President's message

Surviving life: Advice for the swine veterinarian

John WaddellI have a friend in Oklahoma, known only as "Boots," who persists in for-warding to me every junk e-mail he receives. I would bet most people have either a "friend" or brother-in-law who does the same thing. I actually have gotten to the point of not opening most of those tidbits of worthless knowledge solely on the basis of the sender and the subject line. Once in a while, however, I will admit, the subject line tweaks my interest, so I am compelled to take a peek. This president's message sprang from one of those weak moments.

The e-mail was from Boots and the subject line read: "Fw: Country Wisdom." As is usual when I open that type of message, my expectations were not high. The first line on this list of "wisdoms" was: "Don't name a pig you plan to eat." Hey, if it mentions pigs in the first line, it has my attention. I immediately scrolled down the page, landing on the last line of a long list. It said: "Most of the stuff people worry about never happens." The hook was set ... I was reeled in! Not only did the first line mention pigs, some of those were "wisdoms" that Dad imparted years ago in father-son talks! This had to be good stuff. I could hardly believe that it came in the form of a forwarded e-mail from Boots.

I had already made good progress on the next message for the journal and I was staring the deadline in the face. I asked myself if I could possibly stoop so low as to use a junk e-mail as fodder for a column. Next, I found myself searching the Internet for a source of this list of "country wisdom." Surely, these golden nuggets had to have an author to credit. Not a chance! The search of the first line yielded umpteen pages of hits, but none gave any hint of the original author, only "Unknown." I am fairly certain that Boots had nothing to do with the authorship, although a few of these gems probably originated in Oklahoma (eg, "Don't skinny dip with snapping turtles").

After much consternation and self-examination, I decided to plagiarize the entire e-mail and include these "wisdoms" for your enrichment. Maybe it isn't really plagiarism, since I did credit Boots for the e-mail. I suppose I will find out within a few days of this being printed. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

Country wisdom

  • Don't name a pig you plan to eat.
  • Country fences need to be horse high, pig tight, and bull strong.
  • Life is not about how fast you run or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.
  • Keep skunks and lawyers at a distance.
  • Life is simpler when you plow around the stumps.
  • A bumble bee is faster than a John Deere tractor.
  • Trouble with a milk cow is, she won't stay milked.
  • Don't skinny dip with snapping turtles.
  • Words that soak into your ears are whispered, not yelled.
  • To know how country folks are doing, look at their barns, not their houses.
  • Never lay an angry hand on a kid or an animal, it just ain't helpful.
  • Teachers, moms, and hoot owls sleep with one eye open.
  • Forgive your enemies. It messes with their heads.
  • Don't sell your mule to buy a plow.
  • Two can live as cheap as one if one don't eat.
  • Don't corner something meaner than you.
  • You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar - assuming you want to catch flies.
  • Man is the only critter who feels the need to label things as flowers or weeds.
  • It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
  • Don't go huntin' with a fellow named Chug-A-Lug.
  • You can't unsay a cruel thing.
  • Every path has some puddles.
  • Don't wrestle with pigs: you'll get all muddy and the pigs will love it.
  • The best sermons are lived, not preached.
  • Most of the stuff people worry about never happens.

-- John Waddell