In the Shop
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
Stop The Madness
Mar 24, 2010
When it comes to farm fashions, I'm pretty much a traditionalist. It was difficult, but I eventually got used to farmers coming to the dealership dressed in shorts. I understand their desire for comfort on a hot summer day, and even got used to the unique individuals who wore cowboy boots with their cargo shorts.
I also eventually accepted farmers wearing pricey athletic shoes as their work shoes. I grew up in a culture where it was a status symbol for elementary school boys to wear lace-up work boots to school because they wanted to be like their farmer fathers. I'm not sure how practical it is to shovel out a grain bin or hog pen wearing low-top sneakers that cost $100 per pair, but... if it works for them, who am I to criticize?
I even got used to all the weird hats that farmers wear nowadays. I used to be pretty religious about the type, style and proper brim profile of the seed corn or machinery dealer hat that I wore. But I've adapted, and even have a floppy-brimmed "boonie" hat I wear when fishing (thanks to a run-in with skin cancer).
But, folks, today I encountered something that I just can't deal with. A customer arrived at the dealership in a requisite mud-covered 4-wheel-drive pickup with the bed full of used baler twine and empty feed sacks. The dashboard was layered with scale tickets from the Co-op and empty Slim Jim wrappers. It was a very respectable example of a farm truck. Then the farmer got out -- wearing BLUE POLYESTER SWEAT PANTS WITH WHITE STRIPES DOWN THE LEGS.
I confess to wearing gray cotton sweat pants in the privacy of my own home, but what self-respecting farmer would be seen at a farm equipment dealership wearing DESIGNER sweat pants...? I was appalled. This sort of insult to farm fashion must stop. Where is our pride, where is our respect for the long-standing tradition of being totally and blissfully ignorant of fashion trends?
I'm not sure how much more disrespect for farm culture and tradition I can tolerate. I'm warning you, if a customer comes into the shop wearing bibbed overalls with a Lands End sweater draped over his shoulders and the sleeves loosely knotted in front of his neck...well, it won't be pretty, especially if I'm holding an air-powered grease gun.