On a Drive From North Mississippi to the Gulf Coast of Alabama in 2017
He Can Only Get FM Radio
Spring Is Approaching
Listenin’ to one of these… I don’t know. They—they’re s—supposedly “country” songs, I’ll put that in quotation marks. “Hey, girl, I got a little dirt on my boots,” this guy complains. [Laughter.] No, I think he’s bragging, not complaining. And, you know, there’s a lotta thump, thump, and a little, uh, electrified fiddle, and I’ve heard so many of these songs today. Roots… “She’s got roots down in her boots.” [Laughter.] That’s not right. That’s all—that’s better, actually. “She’s got… She’s country from her boots to her downhome roots.” And there’s another guy who got boots and now he’s got roots. I, eeeeeeeyuhhhhh, I call this the “Roots ‘n’ Boots” [laughter] genre.
But it’s fake. And I don’t mind things that are fake. I like things that are fake. But it’s… and it’s manipulative. And I don’t mind things that are manipulative!
But sincerely manipulative! [Very short laugh.] Not… not, uh, so heartlessly manipulative. Not so… mechanically manipulative. Uh…
One, one song bragged about how you’re swatting flies… th—our narrator is swatting… swatting flies in the land of milk and honey…? Swatting flies is no treat. But I mean in this guy’s world… it makes you real. You know, swattin’ flies is somethin’ a real man does [laughter], I guess. It’s not that hard to swat a fly.
Well! They’re tricky.
They’ve got those fly senses.
But I just don’t believe it comes from the singer’s heart.
And, and, and, uhhhhh, not even from that fake part of his heart with which he would be a cog in the entertainment machine. I’ve heard… you know, I believe [laughter]… the novelty songs of the past were, uh, “We like short-shorts.” I did believe those guys liked short-shorts. [Stifled laugh.] They really sounded like they liked short-shorts. Uh, in that song. So that was a fake thing made to grab some cash but it also had an element of [short laugh] sincere… uhhh… love of [laughter] short-shorts. Is that a good thing? I don’t know.
I should’ve listened to the rest of that one song, which seemed to be about… how the guy has dirt on his boots so, “Let’s go out dancin’ to [laughter] clean my boots.” [Laughter.]
I just didn’t believe it! Look, Hank Williams wrote songs about goin’ out and partyin’. You know how he proved he was serious? By drowning in his own vomit, that’s how.
I’m sorry, Hank Williams.
My dad took my brother and me to Hank Williams’s grave when we were kids. I think it said “Lonesome Luke” on it, if I’m remembering correctly. And I feel like it just had AstroTurf, sort of, around it. Uhhm… forever green.
And now I just had to turn the radio off again ‘cause I heard Sean Hannity complaining that his child c—doesn’t get to [stifled laugh] fight with older children in school with his fists.
Uh! These schools today. They don’t want children to pound other children’s faces. It’s—it’s crazy, what they… it’s crazy what—the political correctness of not wanting a child to break another child’s jaw. Absolute madness!
When he was a kid… when Sean Hannity was a kid, he could, uh…
He used to [short laugh]… I don’t know. He used to just beat people right and left. ‘Cause look at him. He’s a tough guy, all right. He used to go out and—he—you didn’t run to your mother, he said in such a way to make you think mother… a mother… wuhhennyehhh… you know, what’s wrong with somebody’s mother? You sick… [laughter] bastard. [Laughter.]
Oh, what a maniac, this guy.
He [unintelligible]… his kid doesn’t get to… pummel other children. It’s just not fair. They oughtta just have a special day where Sean Hannity’s kid gets to come in and [stifled laugh] pummel as many other children as he wants. [Laughter.]
Like The Purge, except for… children.
Anyway, I bet Sean Hannity, the way he said “mother” with such… uh… venom! “They didn’t run to their moootthhher.” I can’t even, uh, italicize that properly. But I—from the way he said it I’m gonna deduce that he was constantly running to his mother and that he—that he’s deeply, deeply ashamed of… of… of that.
Wow! There’s a lot of azaleas!
You know, I’m really far south now. It’s in the…
[Turn signal comes on.]
What’s this guy doin’? He’s… like… he’s stopping in the middle of the highway?
All right, mister.
Yes, banks of azaleas. Many, many azaleas.
But it’s okay—[laughter]… It’s okay to run to your mother, Sean Hannity! I want him to know it’s okay! “We didn’t… People… all we did was fight. We took off our gloves, our hockey gloves, and we just beat each other.” [Laughter.] This is his nostalgia. His… [laughter]. Oh my gosh.
Easter egg dye for ten cents! I just heard a radio commercial for Easter egg dye for ten cents! That seems like an incredible bargain! I don’t know how much Easter egg dye they’re talkin’ about. Talkin’ about one packet? I mean, you only get one color? In that case, if that’s the case, not such a good bargain.
“Welcome to Sweet Home Alabama,” proclaimed the sign. Here I am, back in my home state. I drove all the way down to the bottom of Mississippi, and a low bottom it is, ladies and gentlemen. Over into the beautiful environs… [laughter] I’m not a big fan of the song “Sweet Home Alabama” because of the, uh, politics of it. The… I don’t know. Let’s not get into that. I’ve—I’ve dwelt upon that, you know, mmm-my entire life.
Jack Pendarvis has written five books. He won two Emmys for his work on the TV show Adventure Time. During a period of light employment, he spoke into a digital recorder whenever the mood struck him and transcribed the results, accumulating the two thousand pages from which this column has been extracted.