Thursday, July 8, 2010
While Nashville’s finest rode horsies downtown, corralling drunks and enforcing the infamous “no-spitting nor passing gas ordinance,” I celebrated the Fourth of July in the middle of a road. “BAM!” as my old friend and running mate, Emeril, would say, wiping Cheetohs crumbs off his face.
Hooray for the red, white and blue indeed.
Speaking of which, some of the more conservative members of this loose-knit association I like to refer to as “humankind” (though KIND may not exactly fit) like to question my patriotism.
It has something to do with my ability, at a whim, to recite some of the draft board scene from Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.
"Shrink, I want to kill.…. I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. … And the sergeant came over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the hall, said, "You're our boy."
And some have questioned me because I support the Big O in his efforts for universal health care…. I offer this whole-hearted support for two reasons: The Big O beat me in a game of CRIBBAGE (no we didn’t play the card-and-board came, we just spelled it out in a basketball shooting contest) in which my support for his health care reform was at stake. Speaking of steak, he also earned one, char-broiled and bloody, because – he jokes (?) that’s how he’d like to see Osama Bin Laden.
Course no one will ever find Osama, because he’s operating one of those milk-bottle-toss games on carnival midways throughout the Midwest. People are strange. No one ever looks in the faces of carnies, you know. It’s the perfect disguise. My friend Captain Kirk was not a war hero, but he was a pool shark and a carny. He air-brushed images of The Village People, WHAM! and the like on T-shirts on the midways for 35 years before he decided perhaps it wasn’t his road to fortune. Now he’s a very spiritual telephone sharecropper in Des Moines. Bless him.
Back to my support of health care reform: I actually believe in it. And that is in addition to the support earned while playing basketball with the Big O. Did I ever mention that when he hits a really outrageous shot, he likes me and my pal Tom Petty to break into a rendition of “Hail to the Chief?” It’s pretty humiliating. And discordant.
But I do support the health reform efforts and it draws the ire of some so-called patriots, who lament that “huddled masses” thing on the big old statue in New York. I believe these “patriots” are the cracks in the Liberty Bell.
I should mention, though that they have said that I -- along with colleague Rob “Death” Dollar, and others who forged a personal friendship with the Lone Ranger -- have aided in the Big O’s successful efforts to take the nation away (albeit briefly) from the scourge who formulate political opinions by mimicking talk radio’s various cretins.
These anti-patriotic patriots plan to reclaim “our country” from friends of the Lone Ranger like me, Rob (a respected member of the federal government and, by some accounts, a secret agent in the service of Her Majesty) and Scott “Badger” Shelton. By the way, Rob and I both are Kentucky Colonels, although I believe he likes fried chicken in greasy tubs better than I do. Give me deep-fat-fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches every day, eh? That’s what happened, didn’t it Elvis?
While on the subject of the Lone Ranger, I should mention how Trooper Rudy chased me down on a speeding citation while I reached the darkness at the edge of Hoptown after visiting the Lone Ranger.
The spot of my lean and frisk – well, actually I just had to hand him my license and registration, as Trooper Rudy isn’t the kind of guy who enjoys the prurient pleasures of the “lean and frisk,” was just outside Hopkinsville, Ky. The spot where I was stopped by the long arm of Trooper Rudy was not far from where my friends in the Fifth Special Forces Group (Air Assault) have their top-secret clubhouse. The zealots who question my patriotism likely haven’t been guests here, as Rob and I have, frequently roasting marshmallows and listening to true tales of heroism from those who lived it rather than just heard about it on their short-waves in their suburban bonus rooms.
Love the soldiers, hate the war. Give Ireland back to the Irish, I say.
Oh yeah, that’s right, our war is in Afghanistan and the sunny neighboring land of Iraq. Going well, too, I see by the body count and the progress toward peace. Big O, I thought you were going to stop this ridiculous thing? Oh well, no more chocolate pie for you next time you come by unless you get Gen. Dave to get those soldiers out. I mean, what’s it take to end a war? Another Rolling Stone interview?
Back to Trooper Rudy on that cold and lonely stretch of highway. He said “Kid, do you know you can’t drive like this in Christian County, Kentucky?”
I told him I thought I could. And I also said I wasn’t speeding, a conviction that took me a few days later to court in Hoptown, where I proclaimed my innocence while (borrowing some from Arlo Guthrie and Alice here) a shackled group of all kinds of mean, nasty ugly-looking people sat on the benches, looking on. Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father rapers! Father rapers sitting right there on the bench next to me! And they was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible crime-type guys sitting.
And the judge looked past the meanest, ugliest one and looked me square in my red, white and blue eyes and said “kid, what’d you do?”
At which point I eloquently paced the courtroom, laying out my Lone Ranger defense. I told him how I had gone to Hopkinsville to visit the Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore, who took time from his busy schedule to hang out with me and Rob, Badger and with my brother, Eric, who --- while never a News Brother because his Hinduism prohibits him from taking part in our regular slaughter of sacred cows -- finds it hard to get up in the morning without laughing uproariously about me, his brother, or “The Colonel,” as he likes to call me. Of course, he has arthritis in his football knees, so it’s hard for him to get out of bed regardless. But he liked the fact he was there when the Lone Ranger spit on a silver bullet, rubbed it on all of our lips and pledged to become a News Brother.
By the way, Trooper Rudy told me after the hearing that he may have made a mistake. I like that guy. The Lone Ranger would like him, too.
But that’s another story. Let’s get back to the matter at hand: The Fourth of July, another calamity in my life and, of course, patriotism.
Some conservatives think they’ve lost their nation because my tall pal is in the Oval Office. Some even mention that other thing, you know, the one they don’t like to mention for fear of seeming hate-filled or at least bloated and repugnant. Obama is not only from Chicago, but he has CHILDREN.
You know, when Little W from Texas was in the Oval Office, I didn’t think we’d lost our nation. I just thought we’d let Shotgun Dick and his band of robber oil barons and pig-skewering thugs get too much control.
In fact, I even liked Little W’s “Mr. Gorbachev: Tear down this wall.” Hold it, that was my old bud Ron Reagan during a Death Valley Days commercial for 20 Mule-Team Borax.
Little W’s shining moment was when he flew on that jet onto the aircraft carrier and declared “Mission Accomplished,” not because the war was ended, for clearly it rages on nine years later, but because his flight suit remained dry. I probably could not have accomplished that feat. It is something, the only thing actually, for which I offer him due praise.
OK, as for anyone losing our nation, I just occasionally peek out my window, past the goldfinch feeder and I see it’s still there. Where I left it. Heck, the Big O and Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and the late Slim Pickens even played NUKE on the basketball court at the end of my driveway. Sen. Byrd sat on the deck, fiddling with Charlie Daniels.
Of course, my part of the nation almost was washed away thanks to rain and, some say, other freaks of nature, sometimes referred to as “the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”
Of course they aren’t “real Army,” in that they don’t use machineguns and flesh-burning torches. Instead, they tote pipe wrenches and hand grenades in their brief cases. But these guys can create true havoc. No they aren’t nasty sounding, like the “Night Stalkers” and the top secret “Slit Their Throats and Bleed them Like Pigs” battalion from the late Fort Leonard Wood, but the troops of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are powerful.
The ‘U.S.’ in their name is a dead giveaway as to what’s happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear, but did you know that flood insurance and earthquake insurance, though written and sold by the major “insurance companies’’ really are underwritten by the U.S. government? And is there a difference between the two?
Tell me who’s lost our nation now when the government prospers from insurance premiums for emergency conditions like flood and plague and volcanoes and then they can deny coverage or pay perhaps $500 for the loss of a half-house?
And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is manning the floodgates with their bathroom plungers, nuclear neckties and those wallet condoms they use to plug holes in the dams and damsels.
No, this wasn’t the Big O’s idea. It predates him. But you know, as my friend John Kay -- and he really is a friend, as I call or e-mail him occasionally in his Canadian lair -- says ”there’s a monster on the loose.”
Hold it. I’m supposed to be talking insurance here.
This last weekend as we finally put our house back together – with the help of the $500 the government gave me for implements of destruction as well as kindly aid from one of the few bosses I liked who still is alive, a few friends and relatives, but mostly by robbing my kids’ education fund – I felt good for about a half-day. My long national nightmare seemed to be about over.
Nah, I’m not Opryland. I didn’t lose millions. I just lost my patience at times. I realize now, thanks to the most recent occurrence, that I am being tested. Perhaps I am some sort of government guinea pig. Perhaps the Big O arranged for all of these calamities to see what it would take me to crack. Maybe it’s just old Shotgun Dick and his vile band of bird blasters.
And then came the “BAM.”
Need a nap. I’ll write again soon.