Larry Webster: Staying on top with world-class mopers

Contributing ColumnistApril 13, 2014 

Tie Rod was so upset about the Connecticut thing that he went over and burned Slemp's couch. Slemp was insured by good hands, which means he is more likely to be sued by his insurance carrier than paid for a fire loss.

Tie Rod sought comfort from his psychiatrist, but couldn't get in the waiting room because it was crammed with weeping people in blue shirts. The only thing that eventually cheered him up was that political ad on television which had the head of the minority leader superimposed on the body of Christian Laettner, with his foot on the chest of a woman with high cheekbones.

The other good news was that we are No. 1 in something, again. Tie Rod's district won an award for being the unhappiest congressional district out of the 435 in the country. Slemp doesn't think we deserve that award, that we are not any more unhappy than anywhere else, but just are more honest than other people, and also maybe a little bit accustomed to exaggeration when it comes to the sort of things you have to tell an administrative law judge to draw a crazy check.

Tie Rod believes that we deserve the award and that the only way to keep it in the future is relentless recruiting. Our unhappiness quotient is threatened by all these young people taking up farming again and by the prospect of legalizing stuff which might get us off meth and heroin. Unless we go out across the country and identify really sad people in high school and talk them into coming to live in the mountains, we will end up No. 2 after a bunch of cotton pickers or razorbacks.

There are many things a recruiter could tell some champion moper to lure him to the hills to keep us No. 1.

We could point out that the likelihood of a mine explosion is going up by the one-third reduction in mine inspections which is being legislated so that the state will have more arena money. There is nothing like a big mine explosion and a few dozen widows and orphans to make a community real unhappy for a long time.

Slemp, a Republican, never liked mine inspectors in the first place because they make you put out your cigarettes under the hill. He would take mine safety away from the state, because some state inspectors are honest, and turn it over to the county judge.

Tie Rod's pitch to unhappy recruits would also point out that it is generally recognized that people who live in the mountains do not have enough sense to solve their own problems and he can prove that by the SOAR board, which sort of resembles the way the English governed India in that it consists of enlightened people from afar who can be trusted to promote colonization and who won't disturb the power structure which has gotten us that Unhappy Trophy over and over.

One roadblock to the trophy in the future is the proposed school for optimists at the University of Pikeville. The boys agree that if you are going to recruit sad people to come live amongst us, they must not be allowed to attend Hillbilly Days, where liquid folk art, music you never would hear on a country music awards show and food to die from tends to make people happy for months at a time. When it comes to recruiting the unhappy, you don't want a bunch of one-and-doners, but unsolid people who will reliably stay depressed, whom you can depend on to either work for the minimum wage or get on a check and go to church too much.

Reach Larry Webster, a Pikeville attorney, at

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