Jake was recruited as a volunteer parking attendant at the big annual tractor pull, one of the more popular events held over fair weekend. Folks drive in from all over the state to watch souped up tractors and big trucks vie for first place in a big empty field across from the fair grounds.
Jake showed up for work at 8:30 a.m., his skinny white legs protruding from a pair of Dockers shorts (a sight to behold on a man who otherwise lives in Carharrts) and spent the next twelve hours, working more or less by himself, directing motorists where to park their cars and trucks in a field. That may sound like not a terribly excruciating task until you consider the kind of crowd a tractor pull draws (it’s not a rock climbing competition).
By and large (and this is based purely on anecdotal evidence from a volunteer parking attendant), spectators to a tractor pull are not interested in walking. They do not want to park anywhere that requires them to leave their vehicles and stroll the 50 to 100 yards to the competition grounds. Jake said he lost count of the number of drivers who insisted on not only parking as close to the event as possible, but some insisted they had to park on the competition grounds themselves, each hacking up some colorful, curse-laden excuse.
“My cooler is too heavy to carry that far.”
“My foot hurts.”
“I gotta a f–in’ bum knee, man.”
“I have asthma.”
Naturally, the parking area closest to the competition filled up very quickly, forcing everyone else to park further than desired. This, he said, was for many a tragedy beyond description, like being sentenced to a POW camp, and accompanied by much complaining, all directed at Jake who was beginning to wonder why he’d volunteered for this thankless task:
“I wouldnta’ spent so much dough on a ticket if I knew I’d had to walk so f-ing far.”
“Well, this just f-ing sucks.”
“Misty, hold my cigarettes.”
To be fair, some people did have legitimate health concerns. There were a fair number of elderly attendees, pregnant women, men who limped. I’m sure some people really did have asthma. But by and large, Jake said most of the gripers were young, able bodied individuals just too lazy to walk any sort of distance.
Think about that for a minute. We’ve reached a point in our society where the simple act of walking is considered a hindrance, an encumbrance. People have become so accustomed to sitting on their cans all day every day that even the slightest suggestion of physical exertion — walking across a field — is enough to bring them to their knees.
And we wonder why in this great nation of ours 1 in 3 adults and 1 in 6 children are obese .
By the time Jake got home that night, his legs were badly sunburnt and his patience was kaput. He collapsed on the bed murmuring something about how he’d think twice about volunteering for this assignment next year.