And so my elder daughter graduated from college yesterday. It was a wonderful moment of pride for me. She really stuck to her guns and muscled her way through. Which you would think is relatively easy when you are young, blonde, and beautiful, and an NFL cheerleader. But that brings its own challenges. She graduated summa cum laude, and held down three jobs the entire time. Not so relatively easy. Here she is with her friends (she's on the right):
I'd post a picture with me, however I am somewhat pasty-faced of late. I'm not sure if it's the carbo's or the vino, but I need to rip up. I can't despoil a picture with Emily with my mug.
And lest you think I am kidding, I'll post a picture of me and future NFL Hall of Famer Tony Boselli below the fold, taken Thursday night at the NFL Draft party in J'Ville:
Wow. Tony is a big boy. I'm a 6 '2", 210 guy on a big day, and yet I am a canker sore on him. Funny thing, he's lost about 50-60 pounds from his playing days.
I'm pretty sure he was hungry, and wanted to rip my gouty sweetbreads from my thorax and have them for an appetizer. I'm like a goose that way. But his better nature forbade it, thank Jesus.
P.S. Look at the nipples on him. I have that effect on people. It's a curse, and a gift.
Back during the Ancien Régime, before laptops and Blackberrys and PDA's and smartphones, there was the Day Timer:
What a marvel! All your information and contacts at your fingertips. When is that appointment? Right there! Where is that meeting? RIght here! A marvel of orderliness and organization, surely.
I ran across a twenty-year-old Day Timer the other day. Other than a few entries such as Fucked up another account $&^#@! and Who does that bastard think he is?? it seemed rather empty, and bland.
The only fun with Day Timers was picking up a coworker's when they weren't looking, and finding their PIN numbers. They were always in the back, scribbled in a corner. And always "coded," meaning the numbers were simply reversed. So you would find, say, 5763 in a margin, and leave an anonymous Post-It note on their desk that said 3675! I just cleaned out your account!
It's not as much fun now. You just boost their laptop and have the 12-year-old kid down the street hack it for you. I'll wager cat-burglars don't even wear crepe-soled shoes anymore.
They still sell these, apparently. Why? I don't know. If it don't fit on a microchip or in your shirt pocket it's just another buggy whip.
When my mom passed away in 1999 my four siblings and I, despite our horrendous grief, set about the horrible task of dividing up the remains of the familial day. I have four wonderful siblings, and we are generally of one accord, so this was a task of broken heart and dismay, not one of acrimony.
All of our parents' possessions were dutifully itemized and allocated, each to our own desires, and it was mercifully swift. No one item, to my recollection, was contested. It was just what it was, and beautiful for that. Again, I have four wonderful siblings. And it was all about mom.
I will say that, between the furniture and the mortgage proceeds and the whatever else remained, my sibs allowed me to take possession of three items. The three best things. Only to me, of course, but I treasure them.
Number one? The two-pronged fork:
They have fancier names for these things, now, but we always knew it as the two-pronged fork. I'm pretty sure that boy is older than me, as I recall it from my youngest days. In fact, being scolded with it by a 300 hundred pound negress maid, who probably wanted nothing more than to sink those tines into my sweetbreads, because I was a little pain in the puss. My mom used it a lot, too, however. Flipping meat, I suppose. I use it for a plethora of uses, none involving prostitutes. Yet. It holds up well.
Next: the Doorstop.
Well, here's a thing:
The Doorstop. I'm not sure where it came from, but my mother had two. I ended up with one, and my nephew Tyler ensured it made its way back to me when I was so unceremoniously dumped from my last gig.
I realize this picture makes it look like Winnie the Pooh with a shotgun blast through his head, but that's
its allure your head playing games on you.
Finally, and because we all need closure, the Rose Pruners:
Ah. The humble little pruners.
I vexed my mother, early and often. Married early, and yet refused her grandchildren. Drank like a sailor. Walked away from opportunity. Spit upon the face of Lady Luck. Was basically the worst little bastard you could expect in a child.
I broke my mother's heart a thousand times. And yet, when I would come visit, we could always go unto the back yard, and enjoy a bit of the Old Soil.
My mom never had much of a garden after we abandoned the farm, but she always had a little sumpin sumpin going on. She built an arboreteum, or arbor, in her back yard at her last place. And encased the damned thing with Cherokee Rose.
Hence the pruners. We lopped and pruned and tried like Hell to tame that crap.
I told her Confederate Jasmine. That was the stuff.
But you don't argue with your mama. Sometimes, it is what it is.
And those are my three best things. I have five readers. What are your three best things?
There sure are a lot of brown people on those Vonage commercials. I'm not sure I want to affiliate with that sort.
Plus, every time I call India it's toll-free anyway.
So Puddyhead and I get a call to replace an ice maker at the gun club a couple of miles down the road. Now, this is no ordinary gun club. It is the oldest and largest skeet, trap, and sporting clays club in America. It be Bad Ass. And it's one of three places in Savannah where the old boys hang out. It drips, it exudes, Big Bad Money.
The Senator belonged to the Club for years way back when, although he seldom took me there. Most of those fellows just like to drink hard liquor and talk about their money. The guns only come out when a regional or invitational occurs. Every four years, the Nationals. No, these old farts just like to bring their Holland & Hollands and J. Purdeys so they can park them at the corner, and brag about some fucking grouse they bagged in 1964.
Having said that, it's a good account to have for HVAC, even if you're only starting out with a 960 pound ice maker.
Here's the deal, as explained: drive up to Effingham County and pick up a condenser and upper unit in Tiger Ridge. Used goods. These rich bastards want to do this on the cheap. Okay.
Now, you can search my archives for Tiger Ridge and find plentiful info. It's a mile long stretch of dirt road in the most Godforsaken part of nowhere. About ten familys have been interbreeding there since about 1800. In fact, the Corinth Baptist Church was incorporated in 1812. People were still wearing fucking tricorne hats back then.
Tiger Ridgers hate outsiders, by the way. They shoot rock salt at your car. They yell unintelligible gibberish at you when you drive by. They are straight out of The Hills Have Eyes.
So Guy and I take my car up to Tiger Ridge, and somehow find the place. Daddy owns about 1,000 acres of hardscrabble soil, and Sonny clears lands and works on things, fixes things. Like ice makers.
The immediate vibe is tense: as the sand gnats begin to eat us alive we realize there is nothing living here: the promised Mexicans are absent. The chicken coops are empty. The hog pens are barren. The cow pastures are denuded of everything except the insolent mist of aforesaid gnats. It is 92 degrees in southeastern Georgia. It is, for lack of a better word, Hell.
Did I mention the cow skull? Oh, yes. There were a pile of bones a few yards away from the outbuilding we'd been directed to, and there sat the cow skull, or bull skull. It had horns. It was all Georgia-fucking-Okeefe'd out. Guy wanted to claim it as a trophy immediately, but smarter heads prevailed. I just wanted that goddam condenser and evaporator, and get the fuck out of there.
I grew up around these peoples. Puddyhead hadn't. He didn't understand the queer vibrations of the place I was getting.
And so: that evaporator was about 500 pounds. A huge beast. I could fit it in the SUV, but not it and the condenser. We opted to snatch the condenser, and return the next day for the big unit. A fucking hundred mile round trip. Both times. This job is starting to outstink the estimate, the quote. I envision dollars, emasculated as they are, trickling through my fingers.
At any ruck, we got the condenser home, to be delivered this morning, thence back up to Tiger Ridge for the evaporator.
But no: the call comes at 8:00: we caucused, boys, and we think we'll just lease a new unit. Thanks for your time.
Fuck me. I could have caughten the rickets, or the pellagra, or the beriberi up there. I have open sores, dammit!
My only salvation is I have a useless outside ice maker condenser in my backyard. I hope they call me and want it back. Because it is about to have one to two hundred caliber .45 slugs in it.
Gee, that corporate life was kind of easy-peasy, wasn't it?
With hardhat. I thought you might enjoy.
Georgia is a wonderful state. I'll stipulate that up front. From the Appalachian Mountains to the Coastal Empire to the Golden Isles to the Okeefenokee Swamp it is exquisite. Even Atlanta is great.
Then, of course, there is that primordial horror known as southwest and south central Georgia. They grow lots of pecans and peanuts down there, but the soil is poor, and the denizens inbred and insolent. I know. Half of my family comes from there. I'm relatively sure they still practice chattel slavery in those parts. Sherman didn't burn it because there was nothing worth burning.
And so: I have a job interview down there on Tuesday. And I'm desperate enough to take the interview. The way I see it, I can find a nice little dirt farm on five acres and grow some strange fruits. Practice my bowhunting and firearms. Perhaps cross that color line that so absorbs my waking days. Get a cat to keep the rats at bay. Domesticate a few swine.
I need a hook, though. Something that will tell these creosote-huffers I'm in the Club. I was originally thinking a vagrant's scalp would be excellent wampum to splay upon the interview table.
That might be a bit bold.
So: holp a man out: what prize does one proffer at an initial interview that will calm these peoples' nerves? Think The Hills Have Eyes, here. Anything less than a freshly-removed opossum uterus will leave them a bit cold. My family foreswore lynchings a full two generations ago, so that's a non-starter (legendarily known for the 1955 family reunion at Callaway Gardens, where this issue was resolved once and for all. It is also known locally as the Who Will Wash My Car? Summit).
It's actually close to the Folkston Funnel, too, so a rail-rider's liver might work. I just want to do the right thing, socially.
And Rubens painted fat chicks:
Actually, that might be a dude. I can't see the penis for the ivy. I like the fact the little fellow on the right has his urination going on, though. Bonus points.
But why does Rubens get the bad rap, and Rembrandt is a Dutch Master? Just spitballing here.
In the great time-space continuum I'm still just just a guy borned in 1957. This makes me technically an Old Man. I don't feel like one. I still feel 16.
My visage in the shaving mirror declaims otherwise, and so I must accept the sad facts. The upside? I feel 16.
Here's a thought: when I listen to the White Album and force my daughters to grind their teeth, my old man would have been forcing 40 year-old Rudy Vallee megaphone shit up my keister. Hell, the Senator used to make me listen to music I know was a generation behind him. Pretty sick, but I think I know where he was going.
Having said that, I still like I'm So Tired. I like that.
I just sneaked three old four foot flourescent bulbs across the street and demolished them in a trashbin in the playground with a meat cleaver. It was so illegal and egregious I almost feel like a member of the Obama Administration. Stirrings in my loins.
Burnside Island, Georgia. Live oaks? Fecund. Spanish moss? Abundant. Decay? Insoluble. Stardate: well, I don't know stardates. April 2011 will have to suffice.
Have the feeders out. Hummers: 2. One emerald ruby throat, and a little brown fucker.
Nesting pairs: one pair cardinals, one pair eastern towhees, one pair brown thrashers. The towhees chase off the cardinals, the thrashers chase off the towhees.
One big red-headed peckerwood. He chases off everything.
The usual assortment of titmice, nuthatches, and chickadees. No blue jays or mockingbirds, praise Allah.
I need an owl trap. I hear two at night. I don't want to keep one, but I would surely love to fuck with one for about an hour.