The Booger Waltz

Walking to the train this morning I saw a woman who was a dead ringer for Sara Carter, wife of A.P. Carter, whose leaving to marry A.P.'s cousin Coy torpedoed the famous Carter Family.

I almost spoke to her but then what was I going to say? Hey, you look a lot like someone you’ve never heard of? Lacking sufficient coffee reserves at that hour, I probably couldn't have gotten it all out anyway. Hewing to my policy of trying not to say idiotic things to redheaded women, I kept silent.

But the theme of country malcontents, though not redheaded, continued when I walked in to the office, opened the first piece of mail and out popped a Kinky Friedman greatest hits record. Coulda been Mozart, coulda been Charlie Parker, but it was Kinky.

A crime novelist, leader of his band, the Texas Jewboys, and a perennial joke candidate for the Texas governorship, `ol cigar-chompin' Kinky is more than a little nuts. While it's true that he toured with Dylan back in the Rolling Thunder days, the man's real specialty has always been twangy, irreverent, anti-hillbilly, shock folk music. It's not serious, it's for fun. Lyrics are his specialty. I defy anyone to keep a straight face during numbers like, "Asshole From El Paso" (set to Merle Haggard's "Okie From Muskogee") or "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore," a tune I first heard, many, many moons ago whilst I was sitting on the roof of a downtown building in that old hippie burgh of Missoula, Montana, frying blue corn tortillas, drinking Rainer beer and picking wood ticks, which were hungrily in season, out of a young lady's long blonde hair. Kinky was the perfect soundtrack for such bucolic foolery and his early albums have held a spot, however ambiguous, on my shelves ever since.

To me, Kinky's only palatable when he's gross and silly. I mean who else would think to moderate lyrical filth by affecting a lisp.

"Oh, waitret, please, waitret, come sit down on my fate, Eatin' ain't cheatin, lord it aint no disgrace. Oh, bring me a lone star, make it a case And waitret, please, waitret, come sit down on my fate."

Or pen this charming couplet as the lynch pin to a song of the same name.

"No, they ain't makin Jews like Jesus anymore, They don't turn the other cheek the way they done before."

Finally, my favorite Kinkage is a tune he's sometimes been reluctant to play, "Ol Ben Lucas." Gee, I wonder why. It's an ode to snot. Does childish vulgarity get more well-done than this? I stunned more than a few pals in college with this chunk of ridiculousness. And I'll admit it. Deep down, I always wanted to find a reason to print this under my byline.

"When its cotton picking time in Texas, Boys, its booger picking time for Ben. He’d raise that finger mean and hostile Stick it in that waitin' nostril, Here he comes with a green one once again. "Well, `Ol Ben Lucas had a lot of mucus Comin’ right out of his nose. He picked and picked till it made you sick, But back again it grows."

John Atkinson's picture

All this and you don't mention that KF is running for governor of Texas, to bring back some class to that office!

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