Productivity vs. Uncle Ralph

Subject: Productivity vs. Uncle Ralph
From: Jack Shaw <jsh -at- SOFTWARE-AG -dot- DE>
Date: Mon, 9 May 1994 16:06:45 MEZ

I ran this thing about productivity by Uncle Ralph the other day
while he was hand-milking the goat. His lack of enthusiasm was
immediately apparent:

"Productivity? Shoot, I had a run-in with that about twenty
years back. Read this here article 'bout makin' chickens lay
more eggs in "Chicken Management" or one of them there magazines.
Tol' how yuh could make more chickens lay more eggs in less time
an' make more money in the process -- productivity, the city feller
that wrote that article called it..."

So I built li'l cubbies in the henhouse, hooked up lights, blacked
out the windows -- even took m' old radio from the barn 'n put it
in there with 'em to let it play day n' night."

It worked. Sure did...pretty soon, they was layin' so fast,
Ma couldn't gather them eggs fast enough. We had more eggs than we
knew what to do with. Pretty soon, I had to start doin' away with
some o' them chickens. But, Ma and I had more eggs 'n ever before
and I was spendin' more time shuckin' corn jus' to keep up with
the appetites of those birds. Don' get somethin' for nothin',
y'know...

Now, trouble was, lots o' my neighbors, they'd read that there
article by that city feller too, and they went an' done the same
as I did. With pretty much the same luck. Next thing y' knew, no
one was buyin' eggs -- there was more eggs 'n you could shake
your Mouse thingie at.

Heck, ol' Fred down the road, he never had nothin' to do with
chickens. Even HE started raisin' 'em. His wife Emma used to buy
their eggs from us, but like lots of other folks, they went pig
crazy for raisin' chickens so's they could get rich on the eggs...
Even ol' Widow Blye gave up growin' her prize-winnin' veg'ables,
had that there handyman from town come out 'n build her a henhouse.

Next thing we knew, everyone had their own chickens. We couldn't
give them eggs away. Easy money, everyone was sayin' when they
started. Big "ree-turn on investment" or some such...

And we had chicken to spare. All them extra chickens we'd retired
were fillin' up the freezer, and I was fast gettin' to where I
couldn't even smell chicken soup or eat chicken salad, much less
look at roast, baked, broiled or frickysee'd or whatever-you-call-it
chicken... .

Oh, we was productive, all right. Wound up chuckin' I-don'-know-how-
many eggs down the three-holer, jus' to get 'em outta here before
they became a health hazard. Saw ol' Fred one evenin' out in his
south 40 throwin' eggs at the crows...

And I never thought I'd see the day I'd 've eaten spinach from ol'
Widow Blye's garden for dessert, but boy...well, just don' ever ask
Ma and me over for a chicken omelette supper...


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