Arrested for driving while blind. Friends and neighbors, brothers and sisters, that old ZZ Top line is about the only thing I haven’t done, and I’ve done it all. If there is anything I missed, it’s only because no one told me about it. If you want to dig dirt on me, you’d better bring a dump truck. I have been in country music for forty plus years, and I mean the real music business. I wasn’t just hanging around some bar, hoping my family might drop in and hear me play a guitar, I was a writer, and I wrote my way all the way to Nashville. Unless you’ve been living under a big yellow rock you’ve probably heard something I have written.
My mother once told me that if I ever hurt a decent girl she’d beat me to death with an iron skillet, so for the first four marriages (yeah, I said four) I married sluts. Number five was a thirty year ordeal, where I kept trying to leave, and she kept following. We finally divorced, but she wouldn’t let me leave, so here I am. As time and tears went by I began to settle down. There were two major factors contributing to this: One, I got too damn old, and two, I got tired of making bail. Somehow I came through all of this with my health, which is a miracle, because I quit drinking when they invented the funnel. Today I will still take a little Jim Beam, but nowhere near my glory days. I’m partial to a martini.
So where am I going with all of this? It’s simple actually. I see people all the time living in the past. They had a bad childhood. Let me tell you about a bad childhood. I am certified white trash. The first time I saw a fruit display on a formal table I tried to eat the wax apple. I hear someone on Doctor Phil going on and on about an abusive father, but let me school you, my dad was a roofer in Texas for thirty years, and being a roofer in Texas is about as bad a job as you can get, if you don’t count being a slave. My dad wouldn’t whip us, he’d knock us through the wall. Good news was that we were quick, and he only had to knock us through one wall for us kids to catch on. We were so poor we thought the people on welfare had government jobs because they had a check!
Human beings become better through ordeal. Steel becomes stronger through tempering. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Texas has never been easy. This is hard country out here. Our wages are low, and our hours are long, but we know the deal. You really have to believe in God, because if you don’t then none of this makes any sense. I couldn’t understand a word of the Bible until I was thirty-five years old. We had that old King James Version, and with all the “Thees” and “Thous” I just couldn’t connect the dots. Life connected the dots for me. I began to realize that if you cast your bread upon the water you’d get back a sandwich.
Writers are a special lot. For me, writing is therapy. As the words form on the page I vocalize, and when I vocalize, I begin to see the logic, and understand not only other people, but my own situation. I don’t believe in all this psychiatry stuff, and theories, or drugs, or mind control. I believe that most thinking people, over fifty years, can figure out what hurts, and what doesn’t hurt. You begin to see that there is room in the world for other ideas, and just because you don’t agree with them, they are just ideas. When I hear a liberal expounding some whacky “Bernie Sanders” plan, I know it won’t work, but rather than go tit for tat I understand that it’s all fine because good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, they’ll have the same fifty years that I had to figure it all out. It’s all so simple. This will put a meal on the table, and that won’t.
I do understand the Bible now, but there’s a lot of “fluff” in it. The truths that Jesus spoke of were down to earth facts. Don’t judge. I never judge! When someone does something that I think is bad, I’ll just remember back when I did exactly the same thing, and be glad the statute of limitations has run out. We have all fallen short of the glory, and I fell short the day the doctor said, “Hey,” and I said, “Huh?”
It all boils down to this: You get what you expect. If you dwell in the past you will always be there. If you set goals, no matter how remote, you may not get there, but you’ll be on the way, and the journey is half the joy. We all make mistakes. What seemed so serious back then, will just be funny as you recount it to a friend at a local pub. The sad part of life is if you live long enough to figure it out then you’ll come to the same conclusions that I did after you are old, and young people have it all “figured out,” and will not listen as they begin their journey toward “the truth.”
If you want to dig dirt on me, you’d better bring a dump truck, because I’ve done it all, and if there’s anything I missed it’s only because no one told me about it, and I’m man enough to admit it! I’ve found one person who totally understands me. She sleeps with me, eats with me, agrees with everything I say, and cries when I’m away. In the spirit of the recent Supreme Court ruling on marriage I have decided to marry my dog.