Publication Date 12-7-17

I recently had a grant application turned down. It was for a little bit of financial help on a book I’m writing.

I came in 46th out of 47 applications.

Seriously. The only one I beat out was a St. Bernard whose owner is teaching it to drool the alphabet.
It was kind of a blow to my self-esteem, but I’m used to that ever since I looked in the mirror when I was 18 and said, “Oh my God, I’m going to be bald before I’m thirty.”

By the way, that’s why I became a farmer – it’s one of those professions where you’re allowed to wear a hat pretty much all the time. Accountant, trial lawyer or surfing instructor? No hats there, so not for me.

It gets even better. With the rejection was a recording of the grant panel discussing my application. It took me a couple of days to work up my courage to listen to it, but I’m so glad I did. It was kind of like having a root canal, except not quite as much fun and a little more painful.
If getting the rejection letter was like asking 47 girls to the prom and having them all turn you down, listening to the grant panel was as if all 47 took the time to explain exactly what they didn’t like about you.

I used to think that becoming a writer while still managing to support our family was a good lesson for my children – you know, pursue your dream, but figure out a way to pay the bills while doing so. I’m not sure what lesson there is in coming in 46th out of 47 – maybe that having your soul crushed is no reason not to put your socks on and go to work.

No, it wasn’t really that bad. I’m just trying to make you chuckle and feel a little better about your life.  These are times when a lot of people aren’t feeling very good at all about the world. I often add to that unease, so it seems only fair to give readers an opportunity to say, “Well, at least I’m not as big a loser as Brent.”

Granted, 46th out of 47 was a blow to my ego, but my ego is pretty big. I’m sure most people would agree it could use a little trimming.
You may have noticed that I’m trying to be careful not to identify the agency that turned me down. My mouth does occasionally get me in trouble. It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote to an editor saying, “The problem with writing a column titled “Independently Speaking” is that every now and then you have to mean it.”

Yeah, I don’t work for them anymore. I have to admit it felt pretty good to send off that email, and honestly, I’m still feeling pretty good about it. We’ll see how I feel when the heating bill comes due.


Oh, well. At least I didn’t come in last. I better get back to work, though. I hear that St. Bernard is still practicing.

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