Saturday morning was sunny and bugs screaming and buzzing, at least in my part of West Virginia, and it was nice and cool. Bugs is pretty much like folk. The boy bugs holler or buzz or I don’t know what all so the girl bugs will love them and they can get laid, and then the boy bugs run off and leave the girl bugs with the eggs. You’d think the girl bugs would learn, but they never do. If you have a choice, it’s better to be a boy bug.
Anyways, I was planning to go see Uncle Hant that makes skull break moonshine back in the woods so he could tell me how to make a living. Hant knows everything. A few years back, he sent the Poverty Office in Wheeling a letter that said he was a one-legged Injun princess named Sighing Cloud with black lung, and they started sending him money in trucks. Then they wrote him a letter saying did he have any children he didn’t know who was the daddy to, so they could send him more money. He told them he had thirteen and he didn’t have no idea where they came from but they all had Down’s Syndrome, whatever that is, and now he’s the richest man in McDowell County. So don’t nobody who says gummint is a bad thing know what he’s talking about.
But Hant don’t get up too early in the morning, so first I went up the holler to see my old school teacher, Mr. Entropy McWilliams that’s got a internet television and lets me look at it sometimes. He was watching what he said was a Sympathy Orchestra and a noise was coming out of it like a blow-out plug on a high-pressure drill rig. It was real awful and I asked Mr. McWilliams what it was and he said somebody was blowing a hobo. I thought that was pretty ripe for a show anybody could watch, even little children, but it turned out it wasn’t so much a hobo as a oboe, which is like a three-foot duck call. I didn’t see much future in it. Neither would our McDowell County ducks, that don’t have much schooling. It might work with city ducks, though.
Anyway, he said it did sound kind of like a cat squalling because of Affirmative Action, which I didn’t know what was. He said it was a newfangled law in Washington, that’s the Yankee capital, that says if you want somebody to do a job, you have to hire someone that can’t do it. I said that made sense, about like taking poison. He said I thought that because I wasn’t in Washington and it was God’s own truth, and it was for Social Justice. The more you couldn’t do a job, the more you had to get it.
That was too many for me. I thought, what if I had cancer in the head and the brain doctor showed up with a claw hammer and a ice pick and didn’t know where to start, so they put a sign on my foot that said Open Other End or something. I’d shoot the sonofabitch before he got in striking distance. Maybe there’s such a thing as too much social justice. At least if it’s my head.
Mr. McWilliams said the Sympathy, that was in New York, used to hire music people by setting them down and listening to them play the fiddle or duck call or banjo and taking the best ones. But then women got into a uproar and started yowling that the Sympathy only got men. They said women could play fiddles and all just fine and it was affirmative action for men and they was madder than wet hornets. So the Congress made a law that the Sympathy had to string up a bed sheet and them as wanted the job had to play behind it and the judges didn’t know who they were and couldn’t let in their sisters and uncles. It made sense, but they did it anyway, and pretty soon the Sympathy was full of ladies blowing and honking and sawing away, and everybody was happy because they did it right.
Well, everybody except American Africans, that said none of them was in the Sympathy. They wanted Social Justice. Best I can tell, Social Justice means getting anything you want or you’ll scream and yell and bite and wet yourself like a two-year-old that needs a whupping and a new diaper. So now they’re going to choose by colors, like they was painting a ‘57 Chevy. I guess that’ll work.
Mr. McWilliams said I just didn’t understand Advanced Thought. Well, I didn’t. I guess it’s because I’m not real smart. I used to be, though. The first time I was in the fourth grade my teacher, it was Miss Purity Perkins, said I was real special and she hoped I’d go far, but I guess she would have settled for the next county over. I told Mr. McWilliams if Affirmative Action meant getting a job because you couldn’t do it, I wanted to be a Space Rocket Driver. At least if I could be one from Lou-Bob’s Billiards and Rib Pit. I was having a lot of fun with my girlfriend Jiffy Lube and I figured I couldn’t drive a Space Rocket at the Rib pit just as good as I couldn’t drive it from Australia or Wheeling or wherever they have Space Rockets.
I said so much Social Justice was giving me a motingator headache and I wanted to go off to Lou-Bob’s that serves bust-head shine under the table if you don’t look like a damn Revenoor.
Then the television started talking about Reparations for Slavery, that I thought they got rid of after World War Two. He said it didn’t matter and it was to pay you for bad stuff that never happened to you, just like Affirmative Action was to give you jobs you couldn’t do, but that was a whole nutheer bucket of crawdads and we could talk about it later. I don’t know. It all sounded like a crooked poker game to let grifters and frauds get paid without going into the mines and getting killed like Christians.
It was still early so I went off to tell Hant about Affirmative Action. He was at his still. Like I said, he makes panther sweat that takes the enamel off your teeth to sell to yuppies from Washington that want a Cultural Experience. He puts it in genuine authentic mountain stone jars he gets from Taiwan. Some folks say he gets a cut from liver doctors in Bluefield, but I don’t know.
Hant’s a tall skinny rascal with arthritis so when he bends over it looks like folding a Buck knife and he’s got a jaw like a front-end loader. Later he said he told the Poverty Office he wanted to be a Orthostatic Ontological Proctologist. I asked him what that was. He said he wasn’t sure but he sure as hell didn’t know how to be one so they had to pay him for it. He said they would never dare say no to a one-legged Injun princess with black lung.
After, I went down the hill to look for Jiffy Lube that I hadn’t seen for weeks. What happened was, Jif is real pretty, and she was in Lou Bob’s, and Lester ‘Callister got smart with her like he didn’t know what parts of her was handles and what parts wasn’t. She laid him out cold with a pool stick and went to hide in the mountains. But after a while the sheriff said he figured the Statue of Limitations was about a month for smacking Lester, and anyway the doctor said he probably be out of a coma in a week, so weren’t no harm done but his teeth might be all cattywumpus. Jif was smiling all happy like. That’s a good sign if you know Jif, and I felt like a man with five aces and a date with somebody else’s wife, so we went off to my doublewide. I figure there’s nothing better on a mountain night than a good girlfriend, a six-pack, and a Bug Zapper.
Write Fred at [email protected] Put the letters pdq anywhere in the subject line to avoid heartless autodeletion. All read, reply not guaranteed due to volume.