May 19, 2013
Written by Joe Pisani
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 00:00
Last week I was happier than the guy who won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes and moved to the Samoan Islands, where women in grass skirts served him piña coladas and strummed on ukuleles.
When I opened the mailbox, nestled among the bills and beneath even more bills was my passport to freedom, the first piece of mail to excite me since 1999 when I got a refund from the IRS, which I promptly used to pay my taxes to the state of Connecticut.
Curled up in the box was a magazine I’ve been dreaming about. Not “Maxim,” I’m too old; not “The Atlantic,” I’m too shallow; not “Martha Stewart Living,” I’m too low-class.
It was “Hobby Farms,” the periodical for wannabe farmers. On the cover was a picture of a pig that looked like Wilbur in “Charlotte’s Web.” He — or was it a she? I better figure this out if I’m going to be a gentleman farmer — had a muddy snout with grass in his mouth and seemed to be smiling. Do pigs smile?
There were pieces about raising goats, raising winter crops and stabling horses. I’d rather read this stuff than those financial advice articles about how you can retire at 55 even though you lost your pension and your 401(k) is kaput.
“What the %&#! is this?” my daughter sneered when she saw me reading about tractors. Then, the little snitch screamed, “MOM!!! Look what Dad’s wasting his money on!!!”
Back in the ‘60s, we all fantasized about living off the land, but we abandoned those dreams when we put the ball and chain around our legs and went to work for The Man.
We joined the nameless masses competing for a title and a corner office by engaging in the sacred practice of memo-writing, instead of doing something productive like growing turnips and raising chickens.
Sad to say, the so-called “Millennials,” the 80 million young people born between 1982 and 2000, don’t have those fantasies because they’re going right for the ball and chain.
To my thinking, there’s no greater pleasure than growing your own food. Even though I grew up in farm country, the closest I ever got to farming was a rosemary plant decorated with Christmas ornaments that I kept on my nightstand until it died because I forgot to water it.
My family thinks this is just another indication I’m going through what they calculate is my third mid-life crisis, but I’m convinced that after I bring home the goat cheese, they’ll change their tune.
When I brought the magazine to the office, my coworker tore out the subscription card because her husband and his friend constantly talk about living off the land in suburban New Jersey. But I suspect they’ll be doing that without their wives, who are more interested in shopping at Saks than milking goats.
Is this a new movement, or are these the fantasies of middle-aged men mired in the daily grind because the ball is too heavy, and the chain is too tight?
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