I think I should have been born a hillbilly. I think that’s been the problem. I needed to be around people who understood me.
I’ve been watching a lot of videos of outlaw hillbillies on the computer machine these days. Mostly Jesco White and his clan of kin, raising hell in Boone County. More bat-shit ballistic, cold-cocked ruthless, knocked-down, chopped-up and snorted party people you won’t find. Not around these parts. Really love Jesco. Really love that whole family. Hell, I just plain love hillbillies.
I admire how tough they are. They’ve had more than their fair share of shit dumped on them. People living in places where having a job mining coal is considered “doing well. ” In other words, it goes down from there. Tragic shit.
Exploited for ages. Starved thin. Shot up. Beat down. Sold out. Black-lunged. And somehow still proud. If you can endure all that bullshit and still tap out a dance on the front porch, more power to you. Nobody dances better than the poor. That’s a historical fact.
As for the outlaw element, I figure they’ve earned a little rule-breaking slack. Yes, yes. We all must take personal responsibility for our actions blah blah. But I see a lot of people not taking personal responsibility for their actions. They’re farting up their golf pants on a resort island while some great idea of theirs has just ruined the lives of thousands of people. And nobody setting the hounds on them.
Fuck it. If you’re coming from such a depressed socioeconomic status, there’s nothing wrong with paying back society. With a middle finger. As a salute to it’s magnanimous largesse.
“Somebody say large ass? C’mere Lulu Lee, an’ let me spank some of that big white!”
Hell. Why not try and do as much as you can get away with? If you’re basically fucked either way. Might as well go ape shit.
Create some memories. Something they can’t take away. I always say.
I’ve created a few memories. In between all the stuff I can’t remember. Some good. Some not so. But not everything about being bad was bad. Just like not everything about being good is good. It’s just better to be good. So I have to go with that. Maybe with a little resignation. Maybe with the thought that I wouldn’t have to do this…if I was born a hillbilly.
Could be some past life thing. Maybe because I was conceived in Kentucky, when my dad was stationed at Ft. Knox. I don’t know. But I get those people. I think I’d find a comfortable niche in a community of moon-shining, tap-dancing, porch-swinging, substance-abusing, unlawfully-discharging-of-a-firearms folk.
Something about the lifestyle.
Not all of it. The abject poverty is a downer. Not a fan of any racism, xenophobia, or inbreeding either. Early death due to accident, sickness or murder are also bummers.
But karate-kicking the Jack Daniels mirror my cousin Keith won at the carnival in Brokewood–right out of ol’ boy’s hands?
Well, that sounds like a gas.
Especially if it had his last line of coke on it.
“How do you like that, boy?”
“You done stirred up a hornet’s nest of shit, son.”
Both of us scrambling for a shard of broken glass. “Only Daddy That Will Walk The Line,” playing on the stereophonic record player we stole from the Goodwill. Granny on the rocker, gumming us a grin from behind her huffin’ rag. Uncle Willie tapping out The Death Row Shuffle on the curling linoleum in the kitchen. My hound dog, Boone, howling at an outhouse moon.
I can get into that.
Or going to the gasoline cart races. Swilling half-gallon cups of beer. Watching the cars go around the track. Cheering when someone crashes. Booing when someone wins. Karate chopping my cousin Keith in the neck for no reason while stumbling back to parking lot. Jumping the security guards sent to break up our fight. Gassing them with their own pepper spray. Mountain dancing on the hood of their squad car while they cough and vomit. Then throwing a brick through the rear window before we bolt.
Me and Keith laughing as we roar out of there.
My 1970 Chevelle SS dragging caution tape tied to pylons.
Out to the back-roads.
And sweet freedom.
The money I saved by not fixing my teeth going under the hood of the beast we ride.
Cracking cold beers. Ripping bong loads while driving with the knees at eighty-seven miles per hour. The air-blower vacuuming up the white lines in the road. Shooting at mailboxes with the .410 snake charmer we stole from his uncle, who’s also my dad, who’s now married to his mom, who is a stripper, that’s also good for pills.
That part would be cool, too.
I’d want to cultivate a dangerous drifter look. When I say “cultivate” I mean “naturally default to.” Just walk around as the gnarly mess God meant me to be. Let my hair go greasy. Grow some stubble. Let the gut lap. Don the foam cap. Start chewing plugs of tobacco tar–the dripping juice staining my red beard with black streaks.
Tattoo “Born too Loose,” on my forearm with a needle wrapped in string.
In Hillbilly Heaven, I’d live off Ramen and roadkill. Canned beans and beer. White lightning and black-powdered adrenaline.
I’d shoot empty bottles off my cocktail table. Torch my tool shed just to watch the sparks fly up into the night sky. Rock some large pile of woman back and forth in my rickety trailer while listening to Black Oak Arkansas. Chain-smoke Pall Malls. Pick at my electric cigar box guitar. Take long pulls from the jelly jar. Cough from the burn of liquid fire. Jump straight out of my Lazy-Boy and knock out another of Keith’s meth-loosened teeth. This time with a badminton racket I found in the neighbor’s yard.
“Jim Dandy’s not comin’ to your rescue, beeeyahtch!”
All because I could.
The freedom. The liberation. Just the idea of it gives off some pretty potent vapors to huff on. Activates the reptilian part of my brain. The part I try to keep in check now. So I can be the good citizen. And stay out of the evening news.
The problem is that after sustaining long periods of good citizenshiphood, even in my doddering middle-age, I find myself hankerin’ for a heapin’ helpin’ of misbehavin’. I miss courtin’ Miss Mayhem. It’s the same irrational fond-recollectioning I do for some of the women that had made my life hell.
Or for booze.
You only remember scenes from the highlights reel. A reel edited with Leni Riefenstahl propaganda wizardry. Triumph of The Self-Will, if…you will. All the brutally painful scenes left on the cutting room floor. Only replaying the fun parts.
I selectively reminisce, then find myself longing for a long-lost self–a part of me that doesn’t get to come out to play anymore. It’s easy to feel sorry for him. Miss him. And wish he wasn’t grounded…for life.
You know you gotta keep him locked in the root cellar. Feed him under the door. But that guy doesn’t die-off easily.
Fuck, he’s proved it.
So I better try to deal with him as best as I can. While he’s still hanging around.
In early sobriety, I had to play a lot of Grand Theft Auto on the video machine. Just to safely ween myself from some of my real hobbies. Today, I like to watch others run amok. Soccer riots. Public brawls. Cage matches. Russian mafia gunfights. There’s always something to hold my interest on YouTube.
Basically, to let me live vicariously.
Anyway, it’s just something nice to think of. Dream about. Remember. Whenever my goody-two-shoes start to pinch. It’s good to remember what not giving a fuck feels like. Maybe keep a little of it stuck in my sock. For in case.
It sure helps knowing you already filled up on enough bad. Earlier. Really topped off the tank.
Enough to last you through a really long pursuit.