You can take the boy off the farm…

I was recently reminded by a good friend of mine, Kevin Kline, of something that happened several years ago. It still brings a smile to my face so I thought I’d share it with you even though it’s “old news”. For anyone that follows my family blog, this is re-post from almost three years ago.

The DBA Farmer

For those who don’t already know, my professional life and my home life are at opposite ends of the technology spectrum. I’m sometimes referred to as the DBA Farmer by friends since we have a small hobby farm in Middle Tennessee where we raise cows, goats, turkeys, and chickens. We also grow and preserve food from our garden.

A few years ago, I was invited to attend a one-day leadership training session in Chicago. As with a lot of these types of events, a welcome reception on the eve of the actual training was provided to “break-the-ice”. So I, and about 100 others from around the country, flew into Chicago that afternoon to attend the reception and to socialize before our training that was to follow the next morn.

The reception was held in a private room in a fine restaurant just off the Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago; a very upscale place. Drinks and appetizers were served while we made small-talk. Then we made our way to another area where a nice multi-course meal was served while the conversations continued.

Unlike a lot of people in technical fields, I’m not overly introverted. So I seldom look at my own shoes, especially when talking with others. However, at one point during the evening’s activities, I did happen to glance down towards my feet. That’s when I noticed it. There, stuck to the side of the sole of my right shoe was an unmistakable and tell-tale sign of my origins. Sticking to the side of my black dress shoe was none other than a big, dried, white & gray glob of chicken poop.


I must have stepped in a freshly formed pile while walking to my truck to go the airport that afternoon. Somehow, the rest of the walk to the truck and the ride to the airport didn’t cleanse me of my tag-along. Somehow, it continued to persist through the security checkpoint, without setting off all kinds of alarms! Apparently going completely unnoticed through the screening process.

Or perhaps it was noticed but simply not acted upon by the guards? How do you approach a man in business attire and ask him to clean off the chicken poo he left on the x-ray machine?

In any case, the poo remained. It traveled with me on the plane and even on taxi ride to the hotel once I had arrived at my destination.

Anyway, upon the startling revelation of the distance this poo had traveled, I glanced up, looking around to see if anyone in the room had noticed me noticing my own shoe. Thankfully everyone else seemed to be oblivious of my new discovery. As I took in the vast audience of other attendees, I realized that I was surrounded by CEO’s of large organizations, Presidents of companies, Chief Financial Officers for institutions. And there was me, in the middle of it all, standing amongst all of these people of respect, with chicken poo on my shoe. I laughed out loud at the juxtaposition of it all.

I yam what I yam

It was then, that I fully realized that you can take the boy off the farm, but you can’t take the farm off the boy. And I wouldn’t trade that for the world!

Got a funny story you’d like to tell on yourself? Why not share it here? Don’t be embarrassed; life’s too short to not laugh at ourselves.


11 Responses to You can take the boy off the farm…

  1. I have something in common with you.
    I’m a DBA too but I’m born and grew up in the middle of a tropical orchard in Mauritius.

    Now I’ve lived in Thailand for a long time, in France for a shorter time and travel around Asia on business but very often, people thinking that I’m french (my name) realizes without putting their finger on it, that I’m not french.

    It’s nice to say that I’ve been living in an orchard with 64 different species of mangoes 🙂

  2. Joe says:

    Very nice! I’d love to be able to grow mangoes in my part of the world, but atlas I don’t think they’d do well in Tennessee.

    Thanks for the comment!


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  4. Greg Low says:

    Looking the part isn’t always all that’s needed. My wife is Chinese Vietnamese. She speaks a dialect of Chinese that is common in northern Vietnam and Cambodia, but definitely not Mandarin.

    It’s funny when we’re travelling in asian countries, particularly China, as everyone walks up to her and speaks Mandarin. They look more surprised if I answer instead as I don’t look asian. I’ve been trying to learn Mandarin for a while and can manage some phrases.

    Conversely, she can understand some Cantonese and it’s funny when people speak Cantonese, assuming that neither or us understand.

    It’s always important to be careful with assumptions.



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