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I must have been ten or eleven years old when my younger brother and I were messing around in the backyard one spring afternoon. My brother's best friend had spent the night at the house and joined us for a manly wrestling match. As we started getting sore from the repeated body slams on the ground, one of us (I can't remember who it was) decided to move the match to my mother's garden, which had just been tilled. Since the soil had been turned up by one of those big gas-powered roto-tillers, we knew that it would be more fun to pummel each other in the mud. Nothing had been planted yet, so we were in the clear.

The mud was soft and pliable and we were more than ready to rumble. I think we beat on each other for a good forty-five minutes when my parents came out laughing hysterically. The three of us couldn't understand what was so funny because the sight of us giving one another a good beat-down was nothing new. We showed up everyday covered in dirt, so this wasn't abnormal. My father asked us if we knew that he had just fertilized the dirt. We thought he meant chemical fertilizer. We said that we'd just hose it off. He said, as delicately as only my father could "No, dumbass, we just tilled a bunch of manure. You guys are wrestling in shit!"

It was then that I realized that, not only was this stuff in my hair, but it was in my mouth too. My brother was the first to run for the hose. Without the slightest bit of shame, we all stripped down to our underwear in the yard and hosed down. I think that we each used a bar of soap in the shower. We never wore the clothing again.

I didn't think about it at the time, but now I understand why there were so many corn kernels in the mud that day.

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