My life revolves around Facebook.

The humble Farmer revels in a shirt that fits. Photo courtesy of Robert Skoglund

If you have the right kind of “friends,” they can answer most any question you need to ask. What is the best kind of washing machine? What should I get for a pound of asparagus?

Small potatoes, I know. But a Bangor Facebook friend I have never seen found me a retired contractor who scraped and painted the front of my house two weeks ago. And if that doesn’t make you sit up and reevaluate what you’ve heard about Facebook, then it’s been a long time since you tried to hire help.

In between pictures of food that no old Maine man would eat and cute cats, on Facebook one finds gems that could stand as backbones for any modern Western philosophy. John in Portland says: “People get emotionally invested in the lives of people they really don’t know.”

And his cousin in Machias replies, “Yes, but after 30 years of marriage it’s tough to back out.”

Facebook also enables me to pass along curious or unusual things that transcend what you might expect to encounter in a normal day.


For example, a thoughtful neighbor I had never met answered my cry for help with putting out rhubarb and, with a bit of instruction, quickly picked nine bunches and put it on my roadside stand.

Before she left, I asked her if she had met men who were cruel and mean to their wives.

I said that she might not have noticed, but I had just done the most terrible thing that any man could do to his wife.

Because she didn’t leave, I then explained that I hadn’t asked her any questions.

If you are married, you understand what we are talking about here. If you aren’t married, you should know that any man who stands around outside with a stranger for a half an hour and then can’t give his wife that person’s life history when he goes in the house – well, he’s asking for it.

It was perhaps the most unforgettable half-hour I have ever spent in my rhubarb patch, and I’ve been picking rhubarb for 52 years. My neighbor brought two preschool children with her. Children frighten me because I know nothing about them, never having been able to afford children of my own. Outside of Marsha’s domesticated grandchildren, the few children I have come in contact with were in classrooms, where it was possible to exercise at least a modicum of control.


These two tiny children were marching up and down the aisles, huge rhubarb leaves up to their shoulders, and they were singing “We Three Kings of Orient Are.” They were on pitch. And when the kings got old, they knocked out two choruses of “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead.” There is hope for America.

• My wife, Marsha, has 47 first cousins, and one of them visited us.

She said they had an exchange student in their home for two weeks. Of course, they asked for one who didn’t smoke. He was a French kid who lived in Zaire, They picked him because his picture looked so sweet, and they figured he’d be less worldly than a French kid from France.

But when he arrived, he showed them some nude pictures of himself and told them that his father and grandfather had taken him to a brothel to get him drunk on his 16th birthday.

Of course, you go way Down East on the coast of Maine and that kind of party wouldn’t be necessary.

But then the cousin found a heap of cigarette butts underneath this kid’s bedroom window.


I’ll bet he’ll think twice before he lies on his application again, because they punished him.

They made him drive in Boston.

• Ever get dressed in the morning and thought to yourself that something was not right?

Your pants might have been inside out, or you might have put your socks on the wrong feet.

No, your suspenders were over your shoulders and not in your crotch. Everything OK there.

You couldn’t quite place what was wrong, but you knew that something didn’t feel right.


It just happened to me and I hope it never happens to you because it gives you an eerie, creepy feeling.

I couldn’t put my finger on it – didn’t know what was wrong, something about my shirt didn’t feel right. I thought about it for quite a while.

And then it came to me.

Because most of my clothes are hand-me-downs from friends, they come in all shapes and sizes.

And this morning, for the first time that I can remember, I put on a shirt that fit me.

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at:

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