Tie Rod always wanted to be somebody. Now he knows he should have been more specific.
He was on his way to spend the weekend in Lexington and to join the anti-Wall Street rally and stand out there and holler and demand with them for a few hours, but on the way down in the pickup he was having problems being specific on what he was hollering for and demanding.
He knows that unless you get specific and not too cosmic in your demands you can end up standing outside in the cold for the duration of one of these global-warming winters, so cold lately that even the old folks have quit complaining that it used to get a lot colder than this.
A little computer sign shop up the holler had made Tie Rod some signs to hold up for the rally, with the word "corprit" on one, and only two inappropriate apostrophes. He bought a stick from Lowe's.
You might say that Tie Rod lives in the sticks because he has hundreds of old abandoned tobacco sticks, thousands of trees and enough slabs, but he didn't want to be embarrassed at the rally by a hick stick.
But he just felt like he ought to be there. Corporations with a trillion dollars in cash in the bank and the rest of us needing money. He goes into small businesses every day and knows the reason they don't create jobs is the Mart System.
One hundred and fifty years ago there was only one store in his town and Tie Rod says we are about back to that. He guesses that means we will soon have only one post office, right up there with the eyeglass, pharmacy or bank departments.
He used to get real mad about the rich paying real low tax rates, but Slemp reminded him that you have to factor in the huge sums the rich have to give to politicians to get those breaks.
So about the time he got to 1-75, Tie Rod, as they say on the cooking channels, reduced his demands down to two things.
One: No millionaire should be allowed to run for Congress or Senate.
Two: Wholesalers of goods cannot charge one merchant more for them than another has to pay.
Well, he pulled into Lexington and there was the strangest things. They were having a parade to celebrate being lazy, laying back on couches and doing stuff to glorify inactivity, which Tie Rod thought eminently sensible.
He did worry that the Lexington people, by making fun of themselves like this, might be reinforcing their own stereotypes.
Tie Rod likes stereotypes because they help you to sort of feel like you know people even if you don't. He never could figure out what was negative about the stereotype of mountain people.
But Tie Rod had miraculously managed to get tickets to the football game and went there first and saw some even stranger things around the outside of the stadium.
Cars were missing their routes. People were dropping everything they picked up. Kids routinely miffed whiffles in the parking lot — had them right in their hands and dropped them.
Not a single bag of corn the whole afternoon found its way through a hole. People could not get their beer open. In the R.V. lot, the gigantic motor homes were having a demolition derby.
Inside the stadium, where some of the people in the parking lot eventually went, where they used to have the names of the old time All-Americans like Rick Kestner, they have a disco flasher.
That led to the first time ever that Tie Rod threw up before he started drinking at a football game.
A lot was thrown up during the game, but mainly dropped on our side and caught by the other.
Having a mediocre football team is a comfort to Tie Rod, who thinks that reduced expectation is a good thing.
Larry Webster is a Pikeville attorney. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.