Clean Slate

Everywhere you look during the first few weeks of January you see people, dressed in good intentions, walking around like they were the lucky winner of a Presidential pardon. I too am very much one of these people, especially when it comes to eating, drinking, and work.

However 2010 is going to be different. 2010 will be the year I finally shed my second and third layers. No longer will I fall back on the excuse that the additional pounds are warranted given the possibility of a global flu pandemic and/or nuclear war, which in turn could require me to endure long periods of time without access to food or water. I refuse to play that card in 2010. Nor will I allow myself to be persuaded by yet another crop failure due to some unforeseen weather calamity.

These rallies have been and always will be premeditated, newswire inspired catastrophes whose sole purpose is to create uncertainty and panic while generating increased subscription sales. I refuse to fall for that in 2010.

February 2010: Let’s face it; the real problem with dieting is the ugly truth that it actually involves “consuming less.” No right-minded American wants to hear those two words used in the same sentence. To be fair, yes you can eat and drink more if your idea of a good time on Friday night is slamming a 6 pack of Aquafina, choking down Baked Lay’s, and a plate full of cabbage.

However I’m already inclined to put my money on modern medicine someday saving my life from years of self-infl icted salt abuse. Furthermore, isn’t 71 percent of the earth covered by salt-water? Maybe salt isn’t the “forbidden fruit” it’s been made out to be. At this point I’m willing to take my chances marinating myself in NaCl over 2 or 3 or fl oor adult beverages. Worst case, I move on a little early but at least I die knowing my body will be well preserved. This will be my gift to future generations of little Ludtke’s. The way I see it I’m practically a martyr.

July 2010: Video images of the Mississippi River spilling into America’s Heartland fill my inbox on a daily basis. Not only did most of the corn crop not get planted on time, but several acres were likely forfeited due to the rising fl oodwaters. With the forecast turning hot and dry for the next 5 to 6 weeks “well-intentioned” crop analysts are already drawing comparisons to the devastating drought of 1988. The evidence is overwhelming. Clearly this is a time for action. This is the moment where I will apply all my training to make an objective, non-emotional decision detached from a history that suggests this is once again, nothing more than a fool’s rally. Yep… time to buy some corn.

December 31, 2010: I sit in my chair 20 pounds heavier with my cholesterol tipping the scales at 300 mg/dL contemplating the year that was, which included a 13.5 billion bushel corn crop following the wettest July on record for Iowa and Illinois. Disappointed? Absolutely not… 2010 did nothing but remind me of my own humanity. And besides, “Who doesn’t love when the calendar rolls over to a new year? It’s the ultimate clean slate. 2011 is going to be different.”

Marcus Ludtke graduated from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn., in 2001 and started working for POET Risk Management in May of that year. His primary responsibilities include managing POET’s corn position and market research.



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