Saturday, November 5, 2011


  I was filling out an online poll the other day, and I came to the part where it asks you to check the box for your occupation.  After reading through the usual choices (accounting, finance, law, medicine, mechanic, teacher, etc.), I came to the last box.  Other.  And of course, there was a blank to fill in what "other" is.  My first thought was, "I am a Jedi, like my father before me."  Then I thought, no, that would skew the results of the poll.
  So I began to think about what would best describe "other".  Last week, for instance, I was a veterinarian.  Today, I was a demolitionist.  Someday soon, and I'm dreading this, I'll be a mechanic.  Next week, I plan on being a trucker for awhile.  When all else fails, I'm a groundskeeper.
  Some days I'm a welder, but before I can be that I must be an engineer.  And often times engineering leads to construction as well, not to mention concrete pourer.  And when I get the bill for that, I become an accountant.  And through everything, I end up being a secretary and communications expert as well, relying on technology to keep tabs on prices, supplies, and orders.
  As is often the case in my line of work, I must become a politician, if I want policy to be steered in a way that's beneficial to those in my line of work.  And in doing so, I have to be a teacher also, so those making policy understand the ups and downs of what folks like myself deal with every day. 
  Some days I cowboy up.  Now we're getting closer.  If I'm being honest, this is where I probably lack the most, even though it's the most enjoyable part of my job.  In fact, if it weren't for cowboying, I probably wouldn't be any of the rest of those things.  Being outside, relying on nature for my welfare, and trying to improve on the results of generations of hard work keeps me challenged and focused.
  I usually just answer the occupation question with "farmer".  For awhile, I used the term "beef producer", but that sounds rather industrial in my opinion.  I'm not just a rancher, though, because I also spend an enormous amount of time in the field, tilling, planting, mowing, baling, harvesting, and hauling.  Not to mention feeding and caring for a multitude of livestock.
  I'm sure I've missed countless things that thousands upon thousands like me, before me, and after me, would list as their daily duties.  Truth be told, it's nearly impossible to accomplish all that needs to be done in a day.  But there's no overtime pay, no time and a half, and no paid vacations.  Much like a postal worker, even more effort is put in during the rain, sleet, and dark of night.  Because there can be no end to the caring for the gift given to all of us to use for the good of our neighbors as well as ourselves.  The land, the animals, and the plants that make it possible for all of us to thrive need to be protected by those of us who have been doing so for an eternity.
  I guess they need to make a box that I can mark for steward.

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