The citizens of my little slice of Oklahoma are once again being their entertaining selves.
The Family Shouts Together…
Recently I was hanging out at a state park near where I live that was built around some natural springs in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (oh, those vile liberals). They dammed up one of the springs and turned it into a smallish, three- or four-acre lake. It’s very pretty there, with trees of all sorts—Chinaberry, Sycamore, Hackberry, Walnut—and fauna galore. There’s a mama muskrat I particularly enjoy watching while she cuts cattails to line her den.
Anyway, I was having a nice quiet time. Too bad some extra members of the local human population had to show up.
There were six of them in all, Mom, Dad, and four kids, three girls and a boy, ranging from around three to around seven, they were enjoying a family outing on the other side of the lake from where I sat in the shade, but the Katzenjammer-like volume of their voices made their conversation impossible to avoid. And right out of The Family Circle it was, too. I recorded it here, with all the fidelity I can muster…
Little Boy: Lookit the turtle!
Mom: Hurry up, it’s time for dinner.
Little Boy: Lookit the turtle!
Mom: What’d I just SAY? Get up here!
Oldest Little Girl: It’s a turtle, Mom!
Mom: No it ain’t. Both of you: move!
Middle Little Girl: But Maaaaaaa’aaaaaaahm!
Mom: I ain’t gonna say it again. Move your asses right now or we’re gonna leave you here!
Little Boy: It IS a turtle! Lookit it!
Mom: God dammit! That’s not a fuckin’ turtle! It’s a big god damn stick!
Little Boy: Huh uh! It’s a¬¬—
Mom: Stop it, or I’m gonna paddle you! You hear me?
Dad: Hey, it IS a turtle.
Mom: And you shut the fuck up, too! Jesus CHRIST!
On that note they departed, the Model American Family, back up the trail to whatever carney conveyance had delivered them there. And from all around me came the unmistakable sounds of Nature applauding.
I thought my little town was the Center of the Redneck Universe, but it turns out that there’s another, even smaller, town about twenty miles from here that takes the redneck cake (or, rather, cornbread). For proof, we need look no further than their recent Senior Prom.
The theme was “A Ride in the Country.” Their colors: Mossy Oak hunter’s camouflage…and pink. The centerpieces were tumbleweeds…with pink ribbon. The drinks table (no alcohol of course, only punch) was decorated with mason jars, mason jars filled with dirt clods, topped with tumbleweeds, and festooned with what can only be described as fluffy stuff…in pink. Many of the boys wore Mossy Oak hunter’s camouflage vests with their tuxedos. One boy’s tux was done entirely in Mossy Oak hunter’s camouflage. The commemorative T-shirts were Mossy Oak hunter’s camouflage with a design on the front; a drawing of a pair of hunter’s boots and a pair of high heels…in pink. Instead of a red carpet for the King and Queen to stroll down, they made a carpet of Mossy Oak hunter’s camouflage Duct Tape. The catering was by Kentucky Fried Chicken. Not a buffet. Big buckets on each table.
My friend Cal believes the kids were making a statement and being ironic. I, on the other hand, not being anywhere near as gracious or reasonable as Cal, believe they were just being hillbillies. Seventeen-year-olds don’t do irony. Irony is the privilege of the old and grouchy. Like me.
Losing It Be Not Proud…
So, I’m at the movies the other night. Went to see Red Riding Hood. The eight-pound Oreck vacuum doesn’t suck as much as that movie does, but that’s not what I want to talk about. Just about the time the house lights faded, three kids dive-bombed into the seats in front of me. I’m going to put their ages at eight (a boy), ten (another boy) and eleven (a girl). They began chattering as soon as their narrow little butts hit the cushions. Someone a few seats down from them leaned over during the previews and told them to shush, which did about as much good as begging a puppy to file your taxes. I was to discover later that the daring shusher was the owner of the smaller boy, which rendered her ineffectual shushings all the more bothersome.
But, OK, look: I get it. They’re kids. Kids talk. Kids talk loud. It in the nature of kids to be annoying in public. But I do wish, just occasionally, that I would encounter some of them that conducted themselves as if they had parents at home and not abettors. Mini vans needn’t necessarily be get-away vehicles.
Anyway, the kids kept tittering and giggling, as the collar of my shirt grew tighter and tighter. The movie started, and even though I sensed from the very start that my money would’ve probably been better spent on a good rectal scouring, I had paid for it, and wanted to hear it, such as it was. So I assembled my best “Cool Uncle Rich” smile, leaned forward, aimed it at the trio, and said, “Hey, guys. Chill out. People are trying to watch the movie.”
Three small pale faces turned toward me, three small pale round big-eyed faces, like three juvenile dugongs investigating an X-Box. But, wonder of wonders, they did stop talking. For perhaps eleven seconds.
Time passed. Their voices and their twitching, OCD, antics grew louder and more feral. Had there been a runt in their litter, they would’ve eaten it and rolled around in its blood. The ineffectual shusher shushed them again, eliciting not even a pause in the gale. A lady in the row in front of them offered her own shush, which was also completely ignored.
Believe it or not, I don’t usually shush people during movies. Most of the time they shut up on their own. But these three hellhounds, well, I figured they deserved special attention. So, I leaned forward again and stuck my face right in their business.
“Shut up,” I whisper-hissed. “I mean it. You’re pissing me off.”
My abrupt arrival on the scene startled them and the little girl sort of “eeped” as they all faced me once again.
“Please,” I said. “Just be quiet. OK?”
Interestingly, the ineffectual shushers, both next to and in front of the wee terrorists, each turned and said “Thank-you.” And the wee terrorists ceased jabbering, too, for an period of time that lasted at least fifteen seconds. Then they were right back at it, full speed ahead.
And now we are entering the section of my narrative which some might find offensive.
When the creatures resumed their gabbling and honking the youngest of them (who’s name I later learned was, of all things, Traven) looked back at me and said,
“Hey. Gimme some of your popcorn.”
That’s all he said, but I…what’s the word I’m looking for? Snapped! That’s it. I snapped.
“Listen to me, you little sack of shit,” I growled. “Shut the fuck up. Shut your fucking mouth, right fucking now, or I’ll climb over this seat and shut it for you.” He started to say something smart-alecky, but I didn’t let him. “Don’t you wise-ass me, you little fucker. Do you understand? Do you hear me, you little cunt? Shut up. Shut. Up.”
For the next hour dear Traven made exactly two sounds. Neither was very loud or particularly disturbing. Part of me hopes he had nightmares when he got home, about a fat bearded giant who wanted to throttle him; my Anti-Hagrid to his Anti-Harry.
When the movie was over, Traven’s mother thanked me again. She apologized for his behavior and finished up by saying “I just don’t know what to do with him.”
“How ‘bout next time you’re pregnant, you lay off the meth,” I responded.
Now, even a rock will have noticed how much my tantrum resembled Mrs. Katzenjammer’s in the first story. I am, apparently, turning into one of these people. All that’s left for me now, I guess, is to buy some Wranglers, a Tap-Out shirt, some long-cut Copenhagen and a goat to cornhole.
And that’s the latest from Freak Central. Please, someone rescue me, before it’s too late…