I always joke that I am “white trash, once removed”, but I’m starting to wonder about that once removed. Maybe that title can be passed on to the children, because I’m not quite sure if I’ve really earned the “once removed” part and am coming to the realization that I don’t really care if I do or not.
I always wrestle with that “wrong side of the tracks” feeling regardless of which side of the tracks I’m on. I mean, I’ve come from being the result of a teen pregnancy of farmer’s stock and migrant farm worker stock. I never had anything that was passed on other than a heritage of riding Harley’s from my father’s side, and my Great-great-grandfather’s pocket watch from my mother’s side (with all the gold worn off from being taken in and out of bib-overalls for multiple generations.)
I worked my ass off for every bit of “progress” that I have made, never taking any handouts. This is no small claim after spending my latter child-years as a product of the hand-out system while living with my mother. She knew how to work the system… welfare, food stamps, playing the “rental” game where you got to be a pain in the ass to the landlord until finally it was time to move on after months of not paying, etc. (a good number of those residences being either trailer parks, or subsidized housing apartments, but thankfully a few mountain retreats here and there.) I had plenty of excuses to take handouts, but luckily I had enough pride, self-respect, and work ethic from looking at the right people, to hold my head up and not go down that path.
Eventually after my “young, dumb, and eager to… ahem” years in which I knocked up other white trash and then moved on after finding out said white trash was screwing some of the neighbors in the apartment complex while I busted my ass working in the hot and dirty fields of someone else’s farm, I looked for better stock and found it in the form of a pretty little daughter of a doctor. Luckily at that time Garth Brooks had all the little good girls longing for a cowboy, and while I was more of a plowboy than a cowboy at the time, It got my foot in the door. Long story short, good stock girl and white trash boy of troubled past fell in love and have been happily married for decades now.
Even though I joke about being domesticated, I still ain’t feeling it totally. Sure, we once had a large house, in a nice subdivision; we have all the required toys and tokens of success (along with the debt that goes along with them,) and I even have what could be considered a white-collar job. But, what did I go and do nearly 10 years ago (to much annoyance of my doctor’s daughter sweetheart?) I bought us a double-wide to live in while we were to build our home in desirable school district for our children.
It was to be “temporary” but the boom hit, prices soared, and we sold our dream lot overlooking the valley. 10 years later and we are still living in that double-wide (“previously unoccupied manufactured home on permanent foundation” is what I was trained to say, but she doesn’t read this blog, or even know that it exists, so I can admit I live in a trailer.) The thing is, I am perfectly happy with this little less than 1400 square foot “trailer”. I can honestly say I am glad we didn’t undertake the construction of that stucco sided, tile roofed, McMansion that would have us in debt for way more than we are now.
Hell, going this route I own my late-model Harley (and a couple other bikes), I own my truck, and shortly I will own my fifth-wheel toy hauler. I’ve told my baby (which I’ll take the liberty to refer to now as “ol’ lady” in this entry since I am forbidden to use that term also,) that I honestly feel that if everything fell apart; I wouldn’t mind hooking up the fifth-wheel, rolling the scoot in the back, and just going here and there living in nice RV parks around this great land of ours. The “ol’ lady” likes that idea as much as she likes being called the ol’ lady.
Anyway, the point of all this rambling is, here I am, supposedly white trash once removed, yet I would willingly take all these trappings of the non-white-trash world and throw them in the burn barrel. Well, except for the Birkenstocks maybe, and the pepper and salt grinders, and the really good-stuff olive oils. I just can’t say I have truly developed an affinity for the non-white trash world. Which by the way, would that be the Yuppie world? I honestly don’t know what the hell “those people” are called? I used to call them “rich folks” before I just realized they had a butt-load of debt.
But this also brings me back to the children (which aren’t really children anymore). Since I’m securely willing to claim the title of white-trash, will they now be the white-trash once removed? I know they feel that same bit of shame that I felt about bringing their non-white-trash friends around as I did; preferring instead to go to their friends house, rather than exposing the fact that we live in a double-wide. At the same time though, I see them with that same little feeling of being on the wrong side of the tracks, regardless of which side they are on.
Maybe there is hope for them yet. Maybe they’ll not choose that Yuppie path and will instead realize that there is happiness to be found in simple little structures, with simple good people. Maybe they’ll eventually claim to be white trash once removed, and then come to the realization that it ain’t so bad to be white trash, and let their kids pick up the “once removed” title and evaluate where they want to be. While I guess in a way I hope they’ll be doctors and lawyers and such, but at the same time I just hope that whatever they are, they learn to be content. Being content is truly the secret to happiness, whichever side of the tracks you are on. That’s why you can have happy white trash… they are simply content, which is something those Yuppies (or whatever the hell they are called) will never understand.
Yesterday I was asked “Do you miss your mom?” Should have been an obvious answer for most, but it was a complicated question for the son of a life-long heroin addict. I guess the answer is of course, but what I really miss is what could have been, and what should have been.
Here is where I resist getting all political and turning this into a rail against how the failing war on drugs ruins more lives than it helps, but if I resist that I can just click the Personal category and have successfully experienced a slight bit of catharsis.
On the bright side though, I guess it was quite the educational upbringing; the low-rent dives, the convict boyfriends, the mountain hide-outs while trying to stay clean, the midnight moves to another state, the prison visits, and so much more all the “normal kids” didn’t get to experience. Heck, I even got to witness the importation of drugs into a state penitentiary using a peanut M&M bag and rubber balloons! A bit more hard-core than sneaking some candy into the movie theater.
The gentle sounds of wind chimes, frogs in the creek, and a lone single-engine plane off in the distance… simply peaceful.
Actual conversation in our house…
The Hillbilly says: “Don’t distract me, it’s a fine line between a fart and a shart, and if you distract me I’m gonna cross it.”
To which the Number One Son replies without skipping a beat: “oh, you mean the ‘thin brown line’?”
That’s my boy! He knows how to make his (pale enough to be considered) white-trash papa proud!
A wise philosopher once said: “You give it away like free samples. But, I don’t want what anyone can have!”
Well, at least that’s what Mark Arm said in Mudhoney’s ‘You Got It’.
But, as I was sitting here pondering a quandary this morning the song came to mind. No, I wasn’t thinking about Courtney Love, who the song was written for; I was actually thinking about a recent “major award” I had bestowed upon me.
This was something I worked hard for. Something that I felt should have been a honor, and the path to achieve it was looked upon seriously with high regard. I went down that path, giving it my all with the eye on the prize. What I failed to notice though was in all my seriousness and dedication, I was the only one taking the path with any reverence.
When I stopped and looked around, I discovered that while I climbed the face of the mountain, anybody could have bought a ticket and rode a tram for the summit and got their prize.
After this realization, when I looked upon my prize it no longer held any mystique or value. I didn’t want what anyone could have. So I did what I felt the best thing for me to do was, and I returned the prize. I almost said I gave up the honors, but there is no honor in what is handed out like a party favor.
I went to the city
And there I did weep,
Men a-crowin’ like asses,
And livin’ like sheep.
Oh, can’t hold the han’ of my love!
Can’t hold her little white han’!
Yes, I went to the city,
And there I did bitterly cry,
Men out of touch with the Earth,
And with never a glance at the sky.
Oh, can’t hold the han’ of my love!
Can’t hold her pure little han’!
Ok, every now and then I see something that just really reverberates with me and I share it among my various social media outlets. When I do this, I will give credit where credit is due. But, in another of my mediums I am being bombarded with posts from an acquaintance who goes very much out of his way to look rather intellectual.
Long lengthy discourses, tidbits of insight, pieces of prose. Problem is, none of it is of his own making. Every freakin’ one of them can be traced back to the source via a quick Google. Yet, there are those joining him in patting his back for being so wise and insightful.
The irony of this is that his recent railing is against a modern day lack of creativity. Thankfully I have this little venting space here to have a little pressure release or I’d call him on his bovine splatter.
Ahh, feel so much better now. Which leads me to the following…
My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there.
Compliments to Indira Gandhi