The only reason they caught Eric Conn was all those billboards he put up in Honduras.
When you look back at it, Honduras would seem like a good place for Eric to pick to ’lite in. It is on a big holler, called the Caribbean; it has fairly high mountains with decent mineral, and it is close to Belize, which hath no treaty. They speak Spanish, the language of many of Eric’s wives.
The negative side of Honduras is that they have WiFi, something yet unexplained to me, but which is sort of like ESP.
WiFi apparently is irresistable, especially when dining alone. So before you can say, “Eye in the Sky,” you are, as Uncle Dave Macon would say, “caught and brought to town!”
Never miss a local story.
Where did it all start? It started with train raking — back when they floated out all the trees and put men under the hill and bade them trade hoe for pick. But families still had to have fire, people would take long sticks and rake coal off the graveyard peak of coal cars on their way to light Boston.
This was put into a gunny sack and carried home to go in an off-brand imitation of a warm morning. There was no correct place to stand around a coal stove. Hot was hot and cold was cold and medium was always too medium.
Train raking may have been stealing, but was practiced by heathens and the sanctified alike. Was it stealing to take your lumps, to reclaim a few sacks of the carbon which underlay your region? Was that stealing, or a tariff? No one hollered “Rake!” because it was consensual.
Train raking up a holler flows and gathers and leads down to a disability culture where being unable to work is a last resort way of living to one for whom no work is available and who doesn’t want to leave the world’s most delightful people.
Having to take opioids is solid proof of disability, as long as you don’t get dependent on the evidence. Don’t let the extra ones go to waste.
So, Conn — the most famous fugitive since Carlos Escobar, of late yanked from Margaritaville — helped hundreds who were not disabled get disability benefits. Most of these people knew they were not disabled, or didn’t try to get better if they were. Most never intended to become addicts.
So what. The rest of the world has gotten cheap juice by hauling off our coal for 100 years and leaving us poor as a snake. It won’t hurt the rest of the world to provide a $700 a month basic income to the undereducated and unmotivated youth of Appalachia, for a few years anyway, until the trees grow back and you idiots in Central Kentucky quit voting for coal-company puppets for your own representatives.
Or until they can, too, flee to Honduras. Trump’s wall will keep a lot of Appalachians in.
Reach Larry Webster, a Pikeville attorney, at websterlawrence@