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The slip-seaters of your nightmares, and how not to be one

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Updated Jul 13, 2022

The year was 2007. I was at a produce shed one night in Brawley, California, waiting on a load of lettuce to come out of the fields. It was going to be a long sit. This was one of those "best to get there the night before so you can take your place in line" brokered loads. There was another trucker there, also waiting, a young Tennessee driver. He was half-hippie, half-mountain man, and just out there enough to help the time pass quickly with interesting conversation.

The man and his mom were teaming for a reefer outfit out of Nashville. They had a five-days-on, five-days-off gig, which gave him time to pursue his real passions -- web design, and the breeding of Tennessee fainting goats. In another lifetime, my wife and I had also been goat people. Or, more accurately, my wife had once milked seven goats, while I did a lot of complaining about them. 

Naturally,  the mountain man and I began swapping goat stories. Nothing, I contend, will reveal to you the true depths of your character deficits like a small herd of goats and a bad fence. 

I told him how when I was working for a big hog farmer, he would give me all the runt piglets I could take. My wife would then nourish them with a concoction of goat's milk and "feed bread," outdated bread purchased for $10/pickup load from the commercial bakery distributor. She'd combine the bread, the milk and some water. It made about the richest slop you could feed a young piglet. In about a month, you couldn't tell they'd ever been runts at all. 

Sometimes we'd make out pretty well at the sale barn, selling them in lots of three or four. 

Then she'd catch me boasting to a friend about our agribusiness exploits, get me off to the side and call me out. "Paul, all you do is complain about those goats, but when you're around your friends it's like they're the greatest thing that's ever happened to you. Make up your mind." 

[Related: OTR to home: Making local trucking work with Mike 'The Boston Trucker' Gaffin]

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