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I know that after reading the title, you’re probably thinking, “Why don’t I go buy a lifted truck and bend my cousin over the rear bumper while we’re at it?” This is a totally legitimate claim. No offense to people living on farms, but you don’t give us much to go off of. All we have is our imaginations to paint an idea of the lives you lead. Maybe you run moonshine? Maybe your father is also your uncle? I don’t know, but why should you care what I think? You guys have it all figured out, and I only realized this last week after I started my new job as an orchard worker in “bumfuck and you gotta purty mouth,” middle of nowhere, rural Washington.
If you’re anything like me, you probably have two major goals for this summer. The first — and the most admirable — is retrieving your body from the Fallout-like wasteland it was forced into last semester, because downing a couple Addy XRs every morning with the handle of Skol that you also use as mouthwash just gets the job done better than Maxwell House. The second — and the most important — is saving up enough cash so that you can continue the previously mentioned lifestyle next semester. And if you think this summer marks the beginning of some health kick that lasts until your dying days, you are hopelessly out of touch with reality.
Realistically, you only have three or four months to pull your life and wallet together before both get blown apart again during syllabus week. This is why finding a job on a farm should be priority number one. Farmers are practically begging for workers during summertime, and who better to do it than college kids? The work is something you can take pride in, it’s essentially a gym membership that pays you, the pay is good, the hours aren’t bad, and cracking open a cold one with the boys is all the more enjoyable after a long day in the fields.
My first realization about agricultural work was that you never have to deal with shitty people. Sure, there is the occasional awkward interaction with the non-English speaking migrant worker, but that’s easily fixable with a smile and a nod. And there certainly are no middle-aged soccer moms asking if they can speak to your manager; no little shits running around fucking up your place of business. You don’t even need to pretend to like your boss. In fact, just a few days ago I told my boss to go fuck himself after he wanted me to work a double for a sick coworker. All he said was, “I can’t; already did that this morning.” That was it. He just walked away, and went back to what I can only guess involved a couple yee yees and firing an AR-15 into the sky. What a guy.
The second thing I discovered about farm life is that the work is brutal in the most beneficial way imaginable. Don’t misunderstand me here; I am not whining, but I do feel it’s important to point out that if you’ve never worked on a farm, you probably haven’t been exposed to a more intense form of paid labor. Most likely, you’ll be working north of 50 hours per week. It’s backbreaking, and there seems to be no end to the things on your to-do list while you’re out there. This is where your health is taken care of along with your wealth. I’m not trying to brag, but I have more money at this point than I know what to do with (within reason, of course; I’d be dropping bands left and right if I could). No matter how much you can bench, you haven’t really put in work until you spend 9 hours in the baking sun carrying bundles of sprinklers up and down rows of apple trees. Forget about your tanning hobby as well. Really quick, to guys who go tanning: does it hurt when your girlfriend rails you with a strap-on, or have you gotten used to it by now? Either way, within days of beginning this job I could feel parts of my mind and body, that I had forgotten belonged to me, come back online. I’ve also got a good bronze going on right now, not that I care or anything.
Farm life ain’t easy, and it ain’t for everyone. But if a city slicker such as myself can do it, I bet most of you entitled pricks can too. Get off your ass and do something worthwhile before you go back to ruining yourself and those around you..
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