I’m fairly certain this bit of humorous writing will never make it into the Press & Dakotan in its intended form, so I present it unedited here for my blog readers. Yes, it’s based on actual events. Parental discretion is advised as (necessary) explicit language follows …
“It’s been a crappy week.”
“Today was a total shitstorm.”
I hear these expressions all the time.
As someone who is a survivor of an actual shitstorm, you have no idea how insensitive and offensive these statements are to me.
Until you’ve had manure raining down upon you, cached in your hair and clouding your vision, you don’t have the right to use those words.
Until you’ve had the bitter taste of manure in your mouth, you are not allowed to say, “I just ate a shit sandwich.”
Let me tell you about the day shit happened to me.
It was approximately six years ago. The sun was shining. Life was good.
I was on the family farm west of Crofton, Neb., doing something I had done many times before — hauling slurry produced by our dairy cow herd out to the field.
This involves a pipe stemming from the Slurrystore (a huge round, open-air structure that holds countless tons of manure) that fills a wagon pulled around by a tractor. Another tractor attached to a PTO shaft helps pump the slurry into the wagon. It can also push the manure straight up through a separate pipe that shoots it over the side of the Slurrystore. This assists with the process of mixing the manure inside and breaks up the solids.
The wagon was full, so I shut off the loading pipe and maneuvered the levers so the slurry would shoot over the side of the Slurrystore. To help with this process, I revved up the engine of the tractor attached to the PTO shaft — just as I had done on countless occasions.
But this time was different.
As I leapt down the steps of the tractor and began to walk away, I saw a shadow. It was a shadow of doom, I soon learned.
Turning around, I saw a fountain of manure shooting out of the pipe and raining down on the tractor and surrounding area. A weak spot in the pipe had burst. It looked a lot like the shit had just hit the fan.
At that moment, I knew I was being tested. Was I a man or a boy?
A boy would run away and insist someone else do something about this crappy situation. A man would have to run into the shitstorm and shut off the tractor to put an end to it.
The odor of fear was strong, but I wanted to be a man.
Putting aside my vanity, I sprinted into the manure and shut off the tractor. The shitstorm ended, and I was covered in cow feces.
But I felt reassured.
Yes, I would not be able to shake the smell of shit for a week. Yes, my brothers, cousins and uncles would think the whole thing was hilarious.
However, I knew that I was the man my father and mother had hoped I would become. I may not have run into a burning building to save a child, but I had entered a shitstorm to save a tractor. That’s pretty darn close to the same thing.
So don’t tell me that shit happens. I know it happens, and I was there when it happened.
And, please, every time you think you’ve had a shitty day, take a moment. Think of me being suffocated by the wet, brown tentacles of manure that streamed across my entire body before they slowly dried to a crust in the midday sun.
In that moment, be thankful that you haven’t survived an actual shitstorm and have some respect for those of us who have managed such an extraordinary feat.
OK, you’ve made it through all that sh*t.
Now, let me reward you. I might as well post this, since my brothers and close friends won’t let it slide.
You see, rather than getting mad at my luck the day I was covered in manure, I decided to look at the humorous side of it all. Before the afternoon was out, I rounded up my brother, Chris, and said, “I’ve got an idea for a film.”
I had a character and story formed in my mind, and I bet we shot this (totally professional) piece within 15 minutes. Chris then took the footage and formed it into what you see here. We’ve gotten a lot of laughs out of it. Maybe you will, too.
My mom took the photo at the end upon my request. I knew it was a day I wouldn’t want to forget. It was probably the shittiest day of my life — at least I hope it was!