Rural Kansas is one clusterfuck fumble a full decade behind the rest of Planet Earth. Ten long years behind its relevance, Nirvana is on the Top 40 stations, cell phones become ubiquitous and the Internet makes it into every home. The comedies and tragedies come bundled with these fundamental changes, showing up in the heartland with a comical agrarian lag. With Nevermind comes Stone Temple Pilots and with cell phones comes farmers sporting Bluetooth ear pieces, the unfortunate consequences with which the rest of the world has already been long familiar.
And with the Internet comes email forwards, the chain letters that the rest of the Internet learned to ignore in 1998. For the farmers and ranchers of the Kansan boondocks, the chains’ association with “the computer” lends them the authority of Scripture, particularly if it is something about the politics of the left.
I had barely taken my seat at a dinner party when I heard about the “fart tax.” Our host had read “on that email,” the “guv’ment” wants to tax the methane output of cattle, chickens and swine to fund the repair to their environmental damage. The host rattled off statistics that sounded suspiciously chain-letterish, talking about how the average beef producer will have to pay $250,000 in additional taxes each year. He added that the tax was sure to pass because it had “two most powerful forces in Washington behind it – the environmentalists and the animal rights people.”
Like all email forwards, there was a kernel of truth in the finely shredded bullshit. The Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year invited public comment on an interpretation of the Clean Air Act that would allow for regulating excess agricultural methane. But faced with the universal of state farm bureaus, the White House, Congress and farmers themselves, the EPA all but shelved the idea a month ago.
But, such news travels slow through these amber waves of grain. To hear the farmers speak of it, one would think the already aborted idea was headed to the Oval Office for signature right now. They are conspiring against the government over their coffee and calling their congresspeople and signing petitions right now over something that is already over. They talk about what they will do to the tax man when he comes and how uncooperative they will be with inspectors when they arrive.
In 1998, first time email users talked about the fortune they would receive from Nigeria or the effectiveness of a new male herbal supplement. Ten years later, Kansas farmers think Uncle Sam is going to be metering their cows’ assholes.
After three big snows and some 5,000 miles of New England highway, the task to clean my car has become almost Herculean in scope. Not flying around the world for 67 hours with in a jet aircraft hard, but pretty hard. However, a look at the sixth page this morning let me know that it could be a lot worse. I could be trying to spermbaste an elephant.
Nugget calls me up as we roll out for the Battle of the Bands over in Taunton last night, clear nervousa creeping through his voice. I told him the meek surrender, and the bold survive. The radio said it was the fifth biggest snowstorm in Rhode Island’s history. I thought it was more likely that it was the fifth biggest overexaggeration. Well, they may have been right.
Needless to say, we got to All About Records and the show was cancelled. We waited around for a few minutes with Russ and his crew, lacing up the boxing gloves and taking a few swipes at each other until it became clear the cause was futile. Sadly, the award of best band of the evening was not awarded to us by default.
Our brave convoy ventured bag with tail tucked between lugs all the way back to Providence; a trip normally requiring 45 minutes taking nearly two and a half hours. T-dub commented as we left it may have been our best show yet and that by our perfect attendance record alone we should get a record deal.
First weekend out with Danimal and we all make it out alive. A pretty serious feat considering the normal clientele of the Safari Lounge.
Actually, I very nearly broke my damn arm literally walking to the show. After we carefully watched and set up our gear on the newly refinished Safari stage, I went out to grab the boys the requisite bottles of water and cans of Red Bull required for a successful Shaft show. With provisions in hand, I rounded the corner into the omnious alley that provides access to the Safari when I slipped on the ice and slammed squarely on my side. Needless to say, I fucking nerfed all the contents of the plastic bag and one bottle of Red Bull was actually spinning in the middle of the street from a puncture leaking mad carbonation.
About that moment, a lanky Hindi man comes over and says, “Oh shit! Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m alright,” I replied a little irritatedly, pissed that I almost wrecked a show because I’m too stupid to walk on the balls of my feet.
The guy wanted to give me a hand picking up my stuff, which was alright except that he was wandering dangerously into precisely the patch of ice that put me in said condition in the first place. Sure enough, the Good Samaritan lands flat on his ass, cursing in Indian, and attracting a whole host of other folks who were walking through downtown Providence.
About that time I shouted that no one should help us. We could have had a pile of corpses lined up around the corner.