Like the goldfish in the bird cage, Tie Rod has seen better times.
His people are out of work following a recent decision to let coal turn into diamond over several billion years, and mine it then. The basic problem is that most of the coal has been mined illegally and any economy based on illegal stuff is usually looking for better times.
So now poor people must turn to either crime, gambling or disability for income, and there is not much left to steal. There is more loose metal among the Maori tribe in New Zealand than in Eastern Kentucky where they will steal your box springs out from under you during the night to sell to the metal yard.
But gambling is always available. Tie Rod is an encouraged gambler because he got two out of the six Powerball numbers one time, four and a circle short of what a man needs to fulfill all those mental gifts a ticket holder makes to the millionaires he will create from his win. The current Powerball prize is about what an incumbent senator has available to campaign against a toothy young thing.
On some things odds are getting better. Until lately, Tie Rod thought that same-sex marriage has to do with repetition in the bedroom. Now he knows better. As Tie Rod sees it, that Supreme Court decision just doubled a person's odds of finding somebody who will want to marry them. Somebody said that same-sex marriage would really hurt the institution of marriage, and Tie Rod said, yeah, that's why he is all for it.
Actually, Tie Rod favors the Boy Scout approach: outlaw being gay, go on with being gay, if you are, and hide it like all decent people do.
Tie Rod was amused there for a while when the Boy Scouts considered a policy of having certain non-gay troops and other troops where gays could also scout or whittle or rub sticks together or whatever they do. Tie Rod could imagine a father sizing up his eight-year-old son, to choose which troop to put him in, and what if he put his boy in the gay troop and he turned out straight?
Tie Rod is also encouraged by the knowledge that the coal severance tax will finally be used for something besides police cars. He knows that the coal counties have never understood how to use the severance tax anyway and, by and large, wasted it. The idea of a severance tax is to build up something to replace an economy based on hauling away, but public officials in the mountains have been taught and taught others that coal mining is forever, and lack imagination enough to not waste their part of the severance tax.
But Tie Rod thinks he ought to have an equal chance with any other taxpaying Kentuckian to sit three rows behind the bench at Rupp Arena, the James Wiley seat, we call it up here. He would sue the university for allowing those plum tickets to be passed down from year to year and from generation to generation like an inherited fiefdom, but all the big-shot judges get free seats.
If basketball tickets close enough that you can see the floor are some of the most valuable property there is, and if they are going to pay for the place by raking off the coal train, then Tie Rod thinks he is as good as anybody else to sit in those seats. There's you a platform, Alison.
And she might even consider coming to the mountains and telling coal miners the truth. They are going to label her as Barack Obama's Monica anyway.
Reach Larry Webster, a Pikeville attorney, at email@example.com.