John Hicks

95 Articles
John Hicks

Good morning. I hope everyone had a good night’s sleep, because, ah, I’m sure you’re all aware of, ah, unfolding events. Oh, and help yourself to the éclairs and brandy croissants. Thanks, Denise.

I’d like to start with a line chart. Lights, please.

Here’s where we were. Way up here. Cruising altitude. All systems go, doing what we do best. Moving the product like champions. Not a cloud in the sky.

Maybe an air pocket here and there, but not enough to spill your drink!

Here’s where we are now. Nosedive from 30,000 feet.

Lights, please.

To stick with the plane crash analogy, we are approaching terminal impact at maximum velocity. The wings have come off.

These croissants are delicious, Denise.

John Hicks

I was talking to Bob Dylan last night, and there was not a hint of Violence as we got down to our discussions. ‘We may never be able to defeat these swine,’ he told me, ‘but we don’t have to join them.’

Yes sir, I thought. The too much fun club is back in business. Let us rumble.

–Hunter S. Thompson, Kingdom of Fear

The revised plan of action was a lengthy extension of my “summer hiatus” that would stretch well into November, until after the elections.

Returning to the deadline grind had little appeal, especially during the final wretched months of Decision 2012.

Over the summer, I had become a man of Science. I had grasped the essentials of Pure Research and Development.

I always knew I had the freakish genes necessary for prolonged scientific inquiry. Mistakes were made, but they were Fun.

Someone else would have to write the sentences. I had Projects.

John Hicks

Editor’s Note: This post first appeared October 7, 2011.

I have lots of magazines lying around. They come in the mail, which is delivered by a woman in a tan Plymouth. I always wave at her, if I’m outside. Keep up the good work, Mail Lady!

My family and friends give me magazine subscriptions as gifts. It’s great. They know I am poor and shiftless and sit around gnawing on raw turnips etc. and would otherwise never encounter such.

One of these gift subscriptions is to The New Yorker. I don’t know if you’ve ever read The New Yorker, but it’s a pretty big deal. They’ve been around for a while. Keep up the good work, TNY!

I used to live in New York City about a million years ago, so I know a little something about the place. For a while there, I was a New Yorker, although I was usually on the brink of homelessness.

My friends who’d grown up in New York City thought I was fascinating. Not because of any talent I possessed, and certainly not because I had a clue about what I was doing there in the great metropolis.

I was a curiosity, a person of interest, simply because I was from the South, and not just the South, but Mississippi.

John Hicks

Editor’s Note: This post first appeared June 10, 2011.

I love this nationwide wailing and gnashing of teeth about the heat.

I grew up in the Deep South, so I earned my hot-weather badge at an early age. Now the rest of the country is in a sweaty panic because it’s hot in June.

In my Mississippi hometown, there was no such thing as a June heat wave. We had one heat wave every year, and it lasted from May to October.

As long as I wasn’t in school, I could have cared less. It never occurred to me and my friends there were places where melting asphalt was a novelty.

John Hicks

Editor’s Note: This Dec. 16, 2011 post is being re-run to celebrate Walker Percy’s birthday.

A programming note: Comedy Central is now running back-to-back episodes of 30 Rock just about every night.

30 Rock is the only network sitcom to give Seinfeld a run for its money, if you ask me.

Maybe I should be on Twitter. #TinaFeyIsAGoddess. #Duh.

Reading Walker Percy does not make me want to tweet. It makes me want to write.

It’s hard to say which one of Percy’s novels I like best, because there are several I return to again and again.

Currently, it’s The Moviegoer. I don’t understand how anyone could not want to read this book 20 times.

The Moviegoer was published in 1961, and won the National Book Award in 1962. Percy’s debut novel was the product of a long artistic journey. He was in his mid-40s when The Moviegoer made him a force in “Southern literature,” which is the kind of literature all writers born south of the Mason-Dixon produce, apparently. (Don’t get me started.)

John Hicks

It’s Friday the 13th and we’re all gonna die.

In the time-honored, slasher-movie tradition, those of us smoking pot or having sex will die first.

Okay, okay. These two things aren’t really connected, not in this piece, anyway. I just noticed my regular Friday post would be going up on the 13th and I thought I might sucker a few more people into reading it. (By the way, I’m a total wuss when it comes to filmic gore. I actually cover my eyes when the ominous music starts pumping and the knives, guns and chainsaws come out. Also, in terms of superstitious beliefs, the Friday the 13th thing is about as dumb as they come. Boatloads of bad things happen on Friday the 12th and Friday the 14th. You can look it up, Mookie.)

I hate to be the one to break the news that we’re all gonna die, because I’ve worked hard to establish my rep as B2L2’s Pollyanna-in-residence.

Human beings are born in much the same way all warm-blooded mammals are born. If you’re not clear on the concept, ask mom or dad for details.

John Hicks

For the last eight years, I’ve lived on a farm in rural Alabama.

In the movies, when city people arrive in the country, all kinds of funny, wacky things happen.

The other Hollywood default, of course, is best typified by John Boorman’s film of James Dickey’s tremendous 1970 novel, Deliverance. (Dickey’s cameo as a redneck lawman is superb. Watch for it near the end of the movie.)

Before I became a resident of Coburn Mountain, it was college towns and big cities. Culture and nightlife were always around the corner, or a short drive away. As a writer and musician, I never had to look far for work or inspiration.

More importantly, wherever I went I made new friends. I enjoyed the estimable pleasures of belonging to a community of people who also appreciated the thrill of walking the thin line between soul-crushing poverty and bohemian splendor.

It took me a while to figure out how to be happy here on the farm. I might as well have parachuted into the Amazon basin.

When you’re used to living life at a certain tempo and volume, peace and quiet can be disorienting, daunting. Complete solitude requires a kind of mental toughness I’d never had to cultivate.

After a year on the mountain, I was ready to leave. I’d always wanted to live in New Orleans, and my NOLA friends made sure I knew the welcome mat was out.

So one sunny weekend in August of 2005, I loaded up about half of my worldly possessions and delivered them to the Uptown apartment of an ex-girlfriend, who had graciously offered me a place to stay during the transition.

I returned to the farm to finish packing. I wasn’t in a hurry. I felt like I’d already pulled the trigger. I was doing something I’d done a dozen times before, picking up, moving on. C’est la vie. Despite New Orleans’ semi-deserved rep as a cruel banana republic, I knew I’d find a way to make it there.

John Hicks

I was up early, filling water bottles and charging batteries. I checked out a few maps. It’s always a good thing to know where you’re going in my corner of Alabama, especially if you live in the middle of nowhere and your destination is even more remote.

Chance of rain, according to the forecast. I was ignoring the gray skies. Given the vicissitudes of 21st century weather, I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had started raining locomotives and Gummi Bears.

Does anyone really know what the weather is going to do these days? I keep waiting for a TV weatherperson to tell it like it is:

“Right now it’s pretty nice out there. Last time I looked out the window, anyway. The forecast for tomorrow is … (shrugs). Hey, your guess is good as mine, Einstein! It might be a beautiful spring day, or we might experience a meteorological event straight out of the Old Testament. My advice, folks, is have a few drinks and don’t worry about it. I’ve been into the Absolut since lunch, and, frankly, I feel great. [Expletive] the [expletive] weather. Back to you, Todd.”

John Hicks

The mowers had been idle in the shed for months, but they cranked right up.

There is a long list of maintenance rules for the mowers, which I ignore in much the same way I ignore everything that stands between me and noisy fun.

Oil? Check. Gas? Topped off. Let’s rock!

One must also believe the mower will start. It is very important to have faith in the machine. Do not assume there will be trouble. Do not let doubt cloud your mind. This angers the machine gods.

If you had to mow the Ponderosa every week, you would indulge in some magical realism, too.

Bob Johnson loves the riding mower. He stays about ten yards ahead of me in order to convince himself he is being chased, which is always more fun than not being chased.

This is not Thunderdome, Bob Johnson. I don’t ever catch you because I’m not chasing you. I am making the grass shorter, you dope. The only thing you are winning is best supporting goober.

John Hicks

Lately I’ve fallen into the routine of putting my alarm clock on the radio setting.

Instead of the usual hellish bleat (a suitable warning for nuclear attack or biohazard breach), I am treated to the susurrations of those crazed liberals over at NPR.

You know the bunch I’m talking about. They can’t wait for the second Obama term so they can take to the streets singing “La Marseillaise” and start chopping the heads off Real Americans.

Liberalism leads to socialism, communism and, finally, soccer. Then Satan appears on the pitch and all kinds of gnarly CGI is unleashed. Yep. That’s how it all goes down.

John Hicks

This is my first post from the newly improved Executive Cowboy Lounge, high atop Coburn Mountain, Alabama.

It is raining, with thunder and lightning. The PC should not even be plugged in. I’ve already lost one hard drive to lightning. (Did I learn my lesson the last time I lost all my data? Do I now take great pains to back everything up? Nope. I’m what mental-health professionals and ex-girlfriends refer to as an idiot. Shoe. Foot. Shoe on foot.)

But this week has been a real doozey, as we say in polite company, and the deadline looms. Yes, I take risks. Because I care, gentle readers. I’m afraid if I don’t show up on time every week, all six of you will forget about me. And, shoot, I’m sworn to fun.

John Hicks

It’s Leap Day, so I better get crackin’ on this stuff. You don’t often get a chance to write a blog post on Leap Day.

Don’t let that train pass you by, friend, or one day you’ll find yourself all alone in a cheap room, toothless, with pee stains on your underwear. Wishing you had written that Leap Day post.

But it will be too late.

And no one can bear that kind of sadness.

See, February 29 only comes around once every four–

Ladies! Gentlemen! Put away your revolvers! Just kidding!

Okay, Leap Day? Leap Year? Bor-ing! Leaping is okay, though.

I’ve done a lot of leaping in my time. I leap whenever I feel like it. Hardly a day goes by when I am not required to leap over Bob Johnson.

(Shot of snoozing Bob Johnson with title: Canis americanus.)