By George! I’ve done it. I’ve solved “The Farm Problem.” Well, really my wife solved it after I asked her if she had seen a hammer recently.
“Which hammer?” she asked.
“Any hammer,” I said, “The red one or the blue one or the neon green one.” The latter was supposed to glow in the dark in case I ever lost it at night. However, I lost it during the day.
“No, the last time I saw a hammer it was lying somewhere,” she advised.
I went to check all the usual places a pounding implement might lay, hang, or drop on my farm, but after an extensive search, I chalked up another casualty to the Bermuda Triangle for hammers, tape measures, and quarter-inch wrenches that centers over our farm.
The Farm Problem, you’ll remember, is the fact that farmers can’t afford to farm. This problem has persisted for eons; in fact, some economists speculate it dates back to when the first nomads gave up hunting and gathering and decided to feed the world. And yet, my wife quickly solved it when I returned home with a new orange hammer from the hardware megastore. (Interestingly, I can’t remember the location of a single hammer on my own farm, but I’ve memorized the aisle and bin number for all tools at the hardware store). Upon my arrival home with a new hammer, she said, “We’d have a lot more money if you’d stop buying the same tools over and over again.”
“Oh contraire,” I replied. “You’re forgetting opportunity costs. By buying a new hammer, I save time searching for an old one–and time is money.”
“Don’t flatter yourself,” she said, “I believe there’s an inverse relationship between the time you spend trying to farm and the direction of our bank account.”
“Hmpph,” I said, “Just think about all that money we made selling homegrown tomatoes on the roadside stand. We even had a few Sacagawea coins in the honor box. Those’ll be worth millions one day.”
“What about that old rusty hammer-mill thing you bought,” she asked, “can’t you just make hammers in it?”
“No, absolutely not. A hammer mill does not make hammers. It grinds grain to smithereens so animals can get the full nutritional value of my homegrown oats, barley, and corn blend.”
“They should call it a grain mill then, not a hammer mill,” she said, “Furthermore, you should just put your tools in their proper place–that would solve the whole farm problem.”
And there you have it. Farm problem solved.