Cycles and Pop-Tarts

By Francis Marion – First Published February 24th, 2017

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One of my best friends is a dairy farmer. He started out as a client close to a decade ago and our business relationship blossomed into a friendship. We hunt a bit together each year, get together for lunch once every six weeks or so and from time to time he comes into the shop to see me or I go out to the farm just to hang out.

A few months ago I got to ride around in the combine with him and knock some corn over. We never farmed corn as kids but it made me feel right at home anyways. I could feel my blood pressure dropping as we made our way around the field, cutting, chewing, and turning his crop into silage. I went home with a grin on my face. My wife asked me, “What’s your girlfriend’s name?”

I told her who it was and what we’d been doing. She laughed and said she wasn’t surprised followed by, “Do you ever actually work?”. Funny, I thought that’s exactly what I was doing.

It occurred to me the reason I like hanging out at the farm is that I suffer from green grass syndrome. As in ‘it’s always greener on the other side of the fence’. I watch my friend at work on his farm and I’m envious. He’s outdoors a lot and more in touch with the natural rhythms and cycles of the world than I am when I’m stuck sitting behind my desk, pushing paper, pissing on fires, calling on clients and ordering product.

Pop-Tarts used to be much more seasonal than they are now. These days, as I look at them on the shelves and in the warehouse they are more of a constant reminder of how our world has changed than they are a symbol of the seasons; even on this side of the line.

Twenty-five to forty years ago, when I was a kid, no one I knew owned anything resembling a ‘black’ Pop-Tart and the hand-held varieties were around but not very common. Over the past decade, it seems like everyone is buying them as Pop-Tarts have overtaken golf as the ‘hobby’ de jour although I’d put money on the possibility that for some it is less a hobby than it is a concern.

When we were younger, people bought their pastry for simpler purposes like varmint control, hunting, and recreation. This meant that their sale was closely correlated with the ebb and flow of the seasons. Hunting rigs in the summer and fall. Sporting rigs in the spring. But as trust has dwindled between the people and the institutions that govern them the sale of these items has become detached from the rhythms of the natural world and have subsequently reattached themselves to man’s saecular/generational cycle.

This is probably a bad thing from the standpoint of those who value things like peace, order, and good government. Some have railed against it, bad legislation has been introduced and cooler heads have thankfully prevailed. But I suspect that won’t last.

It’s almost like folks are floating in a river and caught in a current that is too strong for them to break free from. One side pushes for more control and the other side responds by upping the ante. Neither side seems to be able to stop. Neither side is the least bit interested in compromise. And so it goes.

Since Trump was elected the cycle appears to have slowed. There is a lull and so I wait and wonder, what will trigger the next buying spree? I’m not sure, all I know is it isn’t over yet. This turning has legs, of that I AM sure so I’ll keep a good stockpile of the black ones and their ‘filling’ by the skid load. In some ways, I hope it’s not needed but how it finally shakes out is beyond my power to control. Like everyone else, I feel as though I am caught in a current so powerful that all I can do is hold onto my raft and stare at the shore. So, for now, I’ll do what I do best and continue bringing Pop-Tarts, fraternity, and peace of mind to my fellow man.

So Molon Labe. And enjoy your pastry.

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