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Dating games

January 9, 2013
By Jerry Nelson , Marshall Independent

The advent of the Internet has changed our lives in many ways. For example, how did we ever manage to waste time before Angry Birds?

Dating is another activity that has been revolutionized by the Information Age. These days, finding a prospective mate is simply a matter of logging onto a dating website and checking a series of boxes; a process that sounds about as adventurous and romantic as getting a bag of Cheetos from a vending machine.

Online dating can easily lead to exaggerating, which can give rise to a few white lies, which can engender the habit of overt fibbing. Such behavior can bring about unintended consequences. For instance, if I were still in the dating game, my shins would be constantly skinned.

This is because I would be tempted to fudge my profile photo just a teensy bit - what's a little Photoshopping between friends? - and then maybe a tiny bit more, and perhaps just one more tweak until my online photo gave the impression that I'm an identical twin to George Clooney.

This would force me to go about all day with my head inside a paper sack that has a photo of George glued onto it. And you know how you can never get those eye holes just right, which inevitably leads to painful run-ins with such things as stairs, coffee tables and fiscal cliffs.

So I thank my lucky stars that my dating days ended before the Internet came along. One wonders how we managed, especially when you consider that smoke signals were considered state-of-the-art when I first met my future wife.

One thing that hasn't changed is the fact that that you need some sort of "wow!" factor to impress your prospective spouse. Nowadays, that task is as effortless as copying and pasting a photo of a movie star. A more convincing case could be made if you also "borrowed" his credit report and Oscar statuette.

Wooing a mate was much more difficult back when. Fortunately for me, fate came to my rescue in the form of a three-legged steer.

We had a beastly cold January the year I first began dairy farming. One of my cows birthed a bull, a little Holstein calf that was as peppy as a percolator full of hot coffee. But he suddenly fell seriously ill in the midst of a 30 below cold snap.

A veterinarian was summoned and the calf was diagnosed with pneumonia. The vet said that he could certainly treat the animal, but felt it was his fiduciary duty to point out that the cost would very likely exceed the value of the calf.

It was my first bull calf, so I told the good doctor to do whatever it took and hang the cost.

I did everything in my power to save that critter. He was given a deep pile of straw to lie upon and was fed and medicated according to the vet's instructions. I would have sung to him, but had learned long ago that my melodic efforts causes dogs to cower and sends cats screeching away into the night.

It was touch and go, but the calf lived. Well, most of him.

When the calf regained his feet, I noticed that something was amiss with one of his back legs. I soon discovered that the affected limb had been frozen. "That little bugger is toast!" I thought.

But no! He managed to survive even though the lower part of his leg did not. I eventually scrounged up an old 2-by-4 with the intention of constructing a prosthesis for him but quickly realized that I lacked the necessary whittling skills.

When spring arrived, my brother and I trundled the calf into my pickup. I then chauffeured the three-legged bovine to a local abattoir where he was tenderly and lovingly converted into steaks and roasts. I estimate that between the vet bills and the feed costs - and not including anything for my labor! - the resulting beef cost approximately a jillion dollars per pound.

No tears were shed over the calf's departure. After all, the dinner table had always been his destiny; he simply arrived at it earlier than expected.

Which was lucky for me, because later that spring I met a very interesting young lady. Hoping to impress her, I cooked supper for us one evening, a feast that included small yet succulent farm-fresh steaks.

"Wow!" she exclaimed as she sliced into the buttery sirloin, "Do you eat like this all the time?"

"Pretty much," I replied.

It was a bit of a fib, but what's a little truth-stretching between future spouses?

 
 

 

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