Friday, October 22, 2010

The Problem With Folks These Days

I guess this is the type a story I expect you might not believe. In fact, I expect you might wonder if I actually believe it myself.

Well. I do.

It’s the kind of story that starts on a deserted road. That’s always where this type thing begins, ain’t it? And as you might expect, I was all alone. Just me and the trees and the sky and the asphalt beneath my Firestones.

I was down on Route 40 down past the city limits. I know this to be true because I remember all them potholes. I’ve gone back a time or two and those potholes don’t start up till you get past the city. I guess the state or the county or whoever don’t care much about the state of that road once it gets past where all them voters live. It ain’t used much, I know, but still, it just seems a waste to let a perfectly good road go outta shape thatta way. It’s just a dang shame. I never been much for letting things go to waste.

That’s the problem with folks these days. Everything’s disposable. Heck, just look at the divorce rate. Even spouses are disposable these days. Ain’t nothing sacred or meaningful anymore. It’s all just recyclable.

But,you know what? It really ain’t. Nothing’s recyclable. Once it becomes waste it’s waste and will always be waste and there ain’t nothing you nor no one else can do about it.

But people these days don’t think thatta way. Nothing’s worth preserving to this generation except maybe some danged old swampland or forest full a nothing but rodents and reptiles. I just don’t get folks these days. Animals and plants and stuff like that matter while people don’t? Seems a self-defeating philosophy the way I figure.

Anyway, everything made by us people is disposable. Or at least that’s the way most people think. But I don’t. I don’t think that at all. Just look at my truck. Now, I reckon to you it don’t look all that good. I’ll admit it was once much shinier than it is today. It don’t look much like it did off the lot thirty years ago. But, all the same, it’s a good truck. That commie Obama and his Washington cronies said they’d give me a tax credit for it if I traded it in a while back. My boy told me I should get one of them hybrids, can you believe that? But that’s just a waste. It’s been a dang good truck. It still is. It gets me where I need to be anyway. That’s all I ask for.

Besides, it’s packed full of memories. I know you don’t get that – the past don’t matter much to folks these days – but I can remember taking my wife and our oldest son home from the hospital in that truck. My boy had just been a little blue bundle at the time. He had the tiniest fingers. It’s hard to believe that anybody could ever be so small, but I guess we’re all tiny at one point or another the way I figure.

Some of us live our whole lives thatta way. Small, I mean. Some never want to grow. They live like children and die like children…

What’s that? You want me to get to the point? Dang it, I’m getting there! Just wait. Some things are worth waiting for. Now, I don’t know if the point, as you put it, is worth getting to or not. I reckon I got no way of knowing what you’ll feel or how. That just ain’t the way it goes, but all the same, sometimes it’s hard to know what to leave off and what to put into a story, you know what I mean?

No. I guess you wouldn’t. Your whole generation’s forgotten how to talk, I reckon. It’s all text this and email that. Sometimes there needs to be a little back and forth. You just can’t get that the same way on that there smart phone in your hand as you get it on a porch. I don’t know if it’s better or not. I don’t really care, but I know one thing: I’ve never had that carpal tunnel my boy got a year back. The Good Lord made us to talk with our mouths and not with our hands the way I figure.

Well, as I told you, I was out there in my truck. I was just taking a drive and hoping to catch a few catfish from a small pond down in the wildlife management area. There’s good fishing there at night, you know. I just toss out a few lines with some Oscar Myer’s and reel ‘em in till morning. The cats out there just love them hotdogs. But then again, catfish will eat just about anything, and I do mean anything.

That’s when I saw it. It came out of the water. Dangedest thing I ever did see. Like an octopus with the face and body of a man. Maybe I should say it looked like a man with a beard made out of squid. Hard to describe, he was. I studied him long and hard and think he had to be the most peculiar sight I ever did see.

Well, he came over and talked to me. I didn’t see his mouth move none, but I felt what he thought. He told me some of the craziest garbage I ever did hear. All about crumbling galaxies and hidden cities and people he called The Old Ones – they sounded kind a like politicians the way I figure – and he went on and on and on. He talked about worlds beyond worlds. I knew just by looking at him that he was crazy as a loon. Talking about other gods and such. That’s blasphemy the way I figure.

I told him I don’t believe in no God except the one I sing about on a Sunday.

The world kind of shimmered then and I saw things I reckon no man ought to see. I saw the sky itself as what it was. What it really was, I mean. He explained it in my head as the space between elements, whatever that’s supposed to mean. I tell you what it looked like. It looked like nothing at all. That’s the best way to describe it.

I told him that if that there was what he was selling I’d have none of it, and then I started telling him all that I thought was wrong with the world.

Eventually, he just left. He just up and walked into that nothing space and kind of drifted apart. He held his hands over his ears as he walked away.

That’s what’s wrong with folks these days, the way I figure. They just don’t want to listen. Let me tell you, there was this one boy who…

Hey! Where ya going? You ain’t even finished your tea!

Young people today just let everything go to waste, I tell you...


  1. Hahahahaa! I love this ending! Great job, lovey.

  2. TJ you wouldn't believe how much this sounds like my dad, and he can tell a story, let me tell ya. Boy, does he have some tales!
    Good one.

  3. Did you just... bore Cthulhu?

    Awesome! I am actually laughing out loud!

    Kari @ The Best Place By The Fire

  4. Terri-Lynne: Thank you! Decided to take a break from doom-n-gloom and death this week.

    Deanna: I know lots of folks who talk this way (and probably do it myself sometimes, to be honest). The voice was inspired by some of the old timers I'll talk to every now and then when fishing at little ponds around here.

    Kari - Thank you! Yes! Yes, I did bore Cthulhu! :)

  5. I love the way the narrator thinks that talking about potholes and emails and such is on a par with talking about the creature he met at the lake. Nice one T.J.

  6. Now we know the secret power that can defeat Cthulhu. Way to go, Guy-who-feeds-hotdogs-to-catfish!