reality TV farm life

If they'd had reality TV shows when I was growing up, I'd have made a million dollars. Well, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars; well, maybe they'd have paid me my mileage to the studio.

If they'd had reality TV shows when I was growing up, I'd have made a million dollars. Well, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars; well, maybe they'd have paid me my mileage to the studio.

I and many others lived a reality TV farm life.

My wife and I were recently viewing a reality TV show on a group of folks who had taken up residence in the wilds of Alaska. I'm sure most of you have stumbled across such shows, which seem to be in vogue these days. In search of advertising revenue, producers have lowered themselves to actually paying no-name human beings to act like they know what they're doing in tense situations. Darwin's theory is at work here.

Just last week I saw a guy get a chain saw wedged in a tree. It was obivious to me, a seasoned chain saw expert, that this dude knew virtually nothing about how to use a chain saw.

Oh, there was groaning and moaning as his partner discovered this error in judgement, upon which the elder person chewed out his fellow survivor and blamed him for making the commune suffer starvation during the upcoming winter.  

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I flipped the channel when the owner of the chain saw declared that it was broken without hope of fixing. Give me a break.  

I and many of my farm generation lived through reality. We avoided charging bulls. We defended ourselves from roosters run amok and we escaped by the skin of our teeth when the rope broke while lifting a fork full of loose hay into the haymow.

There were neighbors who forgot to put their hands on the tractor steering wheel, which in turn headed the tractor in our direction, out of control, only to bang to a stop an inch from our body after hitting an apple tree.  

There were times when someone caught his shotgun on the barbed wire fence discharging a load of #6 shot in our direction. I remember a time walking down the frozen Big Sioux River when a crack was heard from where we had just tread and when we turned to look, a huge hole had opened up with our footprints coming and going across the abyss.

That was reality.  

I'm not saying that these modern TV types are not real, but I have a problem when they have a problem and there is a helicopter immediately dispatched to their rescue. Someone must have a cell phone up there on the muskeg. There weren't many helicopters around when the bull put my dad up the windmill tower.

I answered the phone a year or so ago and it was a producer from New Jersey. She asked me if I knew of anyone in our area of Minnesota who might make a good candidate for a reality show. Well, I thought for a moment about my coffee slurping friends and, indeed, there were a few candidates who might have made the grade.  

From the description of their exploits, they might have been real television material. But, I couldn't bring myself to nominate any of them lest they be made a spectacle of themselves on national cable TV.  

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Maybe some of my more urban neighbors believe this stuff. Maybe I'm just jealous that I wasn't given the opportunity to grab the gold ring and reap big dollars for my appearance on such a show? Maybe I'm just sane?

At least I know enough not to get my chain saw wedged in a tree. And, I've survived many harsh winters up here on the tundra. I just never got paid for it.   

See you next time. Okay?

 

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