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Monday, May 24, 2010

Mock Me Monday - And Coming Out of the Closet

After much deliberation, I've decided to come OUT of the closet!  No no, not THAT closet. 

I just decided to quit hiding behind the anonymous MissV...seems to be counter-productive to the whole platform-building, name-recognition goals.  I have no intention of publishing anything under MissV (sounds like a dominatrix, doesn't it?) so I've made the change...I'm now Vicki Rocho name, same ol' me.

ONE MORE HOUSEKEEPING ITEM:  Hubs is on vacation this week which means my internet time will be very limited.


I have an unusual background in that I grew up between Iowa and Las Vegas.  I've always considered myself an Iowan, I was born here and even when I'd been living in Vegas for over 11 years, I still thought of myself as an Iowan.

My husband grew up in the burbs outside of Chicago.  He has always called me a farm girl, despite the fact I've never lived on a farm a day of my life. 

You'd have to be living under a rock not to know that agriculture is a HUGE part of life in Iowa.  Good luck driving anywhere in the summer without going by a field of corn or soybeans.  (Or cows or pigs....)

A lot of teenagers make good money in the summer time walking bean fields to pull weeds or detasseling one endless row of corn after another.  

Those fields are bigger than they look.  Trust me.

The summer before ninth grade, I decided I was going to sign up for detasseling.  This was 1985, and they were paying $8 an hour...a princely sum considering minimum wage was $3.35.

We had to get up at 5:00 AM to meet at the school to catch the bus to the field.  Do I need to emphasize what a sacrifice this is for a teenager on her summer break?

The supervisor (a rather cute guy I might add) sat us down and explained that he would assign each of us two rows.  We were to work our way down one row and up the next.  Just pull out the tassel from the top of the stalk and discard it. 

Simple enough, right?


I don't know how many of you have ever been in a cornfield, but it's not all it's cracked up to be.

The leaves on the cornstalks slice at your skin.  I had jeans on (required), but my hands, arms, and cheeks got a thousand little cuts on them. 

I'm grateful for the protection jeans offered, except for one thing. It was HOT.  


Even at 6 a.m. when we first jumped into the field, the humidity was sky high.  I was seriously wondering what I'd signed myself up for.

I tried to focus by fantasizing about all the cool clothes I would buy myself at the end of summer.  

Ahhhhh, that helped. 


There was something I hadn't even CONSIDERED when I signed up for the job.  

The worst part of the whole thing.

There were bugs.

Lots and lots of bugs.

Spiders, ants, and creepy crawlies I don't have names for.

Oh, and I should mention I didn't have any gloves.


Are you connecting the dots here?

I'm sweating my butt off in the middle of a cornfield VOLUNTARILY yanking tassels out of thousands of corn stalks.  In addition to this, I had to suffer the indignity of squishing one critter after another with my bare hands as no one had told me I would need gloves.

I felt like screaming and/or crying, but it wasn't going to do me any good.  Like someone was going to come kill these things for me over and over and over? 

Uh, no.  Don't think so.

Corn stalks and tassels are remarkably dirty for being nearly six feet from the ground.  How does the dirt splash up that high?  I was covered in mud, my feet were soaked from the morning dew, and I had bug guts ground into my skin and caked under my fingernails. 

Good times.


This was despicable work.  (Did anyone else flash to Daffy Duck just then?)

I earned every single stinkin dollar.  Which, as it turned out wasn' that much. 

As luck would have it, I wasn't a natural-born detasseler like I fantasized.  They had to keep sending more experienced workers (ahem, faster) in to "dig me out" because I was so slow.

That was pretty humiliating.  I was an Honor Roll student!  I never failed anything!  How is it possible that I wasn't excelling at this? My brother was part of the crew.  He was a bit of a slacker/screw up in school, but he was out here kicking my butt.  We just couldn't have that.

I was an IOWAN for God's sake.  We're supposed to know how to do this stuff at birth.  Had I missed the memo?

After every row, I became more and more determined to pick up my pace.  But then, just before lunch, I committed the cardinal sin.

I emasculated a half row of male corn.  Woops.

In my defense, if there was such a thing as 'male' corn and 'female' corn, don't you think that cute supervisor guy should have shared that information up front?  I mean, as far as I was concerned it was just CORN. 


Cute supervisor guy, whom I assumed went to Iowa State University asked me to wait on the bus for the rest of the day.  It wasn't so bad.  A friend of mine was also on there and she'd rescued (ahem stolen) a kitten off the farm.  I got to sit in the shade of the bus playing with a kitten. Awwwww.

And to add insult to injury, the supervisor turned out to be a junior at the high school, not the college guy I thought he was.  WTH?  He had a full beard for God's sake!  He was one of the most popular guys in school (apparently high school girls really like boys who can grow full beards) so I lived in fear that he'd recognize my dorky self and tell everyone about what a failure I was in the cornfield.

I'm over it now. Really.  It was just a rough way to learn everyone has talents and I was NOT meant to be anywhere near corn.  Unless it's a corn maze...then I'm allowed.

(this is actually a corn maze not too far from where I live...though I don't think I went in it the year this pic was taken)


Maribeth said...

The cornfield brings back memories, except mine was a strawberry farm. Sore back to go with the bugs and humidity.
Aren't you glad DH took you away from all that--or was it the bus? lol
Too early (5am) and no coffee.
Giggles and Guns

Matthew Rush said...

Nice to meet you Vickie!

Lydia Kang said...

Nice to meet you Vickie! I came "out" a few months ago too, and it was both liberating and frightening at the same time.

Okay your corn experience totally made me laugh. And not want to go into a corn field, ever. I hate bugs!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Vicki--Nice post. Funnily enough I moved to Iowa about 18 months ago because my husband was put in charge of a seed company. (Yep, Corn and beans...) Thanks for sharing the story. :)

Jen said...

LOVE THE NAME... I'm digging it, and I thought it was you with your profile picture, but I had to visit to make sure!

Okay so I know all about this stuff, I related WAY more than I had planned. Detassling, walking the field, walking bean fields... yup I've done it all. The hubs grew up on a farm, pigs, cows, the occassional buffalo. As did I. We know all about getting up early and starting work making crap pay and working way to hard for all the money we earned.

I would say it helped us growing up though. We are much more loyal, respectful and kind works, always working above and beyond. Always 15-20 minutes early wherever we go, it's bread into us and never left us. I will always be an Iowan, even if I live in Houston for 30 years, those morals and beginnings never change.

Cheers to farm girls!! Or not so farm girls, lol.

Mary McDonald said...

Nice to meet you, Vicky. ;-) Your story of corn hell is my worst nightmare. *shudder*

Diane J. said...

Vicki, it's nice to meet you!

Love the corn field memory trip, and I totally thought of Daffy Duck (Despicable, lol).

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Okay, one? That corn maze is awesome. 2? Iowa sounds remarkably like Indiana. 3. Corn detassling sounds like a particularly vicious form of torture.

But, it makes for a great story! I can definitely see you putting a character into this situation. Fun, fun. New ways to torture our characters ;)

Although, how lovely it would've been if you'd said college/high school boy asked you out while you were on the bus, and you fell in love and ran away to Vegas together.

KarenG said...

Iowa is near and dear to my heart. We always drove through on our way to Nebraska, from Illinois. So are cornfields. Probably because I never had to work in one, just use them for hide and seek.

Vicki Rocho said...

Maribeth, first the bus then my parents who decided in their infinite wisdom to move back to Vegas for my junior & senior years.

Matt, thanks for swinging by!

Lydia, every time I see a couple getting romantic in a cornfield (on TV or in a book) I cringe. SO not happening over here.

Sharon, is your husband going to oversee the detasseling fun?

Jen, you're a hardy soul if you managed summer after summer. Definitely not an experience you forget easily!

Mary, it was mine for a long time--I cleaned up okay when I got home, but I felt like such a failure for a long time. D*mn corn.

Diane, I loved Bugs Bunny (and crew) never warmed to Mickey Mouse, et al though.

Caroline, I think I may have driven through Indiana once a long time ago, but I think you're right Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, etc. They're all a lot alike. I prefer living here to Vegas, that's for sure!

Karen - Cornfields can be very pretty...those perfectly straight rows, a gorgeous shade of green. Of course in the fall, it all turns that blechy shade of brown, but let's not go there....

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Yay, glad you came 'out' of the blogging closet. :)

I like corn, but I don;t ever want to be that close to it. :)

Corn Maze = amazing.

MBW aka Olleymae said...

I go back and forth about using my name, too. I really don't care anymore. You're right, it's easier for name recognition.

The corn detassling sounds like WAY too much trouble. Good memories, though, right??

Kimberly Franklin said...

Nice to meet you Vicki!! LOL. That cornfield picture is cool! :) Have a great week!

Angela Ackerman said...

Oh the memories. We had a grain and hay farm growing up. There are so many thing I. Do. Not. Miss.

Good on you for coming out. Seriously, it's one of the best things you can do for your platform. people can love your blog, think you're funny, smart, interesting...but your anon persona isn't tied to the name on your book. Platform is all about turing your real name into a BRAND. :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Vicki Rocho said...

Lindsay, it was getting kinda dark in the blogging closet...couldn't tell if there were any critters in there or not hahaha.

MBW, No going back now...I'm out for better or worse. It's nothing I'd do again, but it helped make me who I am, so it couldn't have been all bad,eh?

Kimberly, corn mazes are fun...but I cheated the last time I was in one. The farm gave hay rack rides (pulled by a tractor) so I just listened for the motor and turned towards it every chance I could.

Angela, I have to agree with you. Not sure why I didn't start that way in the first place. I'm supposed to be a marketing major for cryin' out loud.

Anonymous said...

Your new name definitely gave me pause: Vicki? Who's Vicki? But I'm so glad you've decided to come out of the closet!

Thank you for sharing your tale working in the cornfield. A lot of places are romanticized, when truly, they're not romantic at all. (i.e. rural Vietnam -- though I still hold a very great image of it afterward :))

Shannon said...

I'm so glad you finally came out! I kept wanting to call you Vicki (Miss V was a little too kinky for me).

Next time I complain about my summer job cutting onions at Jasper's Giant Hamburgers, I will remember the corn. Dream job compared to your horror story!

Vicki Rocho said...

Sandy, sorry for the more reason for me to make the conversion now before I had too many more people to confuse!

Shannon, I chose MissV because it was simple yet vague...but then she began to morph into a leather clad, whip wielding, boot wearing, queen of mean and if you knew me, hahahahaha, that's so not me. Except for the boots. Love boots.

Zoe C. Courtman said...

Hi, Vicki! *waves* Nice ta meetcha!