Musin's and Thinkin's - January 2013 - Believer Magazine

Musin’s and Thinkin’s – January 2013

by Jack Pendarvis
Illustration by Jason Polan

Musin’s and Thinkin’s – January 2013

Jack Pendarvis
13 Snaps

It’s hard to believe another year has passed. On second thought, it is easy to believe another year has passed. By some estimates, a year passes every year. But one thing is certain: another year means another exciting roundup of the top five scorching hot trends in the fast-paced world of folksiness. In ascending order:

(5) Standing around with a pitchfork. From the sullen old gent in the Grant Wood masterpiece to flashy Hollywood superstar Eddie Albert dominating the opening credits of Green Acres, standing around with a pitchfork simply screams “folksiness.” Ironically, however, the widespread use of that very image in popular culture has caused some purists to stop posing stoically with the pointy device in question. Many have tried substituting snow shovels or rakes, but no matter how perfectly still they stand, nor how blank-eyed and desolate their gaunt expressions, they come away from the experience unsatisfied. Tragically, an entire generation of aspiring folksy philosophizers has grown up without standing around holding any kind of large farm implement at all. Until now! Across our great nation, legions of city-slicker-outwitting rubes and tobacco-spitting sages are participating in terrifying “Take Back the Pitchfork” rallies, replete with secret rituals, by the light of mysterious bonfires in the dead of night. Fun!

(4) Common sense. I’m happy to report that fancy book learnin’ is down to an all-time low, thanks to the dazzling resurgence of good old common sense. The other day, whilst prodding a hornets’ nest, I fell out of a tall tree and discovered that as a result my knee bone was poking out of my leg. I put some mud and grass on it and got right up and finished my chores. One side benefit was that I got to keep the three chickens I would ordinarily have used to pay the doctor. He thinks he’s so great with his big-city medical degree and voluminous tomes of musty lore and the magnifying spectacles he wears over his highfalutin so-called “eyeballs.” Sorry, doc! While you’re paying off those student loans, I’m making do with what the good Lord gave me. Common sense equals big savings! These three chickens are driving me crazy, though. Wish I could get rid of them. All they do is squabble about politics. Gosh, I’m dizzy

(3) Pushing your hat back on your head and mopping your forehead with a kerchief. It’s no wonder that this versatile gesture is rocketing to the top of folksiness lists everywhere. Whether you’re a corrupt country sheriff about to put an outsider in jail just because you don’t care for his sass-mouth, a confused shadetree mechanic who can’t quite figure out what that rattling noise is, or a good-natured boob with a huge gap between your teeth and one strap of your overalls hanging down, pining for a cold bottle of “sody pop” on a sweltering January afternoon, nothing gets your point across like pushing your hat back on your head and mopping your forehead with a kerchief.

(2) Don’t worry, ladies. It’s not all about virile forehead-mopping anymore. In fact, this one’s for the frail and moony spinsters “in the hizzy.” I am speaking, of course, of that thing where a devilishly good-looking traveling salesman breezes through town and convinces you to give up the long-protected and precious flower of your maidenhood with his silver-tongued promises of “taking you away from all this.” The bad news is he’s not coming back. The good news is you’re part of one of this year’s hottest trends!

(1) Helping a cow through a difficult birth. Do you happen to have a pregnant cow who’s not looking so good? No? Then you better go get one! Otherwise there is just no way you’re going to be able to keep up with the folksiest activity of the year, one that’s exploding straight into the mainstream, as evidenced by the ubiquitous Twitter hashtag #calfbreech. No hip Brooklyn loft party is complete without a difficult livestock birth. Yes, it’s too late to strap on those elbow-length rubber gloves “before it was cool,” but one look in old Bossy’s grateful brown eyes and all thoughts of trendiness will melt away. Maybe, just maybe, that’s the greatest trend of all.

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