As if I’m begging to gain a lesson in patience and humility, I’ve embarked on too many Green Acres projects with a spring and a whistle. “How hard can this be?”
Keeping Donkey and Yoti inside the already fenced pasture seemed simple enough. I found the areas of weakness where they were busting through and researched where folks who own livestock go to gear up.
As the doors flung open into Callahan’s General Store, you could hear a faint angels’ chorus with a western drawl. Stepping past the baby goats by the cash registers, I was surprised by my reaction to the endless square feet of country goods and goodness for sale. In truth, I had the same rush I get when entering the Apple Store—with post hole diggers, cast iron skillets, and hand cranked ice-cream freezers replacing Apple TVs, iPads, and Thunderbolt Display Monitors. My life is going to be better if I just buy all this stuff.
Eddy was helpful despite my obvious city slicker ignorance, and hooked me up with T-Post Clips, Barbless Cable, Heavy-Duty Wire Strainer, In-Line Strainer Handle, Fencing Pliers, a Clip Bender, and a pair of work gloves. Donkey and Yoti didn’t stand a chance.
I drove my ’92 Volvo 240 up the dirt road early to get the jump on them. Ears raised, they watched me from a distance as I utilized all my new handy tools, along with some YouTube videos, to stretch, tighten, and escape-proof their six-acre home. Drenched in sweat with busted fingers, I called Kirsten to claim my first land-man victory. Before my wife even answered the phone, Donkey and Yoti slowly made their way toward me and the last corner I’d secured.
“I did it, babe! Oh look, they are coming over to tell me good job. Hello, Donkey. Hello, Yoti.”
Before I could finish bragging to my wife, Yoti boldly propped his nose at my feet under the tightened fence and in three brisk nods he shoved the T-Post clips to the ground, and walked under the wire like a bad ass. Donkey followed with haughty confidence and they started grazing with the broken fence between us.
I now understand where the term “smart ass” comes from. My miniature donkeys waited three hours for me to call my wife in order to maximize my humiliation and defeat. They believed the grass was indeed greener on the other side, and were determined to get there. The old Latin proverb rings true:
"The corne in an other mans ground semeth euer more fertyll and plentifull then doth oure owne.” — Erasmus of Rotterdam
Exhausted and frustrated, it didn’t take long to consider:
I am like my ass...always looking over the fence, ignoring the abundant and beautiful field where I dwell and am provided for. Even as I start casting this week on a new film I’m thrilled about, I remain focused on how my previous two features are on the search for distribution and it’s been a beat since I’ve directed a Disney project. I read every filmmaker update from Sundance with covetous and envy even as I have my own plentiful field of family, friendship, food, water, shelter, and the freedom to creatively explore the pasture I’ve been given.
I need to stop focusing on what lies over the fence.
As is always convenient, I quickly focus on making sure others are aware of their need for a philosophical reboot before I address the log in my own eye. I stared down my escaped donkeys and cried out, “This is not over!” I’m going back to Callahan’s, and this time I’m going to buy that Carhartt jacket. It’s on!
On this new journey, many have wondered, WTF - Why The Farm?
It all started with a giraffe…