Here’s what we don’t know about America: where will they put our fine china once we’ve passed on?
I was driving away from a gas station the other day and I heard a young man tell his work buddies that the United States is still the greatest place on earth, so love it or leave it. This was coming from a guy with a bad tattoo on each bicep, a sore on his face because he doesn’t have health insurance, and a still-warm can of beer (twenty-two ounces) that, let’s be honest, tastes like a diabetic old man pissed in it.
I’m not so sure his love of country is requited. We can check on him later, once we’ve sat through a seminar on how to attach our life savings to an IRA account that, let’s be honest again, will be an illegal practice by the time our children are voting.
I saw an old thin woman shoot a snake in the ditch in front of her house as a yellow state highway truck glided by, two law-abiding white men inside grinning like possums.
“What kinda snake were it?” the passenger called out as they slowed down and pulled to the shoulder.
Old thin woman in her kitchen smock shook her head vigorously.
“Don’t distract me, boy,” she snapped in her toothless way. “I’ve got to get that thing outta here while it’s still fittin’ to eat.”
You can teach a man to fish, but you have to lead him to water first. Everything is a convoluted process to some degree. Take country and western music. It does not exist anymore because of Walmart. While Walmart giveth the South thousands of jobs for its high school dropouts, it also snatched the fiddle out of Bob Wills’ hands and sat him down in the beauty salon and said here, try to make yourself look and sound like Garth Brooks.
Bob’s lament was that he had been dead for fifteen years and it was Conway Twitty who already had put Western music to shame with that woman’s hairdo of his. He didn’t even know who Garth Brooks was.
But we do. Garth Brooks killed country music. While Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings were off sobering up and tuning up for late-career runs, this fella Chris Gaines was chaining the doors to the Grand Ole Opry so that Rascall Flatts et al could sells more downloads from the parking lot.
You tell me that America is the greatest place on earth, and I hand you a note that says these machines don’t kill fascists anymore. We’ll call it even and see what shotgun granny has done with that serpent to make it fit to eat for a Sabbath supper.
Had an aunt who kept stacks of thin fine china in her dining room, in a cabinet that when it was polished would shine so bright that you had to look the other way. There were two or three designs that she had. A holiday pattern (lightly decorated fir trees and snow-capped pine cones), a fleur-de-lis to mark her visit to New Orleans on her honeymoon, and a puzzling set with bronze panthers that agilely swept across plates and saucers.
My Uncle Flood broke one of the honeymoon plates when he found out my aunt had never stopped loving an old beau of hers.
“I’ll never be reminded of that slime again!” Flood is reported to have hollered.
“Okay,” my aunt said. “Here, use my plate, Flood.”
I used to think Garth Brooks and the Marlboro Man were the same person. Both kind of had that same lack of personality, that one-dimensional gravitas you usually associate with cutouts that they tape to the gym walls during school dances.
LOVE IS THE ANSWER!
We thought it was funny in junior high to ask, What is the question? Hahahaha! Now I understand that faculty just comes up with anything that looks long enough to paste onto a cinderblock wall or a pair of metal doors. HEADLINE GOES HERE kind of thing.
I’ve met three people who voted for Snoopy in a presidential election. Write-in voters. It is no wonder how we got here.
Hey, man! How was that double deuce?
Good, our young uninsured man says. It was terrific.
What are you up to now?
If you’re not busy dying, then you’re not doing enough living, he says. He has a mournful trace at the end like the guy at the DMV who says safe driving to you and who’s next?
Causes Sean Jackson Supports
PFLAG, Amnesty International, AA, Catholic Social Services