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COUNTY AGENT GUY

May 5, 2017
JERRY NELSON , Farm News

The Dear County Agent Guy book promotion juggernaut rolls on, even though I'm not entirely sure what "juggernaut" actually means. I just think that juggernaut is a cool word and should be used whenever possible as in, "I sneezed so hard that I ruptured my juggernaut.

Our latest installment in the book promotion effort was an appearance on RFD-TV.

I have been on TV before, obviously. My first time was as a three-year-old when I climbed up onto the wooden console that sat in our living room. My goal was to see things from Walter Cronkite's perspective.

Appearing on RFD-TV was a much bigger deal. I had contacted them about the possibly of getting some air time to chat about my book. I was shocked as a barrel of electric eels when RFD-TV replied that it sounded like a great idea.

I told RFD-TV that they could come out to our farm anytime they liked. They replied that what they had in mind was something along the lines of a phone-in or a Skype session.

This was somewhat of a relief. Hosting a film crew might mean that we would have to neaten things up around the place. And I have become accustomed to a certain level of comfortable clutter.

One concern was that I hadn't ever Skyped - is that actually a verb? - although I was vaguely familiar with the concept. The folks at RFD-TV said there was nothing to it and emailed me detailed instructions.

Later, as I messed with the apps on my laptop, the enormity of it all hit me. I was going to be on national TV! Live! And our living room was about to become a TV studio! Holy B-roll, Batman!

My worry glands leaped into overdrive. What if I accidentally curse on live TV? Or burp? Or toot?

A test Skype was scheduled for the day before my broadcast. Shortly before the test, I saw something startling on my laptop. Summoning my Studio Supervisor, I said, "There's a scruffy homeless guy on my screen. How do I get rid of him?"

My wife peered at the laptop. "That's you. Put on a decent shirt and maybe some makeup."

I changed my shirt and reported to the Makeup Department. "Make me look good," I said. "Think Brad Pitt or Robert Redford."

My wife peered at my face. "There's nothing I can do with this," she pronounced. "It's beyond fixing."

At the appointed time, I Skyped RFD-TV. The connection process went as slick as greased Teflon. Technology has advanced to the point where it can even handle a ham-handed doofus like me.

The RFD-TV studio appeared on my screen. A voice in my ear buds told me that I needed to talk for a bit while they ran a sound check. RFD-TV's Christina Loren took a seat at the anchor desk and began to chat with me. Christina, a highly-skilled professional broadcast journalist, soon hit me with a tough question.

"What did you have for breakfast?" she asked.

My brain stumbled and I stammered something about Raisin Bran Crunch. Before I could make too much of a fool of myself, the voice in my ear buds said that everything was working just fine.

The next day, as zero hour drew ever nearer, my anxiety levels accelerated at a pace often associated with Top Fuel dragsters. I logged onto Skype. My Lighting Director glanced at the laptop screen. Flipping on the living room's ceiling light, my wife said, "There. That's better."

Live feed from RFD-TV appeared on my laptop. Anchorman Mark Oppold was giving a rundown of the noontime news. Show time!

Please don't burp! Please don't pick your nose! Please don't say anything stupid!

An image of the Dear County Agent Guy book cover flashed onto my monitor. As Mark launched into his intro, I began to panic. I had forgotten to check my zipper! With mere seconds to spare, it dawned on me that it didn't matter since the camera was only showing me from the chest up. I could have worn pajama bottoms had I been so inclined.

My mug appeared on the screen and I began to speak. Was I talking too fast? Too slow? Did I look like a shifty-eyed homeless guy? Yes, yes and yes.

Being on live TV is similar to skydiving in that there is a short period of extreme terror followed by a deep sense of relief. After my short segment ended, my Production Director, who had been watching in the bedroom, said that I did a fine job.

"Thanks," I replied to my wife. "But I'm glad it's over. That was almost too much stress for my poor juggernaut.

Jerry's book, Dear County Agent Guy, is available at Workman.com and in bookstores nationwide.

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

 
 

 

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