Bob Johnson has been getting treats all day. Varmints are inside due to a wintry blast of rain and snow.
They are bugging the crap out of me.
I’m throwing treats at the problem. That’s what’s going on. I have to write about what’s going on, you know.
It’s a tremendous responsibility, and rowdy critters do not help. (But let’s not forget there’s a big prize package at the end of the rainbow. We’ll all be driving new pickups before it’s over.)
Anyway, Bob Johnson is shocked he doesn’t get a treat every five minutes. I tried to explain to him even I don’t get a treat every five minutes.
“Besides, you are just a dog, Bob Johnson,” I said. “Nobody remembers Faulkner’s dog.”
That’s a Faulkner joke. I try for at least three laugh lines per piece, unless I am being portentous, which is a ten-dollar word for “not funny.”
The Hillbilly Communications Network has been buzzing. Sometimes I am popular with my friends and acquaintances, and sometimes I am not.
I haven’t been able to figure this out. I won’t get a call or a text or a shout-out for a week, and then the phone and the internet (WCUAA) just blow up.
It’s like some secret signal goes out.
Everybody call or message Hicks now.
If you have any theories on this, I’d like to hear them. It’s not like I’m doing anything to cause it. Nope. I do the same thing every day. Because a cowboy’s work is never done.
Here’s the zeitgeist, or as close as I can figure it:
There is a lot of disappoint out there. There is also a lack of curiosity and patience.
One confidant told me she had been born too late.
“The Forties, that should have been my decade,” she said. “Everyone dressed up. They had shoulder pads, elegant clothes, dancing, drinking. It’s so disappointing now.”
Yep, who could argue with that? Well, no one, except the guys and gals who had to go save the world from fascism. I was thinking about that on December 7.
Let’s say you’re an 18-year-old volunteer or draftee. It’s 1942. You’re still a high-school kid, basically. You don’t know much of anything.
You know your farm or your town. You know high-school stuff.
And suddenly you’re on a tiny island in the Pacific or you’re in the African desert. And bad things are happening all around you, horrible things.
It’s a living nightmare.
If you survive, these things will haunt you for the rest of your life.
Those were the Forties for a lot of men and women all over the world.
“No one remembers Shakespeare’s children,” Faulkner once told his daughter. Allegedly. I doubt there’s a sound file of him saying it, but it’s been repeated enough times that it might as well be the truth.
Faulkner’s daughter must have been pretty disappointed that day. But genius is always forgiven.
“Sure, ol’ Bill could be a little flinty, a little dirty in the clinch. But no writer has ever depicted the internal monologue of the idiot man-child better than the master of Rowan Oak.”
Faulkner FTW. Geniuses get away with murder. It is so frustrating not to be a genius. It just burns me up.
I have tried all my life to be a genius. It’s like Charlie Brown and the freakin’ football. I know at the last second Lucy will yank the ball away, and I will end up flat on my back. Failure is a certainty.
It doesn’t matter. When my feet hit the floor in the morning, I’m thinking Nobel Prize.
Bob Johnson has done nothing today to help me win a Nobel Prize. Oh, how about this – I once met a Nobel winner, the poet Derek Walcott. It was before he won, but not too long before. Neat guy!
Sometimes the intel is not good. Indifference is making a strong showing, it seems. People do lose their curiosity about life.
“I’d like my world to be smaller, please,” they say. Or, “This is my fort, and I ain’t comin’ out!”
No! Don’t live in a fort! You can’t live in a fort and eat beans and expect anything fun to happen. Tear down your fort! This is not the French Foreign Legion!
Be patient with all the stupid, ugly stuff life throws your way. Study it. (People don’t study anymore – they just start screaming).
Patience is revolutionary. Life’s a treat.
John Hicks has an encyclopedic knowledge of TV game show hosts.