Hooo-lawd! Now THAT'S what I call Hoodoo-in' to a standard, y'all.
Now, I know...we can't take all the credit for Bama's curb-stompin' of the hapless Aggi last weekend in the friendly confines of ole Bryant Denny, but dayum. I mean DAYUM. That, my friends, was a beat-down the likes of which this ole boy just didn't see coming.
It's no co-inky-dink that I returned to my Hoodoo roots with a story of drunkenness last week, and you all followed suit with your various tales of self-soiling and chemical imbalances of your own. A long-time Hoodoo-er, our beloved Fitty, said last week that he was a'feard the Hoodoo way of life was dying. For a moment, I may have agreed with this tin-foil-hatted sage of the Georgia pines, but alas, following the spark that lit BDS aflame last Saturday, I am here to proclaim to you that our Hoodoo is alive and well.
For certainly, such a dramatic turn of character can only be attributed to the supernatural, right? I mean, Bama shape-shifted from an ant-eater in its games against Ole Miss and Arkansas to a pure-dee pack-ee-derm stampede in that match-up with those God-forsaken Texicans. So surely, surely there must be something to this Hoodoo after all.
While I may try in my elder years to remain a Child of Light, sometimes, one simply has to call on the Dark Arts for support in this temporal plane. This here Hoodoo will be the fuel that burns like coal in the Crimson Tide's engines moving forward, so please, by all means, fellow travelers...keep on shovelin'.
Based on the return to my former ways and the aforementioned dramatic results, this week I will spin for you a tale that harkens from a bygone era: the narrative of a journey, if you will, into the very heart of darkness itself (read- Georgia.) For you see, I have not often left this particular piece of Terra Firma with which I have become so familiar in my four decades of living. I'm Bama through and through. Born here. Raised here. Educated here. Lost my virginity here. Just about every pivotal event in this ole boy's fertile life has come on this little section of earth we call Alabama. I just love this state enough to have rarely left its boundaries.
Sure, I've traveled a little. Went to Canada once, Nova Scotia to be particular, to see the homeland and birthplace of my grandfather, a man who fell to MS seven years before my tender pink feet first laid flesh to the Alabama clay. I've been to Baton Rouge, but that's about as far west of the Mississip' as I've ever found myself. Been to Tennessee, and saw enough to affirm my previously-uninformed suppositions about the toothless-but-breasty nature of the Hill-Philistines who inhabit that craggy snag of Appalachia. Tennessee is one of those places that would be beautiful if not for the creatures who crawl about all over it like the hill-people that they are. Tennessee rivals only Britain in terms of dental lack: it is most definitely anti-dentite from stem to stern if the filthy mouth-holes of its native inhabitants serve as any proof or evidence. Just dirty, y'all, dirty. Some of y'all live there, and I truly feel pain in the depths of my soul regarding your exile (whether self-imposed or otherwise) from the Great State. (Com'on home, y'all, ya hear? Just no reason to do that to yourselves, the soul can only take so much soiling before becoming indelibly marked. And nobody wants a puke-orange soul...clashes with everything.)
Now I've well accounted for my deep, deep hatred of the butt-chuggin' barbarians at the northern gates, those who count Krispy Kremes and Krystals as two of the five major food groups. Those meth-lab buildin', big rock-paintin', cousin-lovin' rock trolls rank number one on my personal Official and Approved Ledger of Hatred (Abridged edition...it also comes in braille because blind people hate too, y'all.) A lot of you hate the the Auburnite chiefly, some have developed a distaste for Corndogs so strong it turns the stomach. But for me, it's those cotdang Vile rock-creatures to the north that sully the otherwise sterling reputation of the SEC member nations. I'd tolerate two Aubs, a passel of Tigahs and a dadgum Razorhawg before I'd give stern consideration to giving safe passage to a UT fan. Now I understand, this level of hatred is not rational, I'll agree with that. It is guttural, inbred (but not like the Tennessee variety), intuitive. I didn't have to be taught to hate Tennessee (though my mama figured she ought to teach me anyway to make sure the genetic predisposition took.)
Therefore, I'm about to lay down a Hoodoo tale full of mystery and intrigue, a strand woven with intricate fibers full of Hoodoo goodness. If Hoodoo was counted in apples, this here tree'd be loaded up by the bushel basket. So without further deliberation, sit a spell and let me unwind this tale for you and, of course, Football Loki. May the gods be appeased (and you be entertained) by this, my humble offering.
In my post-college days, I did a little bit of diddy-boppin' professionally speaking. (Sure that's a professional term, a technical term, even. Means I just kind of drifted purposelessly for a while before setting my sights on my career target.) After graduating with high marks from an institution of high-repute, I elected instead to follow my familial roots back into the soil. I went into horticulture for a while, serving as a master gardener at a local cemetery, and later operating my own landscape design company. I loved the work, as I am an outdoors type of cat in the first place. Working with plants was always easy for me, because they do what you tell them to do and they don't talk back, which means they can neither judge nor argue. In retrospect, I probably should have just married a nice live oak or indica azalea.
But that, of course, is a dissertation for another day. During this care-free time frame, I spent many, many, many nights partying with my friend Mook and his girl, a couple whom I've spoken about in these parts many times before. We were very close, despite the third-wheel nature of our arrangement.
Now I have an uncle, my mother's only brother and my grandmother's youngest child, who was always the cat's meow with us kids. He was, and still is, a double-naught hell-raiser. Let's call him Uncle R for the purposes of this story. Uncle R was, and still is, the most fun-lovin' person with whom I've had the pleasure to spend any meaningful time. The man just knows how to get down, that's all there is to it. Money was never an object, as he made millions selling hospital equipment and playing the stock market. He later obtained his doctorate from a Florida school, and then settled in with Georgia Southern's business department. The man is not only fun, but he's a genius. Very intelligent, very driven.
That said, again, he knew how to have fun. He took me and B-Rad to our first Senior Bowl, showed us how to tailgate, how to eat a rib sandwich. He even showed us how to be badasses, tossing a full beer in the face of a fellow game-watcher after the cat kept spilling beer on our heads from the bleacher bench behind us. It was so cool, the guy just stood there drippin', knowing that to raise a hand would ultimately result in his prompt ass-kickin' in front of a bevy of friends and family members.
Uncle R took me to my first college football game, which in a Hoodoo aside, was not a Bama game. For my birthday, he took me to the '89 Sugar Bowl which featured his FSU Noles and the cotdang Aubs. Of course, Deion Sanders intercepted Reggie Slack's game-winning touchdown in the end zone, and Uncle R introduced me to my lifelong love of taunting the fans of fallen opponents.
So when Uncle R announced that he was getting remarried at his home in Statesboro to a lil' anesthesiologist 20 years his junior whom he'd met in some River Street bar in Savannah, we were overjoyed. Not only would we be seeing our favorite uncle proceed into the halls of wedded bliss, but we knew there'd be a party the likes of which that poor country burg had never known. And since partying was our M.O., we three musketeers (Mook, his girl and I) were ready to roll out on the eight hour journey into the heart of the Georgia hard-pan.
Now bear in mind, this wedding was to occur in July. I'll go on the record as saying that no outdoor activity - not sports, not weddings, not lawn parties, not croquet tournaments...nothing - should ever be planned in July if it is to take place south of the Mason-Dixon line. It's just too damn hot. The gates of Hell themselves are chilly compared to the exterior climate of the Deep South in the summer. And Statesboro is routinely hotter than the Devil's cod-sack, I tell you what...just unpleasant to say the least.
We arrived in Statesboro and immediately found it to be as hot as the surface of the cotdang sun. It was ridiculous, you literally couldn't stand within 20 feet of the stainless steel smoker upon which the whole hog was roasting for fear of bursting into flames spontaneously.
Being of sound financial standing, Uncle R's son B-Ri and his college compadres had a lake house in which they lived. This was to be the site of the pre-party, the party before the wedding, which was also followed by a party (I told y'all these folks like to party.) It would also be where we'd sleep, i.e. rid ourselves of the alcohol demons we had so willingly allowed into our pie-holes the night before.
So the pre-party went well, lotsa beer, lotsa girls in my wheelhouse, plenty of dope to be smoked. My cousin B-Ri's friends were all cool, more aligned with me and Mook in terms of debauchery than my usual conservative and toned-down cousin-kin. B-Ri was the straight-laced one of our bloodline, always the gentleman, a quiet cat who all the old folk just loved.
Enough genealogy. On with the tale. Now let me say, Mook's girl was mousey at first glance, a pre-med student who made good grades and held down a job while in school, a hard worker. But once the alcohol and weed came out, that girl went crazy. You have to watch the mousey ones, as they're always the life of the party once the liquor begins to flow. Now by my tastes, she was uglier than a mud fence with a gate made out of dicks (as y'all well know, I prefer the more fluffy females amongst our population, and this poor child was as slight as a red wasp's waist.) But she knew how to have a good time, and was good company that kept our usual outings from becoming absolute sausage festivals. For the purpose of this story, I'ma call her J-Thin.
We wrapped up that glorious first night of partying with a good night's sleep, knowing what was in store on the following day. I over-consumed, of course, but was not in bad shape as I shook the dew from my head the next morning. Mook and his girl were sharing a bed in the same room in which I was sleeping on the couch, which originally seemed harmless enough. After all, I stayed at their apartment more than I did at home, so such sleeping arrangements were common and all boundaries were always properly observed (literary device alert...this one begins with an "F" and rhymes with "moreshadowing.")
We dressed and attended the wedding the next day, a lovely little affair in a quiet bed and breakfast in Statesboro (if you've never been, the town is something akin to a metropolitan Mayberry, very quiet for a college town...also, from the worthless trivia file, it is the home of Zaxby's...carry on) The food was wonderful, the drink ample, the women beautiful. Despite the nicety of the event, we young'uns were ready to shed the conservative clothes and get back to the lakehouse, where we could rip-roar out from beneath the watchful eye of our elders. Not that they would have cared, but you know, there's just something unnatural about partying balls-out in front of your grandmother...just not appealing to all but the most deviant among us.
As soon as we could, we split for the cabin (which had been named "The Stabbin' Cabin" by this point because it was the geographical location upon which we all hoped to engage in carnal pleasure throughout that last night in Georgia.) Many of B-Ri's roommates already had girls, and those girls brought a few more girls for the single outliers like yours truly. The plan was to head back to the cabin, change, grab enough liquor to float a battleship and take a midnight ride on the pontoon-based houseboat owned by one of the roommate's father. Pure heaven, I thought.
This particular houseboat was rather bare of things like furniture, lighting and other such amenities. In fact, I think it was just a pontoon boat upon which someone had built a closed-in cabin. The proprietor was an ornery cuss, a man who despite his stage four renal failure, refused to give up the love of his life...grain liquor. His son, like my cousin B-Ri, was a little more straight-laced. Seems something about having an ape-shit crazy father makes one introverted, as if the progeny must perpetually hide from the shame dished out by his paternal kin.
But this ole cracker daddy, let's call him Big Will, kept that dadgum boat stocked with liquor. Mostly Absolut vodka, which was fine by me. We lit into it early and often as we trolled about that 20 acre lake, making round after round, screaming at this couple making out on a dock each time we passed. I'm sure it was quite irritating, but we were blissfully ignorant in our alcohol-induced collective stupor. Only thing that mattered was drankin' that drank, feelin' the gentle, humid wind beating my face and feelin' the press of this girl's thick bare thighs alongside mine. I hadn't known her before, but we paired off pretty early, had made mouthy-mouth, let my fingers do a little walkin' when we'd drift into a darker portion of the lake's cypress-encrusted banks.
After a while, I noticed whispering amongst B-Ri and his friends, the kind of whispering that belies a plan being hatched and/ or confirmed. Whispering and laughs. The whisper train moved down the track to Mook and his girl, and he blurted out a laugh while nodding in drunken agreement as the pontoons gently cleft through the subtle ripples on the water's surface. B-Ri went back to the helm, and Mook approached me and this girl, who will remain nameless.
"'Ay, B-Ri says we should go swimmin' up here at Lil' Will's house, he has a pool."
"Uh, well, I don't have on my bathin' suit, cat-daddy. I reckon I can..."
"Naaaahhh," said Mook, issuing forth a trailing spittle of drool as he spoke (dude was D-R-U-N-K). "You don't need it." Then he laughed like a mad man, which even for an intoxicated Mook, was somewhat unnerving.
Apparently my accompanying young lady had some idea what was to follow, as when I asked her if she wanted to go swimming, she laughed and said "I've been wanting to swim with you since I met you at the party yesterday!"
"Oooo...kay?" I was confused. These Georgicans were a little too enthused about swimming for my liking. I mean, being a child of the Alabama Gulf Coast, I too was fond of watersports (and candid photography, nudge-nudge, wink-wink.) But being drunk and horny, the absolute last thing on my mind was swimming.
The pontoon motored on, and from my spot on the stern, wedged between an auxiliary gas canister and this femme fatale next to me, I could tell that we had set our course for a light atop a high bluff. As we got closer, the light took on the greenish-blue glow of a mercury vapor light: it seemed to be a beacon of some impending danger or another, like a lighthouse warning sailors off of a rocky shore.
Too drunk to care, and with my hand firmly wedged between the ample upper thighs of this beautiful young woman, we arrived at the meager dock arrayed at the bottom of the bluff. It was barely a pylon to which one tied a boat, not the type of robust pier I was accustomed to frequenting my part of the country.
Because of my proximity to the gas fumes and the emissions of this elderly outboard motor which was pushing our party skiff, I decided the admirable thing to do would be to get a puke in before continuing the night's activities to pre-purge. After all, the expected vigorous events to follow would certainly cause a boiling in my belly, all of the in-out, in-out and such, you get the picture. I told yon lass to go on up and fetch ahead with the others to the swimming pool, that I would be with her after making us a couple of drinks. In reality, I was indeed going to make drinks, but I wanted to privately puke myself dry before proceeding. Pre-emptive puking: the sign of a true alcoholic.
It was at that point that another cousin who had been privy to the previous conversations came back to talk to me. Now this cousin was a different kind a cat...very different. He had struggled with mental demons for many years, but bless his heart, he is a wonderful person who just drew a bad hand from the Maker when he stepped into this plane.
He, like me, enjoyed partaking of the toke. He unfurled a tightly rolled joint and lit it before passing it to me...once I wiped the puke from my mouth and went about the task of preparing drinks.
"You know, they ain't really gonna be swimmin' up there, don't ya?" this cousin, who I'll call Virgil, said to me.
I was perplexed, didn't understand the words that were tumblin' out of his mouth. Was this some sort of ambush set up to snare your faithful narrator? I was taken aback, and asked for further illumination.
"Man, they are plannin' on skinny dippin' and they figured if they told you, you wouldn't go."
"Are you fkn kiddin' me man?" I, indeed, did not want to engage in said activities with members of my blood family and these backwoods Georgican heathens. Yes, sure, I'd had a dream about skinny dippin' with the lot of their women the previous night before, but that was the soma-induced delusion of a young man plied with far too much liquor and other exotic intoxicants. NO, no this would not stand!
(On a side note, I think it an opportune time to remind everyone that every summer, Mark Richt gives his players a "Swim Day" as a respite from the grind of practice. Draw from this your own conclusion...carry on.)
Virgil and I finished the joint, and I thanked him for the intel. We were the only two on the boat, and being the vengeful sort that I am, I decided I would steal the craft and elope back to my quarters in the lakehouse to spend the night in solitude. However, my wily cousin B-Ri Had secured the keys on (or about...since I don't reckon he was wearin' garments in the commission of said swimmin' excursion) his person.
"Dammit!" What was I to do? I couldn't spend what would surely be hours alone on a pontoon boat while the remainder of my party engaged in pleasures of the flesh. Virgil said he was going to go on up and see what was going on, and tell them that I wasn't coming up. That Virgil, I could count on him.
He climbed the stairs of the bluff and disappeared from beneath the bluish halo of the mercury light. About 20 minute elapsed before I saw him coming back down the hill, and by this time, I had discovered Big Will's Absolut stash and was well on my way into the heart of it.
"They said come on up...that girl you was attached to said she wanted you up there, too."
I was tempted, but remained steadfast. You see, no amount of feminine magnetism can overcome my ardent desire to never see any of my cousins, particularly my male ones, unclothed. Just ain't right, just so many reasons why that's not right. I had skinny-dipped with this girl or that, even did it in a group once in the dark swimming hole off of Highpoint Blvd. in Mobile. But none of those people were my cousins, and I had lived a rather full life up until that point without ever having viewed familial nutsack, not even a glance.
"Nope, fk them and fk her. I ain't goin' up there." Despite my protests, being of a writer's mind, I wanted more details. "I mean, what's it look like up there Virg?"
"Worse than you can imagine, OWB. Some of ‘em are down in the pool, but those are mostly the girls, so you can't see much tit. The girls got all their good parts covered. But there's just coinpurse all over the place up there, dudes just straddin' coolers with their nuts out, just peckers layin' all over everything. Just not a good scene, man, not good at all."
That was exactly what I had feared. I was sickened and drunk, drunk and sickened. And for once, the two were not interrelated.
I punched the aluminum siding of the boat's cabin, and yelled a bunch of profanity up the hill, cast around the terms "nasty mffkrs" a good bit. For you see, copious amounts of Absolut have a mysterious way of limiting one's vocabulary, as if by some quirk of Norse black magic (big ups, Loki.)
After a few minutes, Mook came down wearing boxers only, along with his ever present flip-flops (the official footwear of South Alabama.)
"Doooood, you gotta come up heeeere, man!" He proclaimed. Virg rolled his eyes behind Mook's back. "Man, those hot chicks all got their titties out and stuff, man, it's awesome! Com'on!"
"Fk you and them," I said. "Y'all shoulda told me what you had planned, I'da jumped off the boat and swam home. Y'all are nasty. I love lookin' at titties, but not if I gotta hack through a jungle of love-muscles to see ‘em."
Disgruntled, Mook trudged back up the hill. If there was anything he'd learned in his time around me, it was that if OWB was pissed, then he was going to make life miserable for everyone else. I continued yelling, added some "whores and whoremongers" into the diatribe, swore off alcohol, and threatened to take pictures and hand them out on the local campus if they didn't hurry up. In the meantime, I had caught quite the buzz, not just from the vodka, but from the ever-present gasoline fumes I had been inhaling for well-more than an hour by this time. I was beginning to get the "wah-wah's," which for those of you who are not inhalant fiends, means you have huffed plenty o' gas.
The party began its descent from the bluff, with more than a few of the females noticeably absent. Apparently, they heard my verbal barrage and were so ashamed that they could no longer face me, so they stayed at Lil' Will's place with the pool. My girl was among them, which all but insured me of a sexless final evening in Statesboro, GA.
The only girl left on the boat was J-Thin, but she was full blast. The Southern demureness that had shamed these Georgican girls was lost on J-Thin. Not that she wasn't demure and proper in her own right when sober, but right now, she was as drunk and debaucherous as your average frat boy in the midst of a rush-week bender. She was hollerin' from the back of the boat, daring Mook to pinch her breast, just all kinds of outlandish stuff was going on. I attempted to shame them, but she was not having any of it.
"You just stick'n mud z'all, you don't know ‘bout fun." She told me. Then she flashed her smallish (but admittedly well-sculpted) breasts at me accompanied with the infamous call of the party girl, "WOOOOO!"
Effin'-A. What had happened here? I'd just seen the hangers of my best friend's girl, and I was not excited about it. I had lost all respect for B-Ri, he of public nutsack. And any shred of dignity that I believed Mook and his woman had harbored within their souls was cast like a dry leaf on the breeze, sentenced to float directionless in exile from the finer regions of my morality.
We made it back to the lake house, and I silently collected my things, along with what remained of the vodka, and trudged off to the sleeping quarters, which were in a framed-in area between the pylons upon which the house was built. I could hear the hootin' upstairs: loud, drunken country-type revelry. Bocephus on the stereo, smoke everywhere. I finished the vodka, put the pillow over my head, and tried to drown it out.
Not long after, I heard stirring in the room. It was J-Thin. The couch upon which I was sleeping was near the bathroom, so I figured she'd come down to use the facilities. However, I felt her hand on my leg.
"Hey, why'on'tcha come on upstairs, we're gonna get in the hot tub?"
I pulled the pillow away from my head to find her standing there. Topless.
"I want you to come...WE want you to come."
I recoiled in horror. She giggled. I yelled and flailed and she left.
I went back to sleep. After what seemed like a short time, I heard motion in the room again. This time, it was Mook.
"'Ay, check ‘is out." I pulled the covers away from my head, only to find the screen of a digital camera in my grill. Upon it was a pic of the boys sitting nekkid on the edge of the hot tub, along with J-Thin, still topless.
"WHAT THE F IS WRONG WITH Y'ALL!" I was irate, kicked him in the ribs real nice, right in the sweet spot. I was sleepin' amongst freaks and deviants...deviants who SHARED MY EVER-LOVIN' BLOODLINE!
I felt violated. I felt something akin to Burt Reynolds' character in Deliverance. I was a stranger in a strange land, and I had no route of escape, no recourse short of taking a boat oar to the heads of all parties involved.
With the prospect of a Georgia murder charge deemed unsavory at best, I elected to try to sleep. And for whatever reason, they left me alone. Now, there was rather loud, aggressive copulation that transpired in that room once Mook and J-Thin decided to turn in for the night, but some earbuds and a Fishbone tape drowned that out rather nicely.
When one engages in such nefarious acts, the worst chapter of the dissertation is always the next morning. Once the liquor wears off and the events of the preceding evening sink in, the cloak of shame is impossible to escape as it drapes around one's shoulders. I didn't want to look at those people, but alas, such was my fate.
For you see, what awaited that morning was the most uncomfortable eight hour car trip of my live-long life. I don't know that I said a word, and it must have been appreciated because no one else said a word either. To this day, I can't look either one of them in the eye without thinking about this horrible atrocity from my past. We have never again spoken of the events of that evening. None of us. Never.
Moral of the story: Beware of boat rides to nowhere. Also, never, ever, ever gaze directly into a familial nutsack, as to do so will result in your flesh being converted to granite or somethin'.
Hate the Vols. Hate Orange. F Tennessee. Roll Tide Roll.