‘Heartland’ Confessions

There’s something I’ve wanted to get off my chest for quite some time.

I’m not necessarily who you think I am. I might be “From the Heartland,” however, the closest I’ve ever come to truly experiencing the Heartland firsthand is probably the petting zoo at our annual county fair. Even petting zoos completely freak me out. Within minutes of my two boys feeding some deranged goats they’ve already received several coats of hand sanitizer. I have this reoccurring nightmare of waking up some morning finding Thing 1 and Thing 2 grazing in my front yard after contracting Hoof and Mouth disease. I could never forgive myself.

I know you’re disappointed, but wait, that’s not all. In kindergarten when asked where cheese came from I said Wisconsin. When I was 9 my grandpa let me cut the grass for the first time on his beloved riding lawn mower. Not more than ten minutes later my mower license had been revoked after running over an unidentified extension cord, now tightly coiled and completely sucking the life out of grandpa’s pride and joy.

When I was 23, I was mocked and ridiculed by two workers at an Indy Lube station after they witnessed my wife changing my windshield wiper blades following several failed attempts from yours truly. I’m not done yet.

I drive a two-door Honda Civic because I’m not tough enough to drive a truck. Guys who drive trucks have tools, which they use to fix things. My tools are my cell phone and the Yellow Pages. On that same note, my biggest fear when I go in to have my oil changed is knowing they’ll ask me if my car is a four or six cylinder. I have no idea, but I always say six because I was born in June, the sixth month of the year.

I recently bought a pair of cowboy boots. I wore them to the office, which I assumed was a fairly safe place to try them out. My coworkers informed me Halloween was still 10 months away. And finally, I have absolutely no sense of direction. I prefer landmarks to street signs and rely heavily on my GPS. This was best exemplified four years ago when I missed my cousin’s high school graduation in Waterloo, IA after starting in Albert Lea, MN and finishing in Canton, SD.

I could go on, but you get the point. Now in my defense, I’m great at manual labor. To save money for college I spent two summers working in a potato salad factory. Let’s just say when it came to packaging, cutting cabbage and tossing spuds, I was in a league of my own.

So to summarize, I would say my work ethic is definitely Heartland worthy. I can wash one heck of a kitchen floor. However, if you ever need help changing a tire, backing up a trailer or advice on fertilizer applications, you’d best look elsewhere. That’s it, thanks for listening. I feel so much better.

Marcus Ludtke graduated from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn., in 2001 and started working for POET Risk Management in May of that year. His primary responsibilities include managing POET’s corn position and market research.



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