By RYAN M. TAYLOR
For the Capital Press
Anything smaller than a sledgehammer or lighter than a house jack has probably been lost at least once on this place. I might have even lost the sledgehammer once, but the grass was tall that year.
So it makes you wonder why I'd trust myself with something as small as a calving book that has so much important and irreplaceable information written down in it. Or makes you question why anyone would let me walk out of a store with a tiny, expensive handheld communications device.
I guess the reason the cell phone store lets me leave with one of their phones is whether the phone is lost or found, the bill still comes once a month for the life of the contract. And the value of the phone is all on my shoulders unless I take out insurance for $10 a month.
I don't know anyone offering insurance on calving books. I suppose that's because it's hard to nail down a tangible value on the little red book that rides in my pocket from pasture to hayfield, and from horseback to pickup seat. I get the book for free from either a vet clinic or a feed dealer, but by the end of the year the numbers and words I scratched down inside it are infinitely more valuable.
It'd be interesting to know the loss ratio, the difference between premiums paid in and claims paid out, on cell phone insurance. At its core, insurance is simple business -- everybody pays, some collect and some don't, but everyone gets a little peace of mind.
Missing in action
I had insurance once on my phone. It escaped from my coveralls when I was out feeding cattle and was never to be seen again. The insurance worked and I got a new phone. Actually, it wasn't a new phone, but rather a replacement phone that was exactly like the antique I lost that was out receiving calls underneath the hoof of some cow.
So, statistically, I figured I'd carried enough insurance and didn't renew the plan. What were the odds I'd need it again?
Honestly, I haven't lost another phone, at least not for more than a few terror-stricken days, but things do happen that make me wonder if I should renew the protection plan.
Last week, after weaning calves, I was cleaning out the water tanks and fixing the floats and valves, doing a lot of bending over and darn near standing on my head from time to time. And, bending over like that, you'd wonder why you would put important stuff in open-topped pockets without so much as a flap or a snap or even a safety pin to keep things secure.
I skirted tragedy when my cell phone plopped out of my pocket a couple of times, but I retrieved it in working order. But a few hours into the day I couldn't find my calving book. After trying to blame my wife for misplacing it in the house, I realized it had been in the open-topped pocket of the vest I was wearing that morning.
Like we tell our kids to do, I retraced my steps. Nothing. I stewed about it all day, and just before dark I looked again. There in the muck and manure next to one of the water tanks I saw a little trace of red. I turned a few cartwheels of glee on the way to the tank to retrieve my soggy-edged but safe calving book.
I suppose I should start logging all my important facts and figures electronically and upload them to some "cloud" I hear tell of to keep them safe.
Either that, or I should poke a safety pin through the top of that vest pocket.