Public broadcasting is a major source of culture for those of us who live in the boondocks. Which is a good thing, because if we did not have culture, we might de-evolve into an uncivilized people. Without public TV, our main form of wintertime entertainment would probably still consist of tricking one another into licking the pump handle.     
     If it were not for public TV, I would have never learned that “Les Misérables” is not pronounced as less miserable. Without public TV, I would have never witnessed that world-class bug-stomping activity called Riverdance.     
     Public TV has provided us country folk with a huge cultural windfall. My only problem is that I have an innate inability to absorb even small amounts of culture.     
     I discovered this vexing issue at an early age. I was 7 years old when Dad took me to the annual father-son banquet in the basement of the First Lutheran Church. I was told there would be a cultural presentation following the meal, but I do not recall any such thing. The only memory I have of the after-meal event consists of Dad carrying me out to the car. It seems that the cultural presentation had put me to sleep.     
     Over the ensuing decades, I have made a concerted effort to soak up culture. This usually involved plopping down in front of the tube, tuning into public TV, watching the first minutes of the ballet (or opera or some such), then waking up as the credits roll.     
     I have slumbered through numerous unsuccessful attempts at absorbing culture. I finally resigned myself to the fact that I am not the kind of person who can remain conscious while people yodel in a foreign language or cavort on their tippy toes. Curiously, I have never had any such problems while watching things like monster truck rallies or mud wrestling.     
     But hope springs eternal. Some years ago, public TV was touting a broadcast of “Cats,” a cannot-miss Broadway musical. Being a fan of everything feline, I was determined not to miss “Cats” when it aired.     
     On the appointed night, I sat in my recliner – a baloney sandwich in one hand, the remote in the other, a beer balancing on the armrest – and imagined what it would be like to see an actual live performance of “Cats.”
     In my fantasy (in which we had won the Buckets O’ Bucks Lotto), I would turn to my wife and say, “I have a great idea. I’ve heard wonderful things about this Broadway show called ‘Cats.’ What say we go catch the next performance?”     
     And so, we would hop aboard our private Gulfstream airplane (hey, it is my fantasy) and jet off to Manhattan. But, what is a night in the Big Apple without a sumptuous meal at a snazzy restaurant?     
     We would roll up to the hottest eatery in town, but would be stopped by a guy in a monkey suit who would ask, “Do you have a reservation?” Which of course we would not.
     My wife would whisper to me, “Why don’t you try tipping him?” to which I would reply, “Because he’s twice my size, that’s why.” She’d reply, “No, I mean offer him a tip.”     
     I would sidle up to the monkey suit and whisper, “Go long on pork bellies. They have nowhere to go but up.” This would obviously get us the best table in the joint.     
     After dinner, it would be off to the theater with its grand facade and its tuxedoed minions. To ensure we got good seats, I would find a likely usher and whisper to him, “If it starts raining in Brazil, lock in at least half of your soybeans.”
    And so, we would get excellent seats. This would mean being close enough to the stage to see the action, but not so close we would have to dodge any hairballs horked up during the performance.     
     We would emerge from the theater enthralled and happy and chockfull of culture. And, when the valet brings our car around and holds out his hand, I would tell him, “Hang onto your corn. It’s going to rally this summer.”     
     We would return home all culturized. I would have so much culture, it would literally drip off of me. It would run down my stomach and onto my lap and smell like warm beer.     
     I awoke with a start. The credits for “Cats” were rolling and my lap was soaked. My beer must have become so bored it hurled itself off the armrest.     
     Oh, well. Think of all the money we saved. Besides, it would have been really embarrassing to be carried out of a Broadway theater in my sleep.
    Jerry is a recovering dairy farmer from Volga, S.D. He and his wife, Julie, have two grown sons and live on the farm where Jerry’s great-grandfather homesteaded over 110 years ago. Jerry currently works full time for the Dairy Star as a staff writer/ad salesman. Feel free to E-mail him at: jerry.n@dairystar.com.