Recently West Virginia has been getting a load of public exposure. It's easy to say that once a state or region gets televised that it's not just a few select people who get the wrong idea about that state's moral compass and social standards. I'm not going to speak blindly and say that everyone who resides here doesn't act or live like the people on television, because that would be casting stones in another direction. But I will say, if you judge a book by it's cover or take hype at its face value that it is easy to be misled and judgmental in all of the wrong ways. Before continuing, please keep in mind that this was written in a sarcastic, urbane way. If you believe a word of it, as it is only opinion and experience, then you are falling directly in to not so gray area of being judgmental. As a whole, as humanity, we live, we laugh, we loathe; but here in West Virginia you either learn to make great use of your time or metaphorically go to the dogs. This is our sub culture. It is not a reflection of every individual in either scenario.
People who have grown in the city are always quick to yearn for the theoretical slow-paced
"country life". They hustle and bustle through their careers, hailing
cabs to Sacs & Fifth, and ride public transportation in to the mouth
of hell; and when they're aloft the penthouse apartment they've pencil
pushed their life away for, they dream of country life. They dream of
lazy days beneath a sturdy oak betwixt a barn and farm-house, quaint and
tucked away in the lush green that rings true to somewhere around seven
acres. They drift to sleep with a Tim McGraw tune in their ears. The
tune convinces them that things didn't use to be this hard or that you
didn't used to have to worry about your neighbor stealing your Blu-ray
player and TomTom. The silky twang of a guitar eases that same urban
listener closer to cashing in their 401k and heading for the hills,
briefcase in hand.
Depending on what age you turn up in "the country" depends on how well
you'll be received by Johnny Farmer and his "kin". If you're willing to
cash in on retirement and buy yourself a nice freshly built house on
the hill, it's really unpredictable how every person will see you. But,
against all odds, I'm betting you'll be seen as the city boy who sat at
a desk for a few years and decides to move in to Johnny Farmer's
territory to raise property taxes and make his life of hard work in cow
feces meaningless. I can even bet that you'll be received well at the
local general store; but as soon as you finish pumping the gas in to
your Audi A4, which mind you isn't suited for FARM USE, you'll be as useful to them as tits on a chicken. Do chickens even have tits, considering that they're
I've been fortunate enough to experience both. Growing up in the city
and turning to the country when the city decided to swallow my parents
whole. We visited the country occasionally; not because we had the
money to do so, but I'm guessing just because it's America and we were
free to roam back and forth across the interstates as we pleased. I
believe returning to the country was my father's idea, but I'm just
guessing because I don't really remember. I procrastinate when it comes
to asking questions about where we're going and why. Procrastinating
comes easier in the slow pace of country life, but don't take my word
for it; I'm sure Johnny Farmer would say we're anything but slow-paced,
with the cattle and whatnot.
In my town (yes I'm referring to it as my town since I'm now one of
those fabled land owners, in a sense) there are a few things we're
always told. Myths, legends, common laws, etc. You're only as good as
the dog you hunt with. You better have winter tread on your vehicle
come October or you won't make it off of the mountain alive. Don't air
your dirty laundry if you don't want others to know about those strange
stains, or something. We're told things to instill the fear in us, to
keep us "safe". Stay away from the haunted plantations. Maybe our
parents are too busy living so slow-paced that their brains have slowed
down and tossed the idea of hands on parenting out the back door? If
they did, it would have all been swept under the rug along with the
warnings they've stamped across our foreheads at the age of five or so.
Culture shock, is that term used anymore? Are we ever really shocked that we can be
scooped from our "Live, Laugh, Love" nests and dropped in to "hide it
well" suburbia, or vice versa? Life is what you make it, another rural
common law. Life is never what you make it. If it were, that wouldn't
be life at all would it? Life is unpredictable, no one can ever really
be culture shocked in this era. You always have prefixed notions, if you say you're culture shocked it's because you've yet to desensitize yourself with all the white trash talk shows you watch...or you're a liar. You were prepared
and have always been, you and your preconceived notions. The city
person expects an easier life, the country person would expect culture.
The city person has the disadvantage here. Only because, no matter
which side of the Mason Dixon line you live on, you can seek culture if you're willing and able.
The city person moving to the country has always been a cliché of sorts,
an expected outcome in the end game process of life.
In the country we love thy neighbor. If we take from someone we give
back. We take care of each other. We attend church on Sunday because
here on the mountain we're closer to God. Myths and blasphemy. We're
all cut from the same mold, as humans. The city person expects to bring
their life with them, and protect it with fierce force. I just hope
and pray they don't bring their sons and daughters and expect a no holds
It took years for our locally based police station to catch up on the
drug problems we face here. And that was having them based in our
"city" area. A Wal-Mart does not make a city, by the way. Most cities place their Wal-Mart
on the outskirts of city limits. To attract the backwoods tourists, I
suppose. It's 2013 and our state police force, God bless them, are just
now addressing that we have a drug problem. They were blind to the fact
that we've faced this problem for years. That's slow-paced for you. Do you know why? No, it's not because our peers and neighborhood children have recently discovered that heroin
gets you high. It's because now we have made it a problem. Addicts
from the city take advantage of their families first. Addicts from the
country, well we just take from our neighbor. Which throws Bob Cityslicker's
brain for a 180 at this point. Oh, you thought we didn't take without
giving back? Really, we've all just learned the fine art of cleaning.
Sweeping the problems off of the front porch of life and then writing a
nice country song about it, to wash our hands clean of any guilt by
association. We've become so well at cleaning that the police force
didn't dig up our dirt until recently, 2007 at best. What's worse is
all of this cleaning left no room for help facilities and no funding to
do so. We're so slow-paced that we have free range cattle and free
range junkies in our very midst. Don't lock down your valuables yet
Bob, but please reassess your misconstrued views and expectations.
In the country, we do have drugs, sex, disease, famine, poverty, and
your run of the mill thievery; we just have to go further to do it all.
Think that your Audi A4
or vintage BMW won't get stolen or sent to the chop shop for scrap?
Think again. Some misconception is that we're a bunch of backwards
backwoods 4x4 truck driving rednecks. Fuel an opiate addiction and
these backwards fools will get the upper hand. The only water safe to
drink on this mountain is the beer. You don't trust anyone, anywhere in
this God blessed US of A. Hunter Thompson warned us of the "fear and loathing"
since the seventies. This is where the fear sets in, in rural America.
The search for the American dream was fruitless. That's exactly why I
personally believe that the loathing has always been here, along with
We have all the fine amenities of the city within our reach. They're just harder to maintain
and sustain. We have section 8, only because we're one of the
neglected states that still has yet to pull through segregation in the
real estate area. We have welfare, but don't fall back on it...Johnny
Farmer won't allow you to. Love thy neighbor, huh?
Well, that only applies if you're not a liberal or footloose Democrat.
From what I hear, unbiased, you don't love Democrats in 2013...they
love you from behind and then screw you over so even your insurance
can't get your torn asshole fixed. That's what I hear anyway, I fair
well without expressing my political views. You need to vote for your
family, not your common sense, here. If the last election didn't prove
otherwise, I don't know what did. I guess we're all not praising Obama
with our breakfast prayers because in the country we tend to president
ourselves. It's the law of morality. Love thy neighbor, if your morals
are similar. And if not, then maybe his wife will. Or his daughter? Sweep it
under the rug, no one will remember in a few years anyway.
Unless you're swindling the system to get that welfare check you can
barely pay your rent with, then no one remembers a thing but the "good
ol' days". Average WVWorks
stipulations give you roughly three hundred a month, if you work
voluntarily, unpaid, for an average of 38 hours a week. So, if your
rent is four hundred and fifty dollars, your electric is budgeted at one
hundred, and you have a land line telephone which costs you almost
seventy dollars a month...then you go on welfare and still owe "the man"
three hundred and twenty dollars a month. But Johnny Farmer thinks he
knows you and your basic needs, so don't be born in to poverty...it's
obviously the only choice you have.
Something else that comes at a slow pace, sex. We're educated on the
matter when we care to be, all else is caught
in the strainer of life, no remorse and no repercussions. Our poverty
plays in to this a great deal. There isn't much to do in this town but to create a brood. But, are you really satisfied
and content to pass your life away being bred like someone's hunting
dog? To bend at your husbands every whim? But, hey, the money is fantastic isn't it? But this is a matter
of hearsay, as is almost everything in this area. We've all had our turn there, naked and buzzed in
the back of a borrowed Pontiac, with some drunken drop out on top of us, breathing alcohol and BOD down over our shoulder. Some of us jerk
or blow our way to adulthood while others tend to pull their common wits
together and escape this place.
No matter where you're from, life sort of jacks you off at every turn. Sometimes you end up satisfied, other times you end up with a case of theoretical blue balls, which can be attributed to the damnation of our town.
We used to be a mining town and we used to have homecoming parades, a dentist in town, a barber, a few general stores, and mines of our own. We also used to have quite
the array of boys and men we deployed to the armed forces, also. Now,
do you realize what we have? A graveyard of veterans, two general
stores...two only because one has gas and the other has beer, and a few
people who've sold their land to strip jobs or windmill projects. The
town is in ruins, prematurely ejaculated and wiped clean from the floors of society.
it boils down to it we're a nice town to vacation in, to visit. It's quiet until
provoked, like an underfed tiger in the zoo. It's nice to watch him
pace, it's nice to watch him jump through the hoop, until he breaks
loose and follows you home because he could smell the beef jerky in your
back pocket. You may even make it back to visit us. To sit in the
living room of your vacation home and allow your children to roam our
quaint town without supervision, that's country life. What you know
won't hurt you.
I should write tourism brochures for a living. I could
fill them with information on how some people around here pick the
locks on your vacation home and screw on your couches. Or to fill you in on how your daughters most likely aren't admiring the scenery
while you watch NCIS via satellite...and that it's probable one or the other is bent
over the tailgate of some Good Ol' Boy's Chevy. Don't worry, if the
going gets tough he has four-wheel drive...and chlamydia is easily curable. Because you should be educated on the ways of our society, that
is exactly what we do, we destroy your vacation no matter how ideal it is.
If you ask any of the locals about this town I would bet that they
would say that it's a great place to live. A great place to grow up.
And a great place to settle down. Asking them about the job market is
completely pointless, as we have none. Asking them about the weather is
acceptable but it's hard to tell who you can believe and who you can't. But, inserting your own two sense when you have no social
ranking is suicide. Inquiring about history that biologically doesn't
even belong to you, forget it. Not many peek their heads out of the
rabbit hole to stop playing dumb and actually form a sense of self-awareness and economical standings. But, hell, I'm ready for it. I'm ready to preach revelations through the loud-speaker
at the softball field. Really, does it matter at this point? We've
hung people here before. Or so I've heard. You can't keep the
proverbial rooster from crowing, it's in his DNA...unless you chop his
head off, which he's still liable to roam for days after that.
And with that being said, my
intentions were good, they still are. I don't see myself above anyone
honestly, unless they decided to string me up by the neck above them.