I have been known to be wrong once in a while. Um, change that to wrong quite often. OK, OK, so I am wrong pretty much all of the time. (Note to aspiring columnists: never let your wife watch over your shoulder while you are writing a column.)     
    For example, when pocket calculators first came out, I surmised they would never be anything more than a curiosity. This was because the first pocket calculators cost as much as a Cadillac and ate batteries like a kid who had found a hidden stash of Halloween candy.
    I assumed we would continue to crunch numbers the same way we always had and that it might actually be a good time to invest in slide rule manufacturers.     
    Pocket calculators have since become as common as water puddles after a summer thunderstorm. And I once received a free solar-powered pocket calculator with the purchase of a large pizza.     
    I was also wrong about microwave ovens. When microwave ovens arrived on the scene, I presumed they would never catch on. What person in their right mind would entrust their heirloom family recipes to a contraption that heats food via a process that involves some sort of mysterious electronic voodoo?     
    Nowadays, no chef would set foot in a kitchen unless there is a Radar Range sitting on the countertop. I would not be surprised if a Barbie doll can have her own fully functional microwave. And I bet Barbie has a better understanding about the oven’s inner workings than I do.     
    Which brings me to personal computers. Do not forget about computers, my wife is saying. Yeah, OK: I was way wrong about computers.     
    It may have been futile, but I resisted when owning a personal computer became a fad. I was the kind of guy who had a bumper sticker that said, “REAL men don’t have floppy disks!”     
    Besides, I argued, how can we trust those gigabyte gobbling gadgets? Where does everything go when you hit save? To some miniature electronic safe in the CPU? If so, who holds its secret combination? The microscopic man who is feverishly working his tiny abacus?
    Nope, I proclaimed, I am not going to let a stupid machine have that much power over my life.
    But there were two things that worked against my struggle to defy the inexorable march of progress. One was my congenital disorganization. The other was our hired man, Keven.     
    One day I confided to Keven that I was about to embark on one of the most detestable tasks of farming, that activity known as tax preparation.
    Like all businesses, we make innumerable tax-deductible purchases throughout the year. And like many people, we used the venerable shoe box method of accounting. That is, we tossed all of our receipts into a large shoe box. At tax time, we would sift and sort and sweat as we struggled to make sense of all the schedules. It was a real pain in the s.     
    Keven, a college student and avid technophile, eagerly explained how the dynamics of digital data delineation would alleviate my absence of accounting acumen. I did not share Keven’s enthusiasm but decided to buy a used PC anyway.     
    Keven was right. While we still had to sort through the piles of papers, we could produce some very nifty reports after all the numbers were entered into the computer. The computer could – in seconds – produce more useless financial information about our farming operation than we ever could have wanted. The computer could break down expenses by class, category and date; I wouldn’t be surprised if it even knew what I was wearing when I wrote each check.     
    I begrudgingly let the computer stay. I have to admit that with time and practice, I have learned a computer can have more uses than a pocket multi-tool. This is especially true if I’m in the mood to play Pong.     
    One fateful day, I decided to write a letter to my county agent guy. I wanted his advice regarding how to control the pesky ducks that were swimming around in my field and no doubt damaging my submerged corn crop. Instead of hunting and pecking on my ancient Smith-Corona and using a gallon of whiteout fluid, I decided to try out the computer’s word processing program.     
    My wife thought what I had written was amusing and that perhaps I have a knack for this sort of thing and that I should get the column published somewhere. I didn’t really believe her, but agreed to give it a try.     
    I guess I was wrong about that, too, because I’ve been writing a weekly column ever since.
    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.