I’m ashamed to admit it…
…but I’ve listened to some sugary pop song awhile back that said something like, “Living in a Barbie world, life in plastic, it’s fantastic” or some senseless dribble like that. It occurred to me that we are living in a plastic world where people are unaware of the reality behind their creature comforts.
For example: I am the proud owner a 1989 Chevy cargo van. Awhile back I decided that since it’s as big as a billboard I might as well use it as such. I dug some cans of forgotten house paint from the back corner of the garage and emblazoned MailOrderPoultry.com on the side of the van. It really stood out. So much so that about six months later I got tired of being stared at and covered the van with flat black truck bed liner. My wife now refers to my man van as “the creeper van.” But I digress. One time, before I had painted my van black, I found myself at McDonalds using their free wifi. The van was out in the parking lot screaming my website at everyone who happened to glance at it. Apparently the cashier noticed it sitting out in the parking lot. I overheard her remark how cruel it was to put chickens in the mail. The irony of the situation was that she was serving McChickens to presumably hungry people (although some of the people being served definitely didn’t look hungry). She was so removed from the process of butchering the chicken, it didn’t occur to her that a chicken was killed to produce the sandwich in her hand. We’re living in a fake world where people assume things just magically happen without any effort.
We don’t appreciate things anymore.
We’re so isolated from the processes that are equipped to sustain our modern lifestyle that we totally take them for granted and forget to be thankful.
We like our smartphones but we don’t appreciate the complex infrastructure behind our LTE access. We just use the awesome capabilities of mobile Internet to post selfies of us eating a taco. We get mad if our taco eating pic takes three seconds to upload, never mind the fact that the information is being made accessible to anyone in the world.
We can fly to the ends of the earth in twenty hours but we get super ticked if a flight is delayed thirty minutes. Do you realize that you used to have to float on a freakin’ boat across the ocean for weeks? Stop whining. Traversing the world in less than a day is awesome.
Who doesn’t love a hot chicken sandwich? But the fact is that a chicken was killed to provide you with that. Now, I believe chickens are animals to be used in an ethical manner to feed people. But the process of butchering involves lots of feathers, stench, hot water, blood, and headless chickens running in circles (although I suspect the commercial meat industry has refined that process somewhat). The process of eating eggs involves feeding chickens, gathering eggs, adjusting dietary needs, culling sick chickens or nursing your birds back to health, and cleaning out poop from dark corners of chicken coops. It takes work. But if you don’t work for something, you don’t appreciate it. This is true throughout life.
Anyway, I feel like I’m whining a lot. Sorry about that.
My point is that it’s good for people to appreciate the effort that goes into things.
It promotes thanksgiving. And this is the time of year where we typically start promoting such things. There is a movement in our culture to step back from the ungrateful rush to ever greater convenience and to take pause and appreciate the process. Hobby farming is enjoying a comeback and I know why. There is something overwhelmingly satisfying in being involved in the creation of the food on the table. You know the chicken that laid your eggs. You know that Henrietta is suffering from a calcium deficiency and that’s why you bought crushed oyster shell last night so you can help her out. You want her eggs to have nice, consistent shells. You raised and butchered the broilers that are now flavoring your chicken noodle soup. The lettuce on your chicken sandwich was free because it came from your garden – which you weeded, hoed, and fenced off so rabbits wouldn’t eat it. If you think about it, It makes sense why people used to say grace before a meal. They were aware of the fact that the food before them took work, risk, and planning to produce. They kept their flock from disease, cared for them every step of the way, and kept predators at bay. There was always another challenge to overcome so they could keep their future lunches a possibility. After a long series of events you finally have food on the table. It makes sense that they wanted to thank someone for the fact that they aren’t going hungry because they were very aware of the possibility of rumbling tummies. We need some reality injected back into our lives. I think buying a flock of laying hens is a good place to start. Or start a garden. Whatever. Learn to appreciate the what goes into your survival by getting involved with it. And trust me, over easy farm fresh eggs with bright yolks on top of home made toast? Ain’t nothing better. Get started here.