Posts Tagged Beets

A Series of Rather Terrible Decisions

I applied for (and was chosen for) the sugar beet draft this year.

All in all, it’s a very bizarre business seemingly predicated on a whole bunch of people with terrible judgment being allowed to make decisions.

Step one: Someone has to decide to farm.
Farming itself isn’t a terrible idea; it’s a great way to get outdoors and wake up at four and end up tan and fairly well-muscled and the owner of machinery that is either larger than or more expensive than the average house–possibly both.  It’s just–aside from subsidies and all that–your returns are dependent upon the weather.  It can’t be too hot, it can’t be too cold, too wet, too dry, too bugs or hail or tornado.  You’ve probably noticed a theme.

Poor decision Step two: This person must farm sugar beets.  Sugar beets are ugly, occasionally football-sized mutant cousins of regular beets that taste pretty much exactly how you would expect them to taste.  (Yes, I did.  No, it wasn’t a dare.)

Step three, and here is where it gets tricky: Said person must be willing to entrust these rotund little rooted fellows to, in some cases, complete strangers or people who know their friends who may never have driven either a truck or a manual transmission before.  (My secret shame!  But what do you want?  It’s not as if I had a spare car.)

So here’s where I come in, and where we switch perspectives.

Step four:  I show up at a field with a truck, and for reasons that I don’t want to explain, get an unstoppable urge to take beets from someone, letting some poor unsuspecting tractor driver fill the truck up with more beets than I could possibly want or use.  (If you’re keeping count, that’s at least one beet.)

Step five:  After driving about a mile, I begin to regret my actions.

Step six:  What in the name of Pete Sampras am I going to do with 20,000 pounds of beets?

Step seven:  I drive half a dozen miles into town, following antlike beet-truck trails toward the hive, where I and hundreds of other misguided truckers are fortunate enough to find people who will take the world’s ugliest crop off our hands.  In return, I receive a slip of paper.  Some less-fortunate drivers simply give up, cut their losses, head home, and end up with ten tons of awful brown lumps on their lawn.

Step eight:  Leave.  Probably the most rational decision I’ve made all week.

Step nine: Contract Chronic Beetlust again.  Discard rational thought once more.  Repeat steps four through nine for approximately two weeks.


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