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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

Prey For Me

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By Lee Pitts

Working with animals like we do, we quickly learn they can easily be divided into either prey or predator. Baby lambs, calves and purse dogs are prey to predators like wolves, coyotes and an eight-year-old 4-H showman. Antelope, horses, crippled bison, female joggers wearing headphones and guys on bicycles are prey to mountain lions.  

Homeowners are prey to couples in nice clothes peddling religion door to door, while pretty much every living thing in the sea is prey to the 150-ton blue whale. Looky-loos on car lots are prey to used car salesmen, heavy-footed drivers are prey to highway patrolmen, cows fall prey to predatory veterinarians with long arms on preg checking day and girly boys in school are prey to bullies on the football team. 

Sometimes roles can change and something can go from being the predator to the prey and vice versa, like the coyote who attacks sheep who then falls prey to the human predator with a rifle. Or rattlesnakes whose poisonous fangs make them dangerous predators but become prey to ranchers and roustabouts with sharp shovels. The tormenting bully is a predator until he becomes the prey who is expelled from school by a predatory principal.  

Consider the mosquito who is a painful predator every time I go outside, but I turn into the predator when I nail a mosquito with a nasty slap to my own face. 

In this case, I’m both the predator and the prey simultaneously. The best example of a human who can be either prey or predator is someone who ranchers deal with regularly: their banker. 

I’ve known two bankers in my life who are named Jim, and they are both nice, honest, fair and have bent over backwards to lend money to well-meaning folks with a dream. In my case, Jim loaned me $300 so I could buy my first show steer even though all I had for collateral was a three-legged dog. In my case, I was the predator and Jim was the prey.  

But, Jim did more than loan me money; he gave me a tour of the bank, took me inside the vault and made me feel like a real business man. As a result, I banked with the bank Jim was employed by for 40 years until they were swallowed up by a huge bank which didn’t have any Jims working for them.

My next experience with a banker was not so great. My wife and I had an agreement to borrow $1,000 to build our dream home on a great piece of real estate we used as collateral. But, when it came time for the bank to give us the first one-third of the money, the predatory banker informed us there might be a problem with the loan. 

To make a long story short, we finally got the money, paid off the entire loan within three years and have not borrowed money from a banker ever since!

My mom dealt with banks every day because she worked for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation after my folks divorced. Her job was to travel all over the country shutting down banks that had gone belly up. As a result, I have a fabulous collection of bank bags from bankrupt banks. 

My mom’s job was to get rid of all the loans on the books of the broke banks, and in thousands of cases this meant telling good loyal bank customers they’d have to either pay off their loan or find alternative financing. Immediately! This turned my mom into the most menacing predator in the country.

One day, at a bank in western Colorado, a rancher looked at my mom’s name badge and said, “Pitts, huh. You wouldn’t by chance be related to the guy who writes for the newspaper?”

She replied proudly, “Yes, he’s my son.”

Prior to my mom’s admission, I had several newspapers and magazines in the area who used my column, but within three months, I had none. Zero! Zip! Nada!  

I told my mom, “You have to quit telling people you’re related to me. It’s killing my business!”

So, in the future, if you can’t find my column, you’ll know I was a victim of my deceased mom, the predator, who made “Pitts” a bad name from coast to coast.

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