And we’re back.
I’d like to thank all my B2L2 friends who, after rolling their eyes to heaven,
nevertheless said kind things about my poetry and fiction experiments.
I had this exchange with B2L2 contributor and unlicensed bail bondsman Bob
“I really liked that last piece. You were kind of channeling Kurt Vonnegut.”
“You mean ripping off Kurt Vonnegut,” I said.
“Well, I’m too polite to say that.”
Hurray for manners!
We all have our secret and not-so-secret aspirations. This is a good thing,
I think. Be all that you can be, and never forget the famous words of TV
personality Jobie Martin: “If you must fall, fall STRAIGHT AHEAD!”
Which brings us to the snow.
It snowed all over the South. If you didn’t get any snow, I’m sorry. You can
It snowed about a foot here, then it all froze. This was unusual. (When someone
starts going on and on about the weather, it means one of two things. Either
something truly unusual and conversation-worthy has happened with the
weather, or you are talking to a crashing bore.)
In this part of the Tennessee Valley, a foot of snow is enough to send the public
into a supermarket-looting panic.
I was not alarmed by the snow. Bob Johnson, Lab mutt and frequent guest star
of these posts, has adapted quickly to the new conditions. He is the same dog
as he was before the snow, except now he thinks it’s okay to bite me on the butt
when we’re taking a walk across Ice Station Zebra.
It’s as if Bob Johnson thought long and hard about the snow and decided: “All
this cold white stuff is a very good reason to bite John Hicks on the butt.”
Bob Johnson isn’t serious when he bites, I know that. He’s about as dangerous
as a can of peas.
Be that as it may, I am not down with this crazy winter-wonderland scene. I do
not dig it, man.
Snow is magical and awe-inspiring. For about five minutes. After that, unless
you are Bob Johnson, or a child, it is annoying. It’s like having the Sahara
dropped on your lawn, only the sand eventually melts and turns everything to
I can’t begin to imagine living in a place where it does this for more than a week
or two every year. I’d go nuts. A short distance, that, but still …
The county roads were clear after a day or so. Cabin fever never really had a
chance to set in, but I wasn’t taking any chances.
I did a fair amount of tromping around in the snow. I documented the snow with
videos and photographs, which I disseminated via the Internet, which connects
us all, amen.
I became obsessed with composing an original score for one of my snow videos.
A tremendous zit appeared on the tip of my nose. I applied benzoyl peroxide and
forged ahead, seeking the perfect delay setting on the DigiTech RP80.
The zit was rather stunning. It was the first real zit I’d had since the Carter administration. (Don’t let anyone tell you the Carter administration was a drag. We had the Ramones and Aerosmith. The really good Aerosmith. Rocks. “Back in the Saddle.” When Aerosmith only had one dumb power ballad in their whole set.)
Day Three of the Great Blizzard of ’11. Walking into Food World, I realized
my nose was still coated with benzoyl peroxide. I decided this was okay. The
young lady who scanned my items when I checked out was very sweet about it.
“You have some white stuff on your nose,” she said.
“I was in a terrible ski-jumping accident,” I said.
Back at the farm, the DigiTech RP80 was waiting for me. The DigiTech RP80
produces about 10,000 guitar effects and its mysteries are impenetrable. I
scrolled through the settings for hours, descending deeper and deeper into
Then it happened. It made The Sound.
One note, infinitely repeated at a rate of about 75 times per minute. My heart
leapt. I knew I’d found it.
It was monotonous. It was frigid. It was astonishingly boring.
It was the sound of snow.
John Hicks’ nose made a cameo appearance in Joel and Ethan Coen’s
2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou?