A Random Image

Jett Superior laid this on you on || November 24, 2003 || 12:15 am

“Hey man, my mom can do a lay-up. For real.”

Friday night found me being screamed at by a pregnant wirehead in the parking lot of a Dairy Queen while her three (the-state-saw-fit-to-remove-but-ma’n'pa-cain’t-figger-out-whyyyyy) children waited in all their carseated glory, for me to make the forty-five minute drive to take them home. In the dark. Up windy, mountainous terrain where my cellphone doesn’t carry a signal. And oh yeah, where mom and dad have lots of little tweaky friends who don’t require much in the ’setting off’ department.

Have I mentioned that I’m not allowed to carry a weapon on this job? Besides my to-the-bone wrath, that is.

“SUPERVISED VISITATION JUST MEANS THAT YOU HAVE TO SEE ME, IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU HAVE TO HEAR ME AND TAKE NOTES SO’S YOU CAN RUN OFF TATTLING ON ME SO THAT I LOSE TIME WITH MY KIDS!” Hmmm, let me see….that losing time thing doesn’t have anything atall to do with the drug tests you both fail with a keen regularity, now does it?

“Look, we need to talk,” I said calmly shortly after I’d buckled the kids in and closed the doors.

“So TALK,” she spat.

“Number one,” I went on, “we can’t be having these Scenes From A Public Restaurant displays. Number two, they absolutely cannot happen in front of these kids. Save the irate for the ISP meetings.”

“I’maboutta show you irate here in five minutes.”

“You threatening me?” I asked, narrowing my eyes. Watch me when I get quieter, ole gal. Just watch me. That means I’m about to latch on to that there jugular and/or pound some pavement with your fucking white-trashy head. I try like hell to be compassionate in this job. I am patently non-judgemental. Agog many times, but non-judgemental. There but for the grace of God, you know? I coulda been born inbred, too. But I got NO KINDA SYMPATHY for this bitch. My monitoring was non-invasive before. Now I’ma be up her ass and smiling like I OWN the fucking catbird seat. I’d like to be everybody’s friend in this sort of situation, but if you make me choose, I’m gonna come down on the side of the wee ones every time. You hear me? Every last time. Make bank on it.

Saturday morning found me at the Juvenile Woo-hoo Hospital playing a comical bit of volleyball with the Sixteen-And-Under Certifiable Set. I’m ass at volleyball, let me just tell you. The kids all thought I was National Lampoon Set Point On Wheels.

I had taken Sam and Scout with me to meet the kid that I was taking to visit his brother (mentioned him here before). Yes, in a further bout of crazed philanthropical fervor (my uterus, ow, my uterus), we are entertaining the notion of fostering this kid, and it’s important that my kids have the opportunity to interact with him for a time so that everyone is fully informed. The kid is great, and by great I mean exceptionally superb. He’s thirteen and witty, intelligent (“Did you know that ‘Ring Around The Rosy’ is actually about the black plague?”), musically inclined (plays the trumpet), a voracious reader (he gobbles up everything I bring him to read….recently has started on ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’ series) and very not wanted by his own family. They (his mom, dad and brother) are all “Hyuck-hyuck” and no-teethy and have a cumulative IQ of about seventy. I swear, it’s like he was dropped into their midst by aliens in some twisted sort of social experiment.

They all have dark eyes and hair. He is blonde and blue-eyed. It’s like he’s destined to be a Superior kid. Crazy.

So anyhoo, Sam and Scout are along, and because I anticipated us being locked in a room with the Big Leering Swamprat and his family, I requested a grounds visit. What the hell, right? The day’s pretty, I’ve got a handle on three mostly normal kids and one borderline one. Yeah, well, no sooner than we piled onto the volleyball court did the big metal doors to the lawn clang open and out came pouring all our Fine Young Mostly-Imprisoned Friends. In such situations one must adapt. I divvied up all the Adolescent Crazies and proceeded to taunt them. What I lack in skill I can most assuredly make up for in mouth. I warnt there just to get my tennyshoos dusty, friend.

So when I’m patently at the pinnacle of Net Suckitude, young Sam (oh he of the chivalrous and wave-all-his-cards-in-front-of-him-where-everybody-but-everybody-can-see-’em nature) comes to rescue my honor with the bold statement that you see in yon title line. Rock. So of course, we are fully expected to traipse over to the neighboring basketball court, even though I was quite okay in my volleyball ineptitude. Quick little pick-up game, okay then, okay.

What commenced was a lesson in White Girls Can Sometimes Jump, No Matter That They Neglected To Don A Sports Bra That Day….too bad the Big Leering Swamprat wasn’t in attendance. I left that day having been pronounced ‘Not Bad For A White Girl’ by a kid named Tometrius (I even asked him how to spell it, in fine journalistic fashion, yo). I’ve only received this title one other time; that was at a high school dance in the tenth grade and it was bestowed upon me by one Kenny Bullard, a lanky and handsome black fella who could appreciate a fine dancer no matter the hue of their skin.

Later that afternoon I dropped Sam off to his dad; Scout elected to finish out the day’s work with me. I’d picked up a seven-hour supervised ‘Thanksgiving Dinner’ visit from a worker that was vacationing. There are nine kids, only six of whom were attending, and one other worker was covering the visit with me.

Now, this family is fucking NOTORIOUS in social work circles, and I was really unsure as to what to expect. I was picturing the Herdmans with a frenetic mother and that’s pretty much what I got. With ham. And green bean casserole. And a cat-smelling double-wide trailer whose door facings had been quite aesthetically ripped out, leaving that shabby-chic, nails-poking-from-the-frame thing. The kids ranged from sixteen down to four and were all quite strikingly beautiful. They each had a different father.

“Yeah,” Quinn –the middle boy– told me, “when mom’s not working, she likes to interact.” Oh boy. Ohboy ohboy.

There was a great-aunt and a grandmother, both quite refined, and somewhere down the line a van full of Holiness girls emptied into the trailer, impossibly long and uncut hair a-swingin. Oh yes, a three-hundred-fifty pound aunt (who kept announcing to us that she’d already lost one-hundred and eighty-five) and her two boys (one sixteen, two-hundred fify pounds, a unibrow and limited reasoning capabilities and one three and quite cute, markedly smarter than mother and brother) showed up. The other worker? She was a Yankee woman built like a drill sergeant who had recently retired from Juvenile Corrections in Florida.

It was like I was trapped in a John Waters film, I swear. I swear.

The normally low-key friendly Scout sat, eyes wide and expressionless, most of the visit. Sweeeeet mother of something. When they informed me that the slate for the evening’s entertainment was to posse up and head for a local family karaoke joint, I nearly lost it. The evening folded with me sitting in this place, watching people of various degrees of inbreeding dance with one another while one or two of the other inbreds sang things that contained lyrics like ‘…If that good-lookin’ thang in the corner keeps smilin’ back at me…’ and ‘…Just once more I wish you’d love me on a blanket on the ground…’

There was a fella there with a book –a whole hotdanged BOOK– filled to the brim with carefully-compiled karaoke ceedees. One girl, cute with butch-cut hair, but about as big around as she was tall, began dancing a furious mountain reel; I don’t know how in the fuck she defied both sweat and gravity. One boy with a square, lumpy head (adorned with an impossibly flat face) set atop a square, lumpy body channeled Elvis repeatedly as the night wore on. Holy Heartbreak Hotel! I’m from Memphis, and I detest Elvis. Destest him, you hear me!??

Scout leaned in once or twice and asked me why I didn’t get up there to rock the house. Finally I told her, while trying not to sound too very imperious: “Look, Scoutypoo, ay) you can only throw a good karaoke meetin’ with the addition of some fine tequila and bee) karaoke ain’t supposed to be serious, for geese and gravy and cee) you don’t bring caviar to a catfish fry. It’s a bit uppity.” She nodded sagely. Scout digs okay, baby.

About that time a young member of the house band headed toward the stage, pulling at the mic and gesturing to a guitar player present.

“Play me somethin’, Thumpy.” is what he said, but I misinterpreted it as ‘Play me something thumpy.’ Hell, how was I to know that was the guitar player’s name? Silly me. Young Member Of The House Band then turned to sidestage, got on one knee and commenced to asking the jig-dancing girl, who now held her five-month-old baby (and a pretty baby she was) to marry him. He had no ring to offer, only his heart.

“Amanda, we been together a long time, and you know I love you.” Sounded for all the world like he was on Jerry Springer and about to confess an affair with her cross-dressing cousin Bubba.

How was YOUR weekend?

22 worked it out »

  1. I’m sorry what? Did I miss something? You detest Elvis??? I lost my breath for a second there, but then took comfort in the fact that in a deleted ‘Pulp Fiction’ scene, Uma says: “You’re either an Elvis person, or a Beatles person.” I’d personally like to hear an entire post where you elaborate more on why you detest ‘the King.’

  2. Dean 11.24.2003

    Oh. my. God.

    Woman, you are a freakin’ saint.

  3. Leslie 11.24.2003

    Wow! Makes me wanna go visit my family and tell them how much I love ‘em.

  4. waistdog 11.24.2003

    “Wall Shoot far thar woman”…..I wanna move to ‘bammy now!

    I knew it was a fun place.

    But you make it sound all Nirvana like.

    GIves me the urge to spend the holidays at Happy Camp.

  5. sean 11.24.2003

    Wow. Would you mind if I “borrowed” your life for a few key scenes in some upcoming script?

    You just can’t make that shit up. And if you did, my hat’s off to you. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

    Oh, the humanity.

  6. melly 11.24.2003

    There was cross-dressing involved.

  7. Jett 11.24.2003

    Yeah, mel, but we’re not talking about me today.

    Or….were you referring to yourself? WOO, BIG WILD T-TOWN!

  8. Joe 11.24.2003

    Are you sure it was John Waters and not David Lynch? And just like Daniel said, in Pulp Fiction, that makes you a Beatles person. Welcome to the club!

  9. CJ 11.25.2003

    Heh. Hey, Mel, mine too! Yay for eight pounds of glitter, a halter top, a bottle of FAHN sippin’ whiskey, and a good ole fashioned game of Scurr Th’ Straights.

    Meanwhile, given that tale of Ole Jett Superior’s, there, I think i may get through the family thanksgivin’ with a couple less bloody marys and the consolation of knowing that at least my family has most of their teeth.

  10. timato 11.25.2003

    good googamooga.

  11. The Llama 11.25.2003

    Um… I don’t remember. So, great, right??

  12. peter 11.26.2003

    Just so you know, i’ve come back on three consecutive days to reread this post.

    Can I come to your house for Thanksgiving next year?

  13. John 11.26.2003

    To fix the larger width of this entry, a line break (a <br> html tag) somewhere in that long hyphenated “wave-all-his-cards…” section will do the trick.

    Some other things you mentioned have struck me because I have been reading about them recently.

    The bit about the Black Plague is interesting. I was reading about the story of Eyam during a 1665 outbreak of the plague. The local Preacher managed to convince the whole town to stay and while the town lost a third of the population it never spread beyond the border stones they set. These stones warned people to stay away and had holes they filled will vinegar that people from other villages would collect coins from in exchange for food they left for the people of Emay.

    The other thing is that I’ve been reading about one Jane Addams, since I’ve been going through Chicago history quite extensively lately. This story of yours reminded me of her fierce strength and great warmth. A fact that makes me proud to call you a friend.

  14. John 11.26.2003

    Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

    Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

    This planet has-or rather had-a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

    And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.

    Many were increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.

    - The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, (the opening of…)

    I know, I know…

  15. melly 11.26.2003

    Sorry about, John. He’s like that when he’s got a fresh set of batteries in him.

  16. waistdog 11.26.2003

    I want the drugs John’s got.

  17. G. 11.26.2003

    Ok, so I have this “rather” un-PC joke.

    How come it’s so hard to solve a redneck murder?

    1) All the DNA is the same.

    2) No dental records.

  18. David 11.27.2003


  19. Jett 11.27.2003

    Joe: nobody died, therefore it COULDN’T have been a Lynch film (but I was keeping a close eye peeled for corpses, you know).

    CJ: ’scurr’…heh.

    peter: who KNEW it would take this kind of post to finally get you to comment? you’re welcome to ride along. there’s ALL KINDS of material in my life; you’d have three albums’-worth before you left.

    John: the Hull House lady; ah yes, I know of her. The Golden Age of Philanthropy and all. And thank you. I’m glad people like you manage to find me on this great big wilderness of a planet.>:o)

    melly and waisty: leave the boy alone. he cannot erect stable vast wordy warrens under the strain of such harassment.

    Gila: sorry, pal…you’re like the third person to slap that joke up here. do come again, however!

  20. Jett 11.27.2003

    Joe: nobody died, therefore it COULDN’T have been a Lynch film (but I was keeping a close eye peeled for corpses, you know).

    CJ: ’scurr’…heh.

    peter: who KNEW it would take this kind of post to finally get you to comment? you’re welcome to ride along. there’s ALL KINDS of material in my life; you’d have three albums’-worth before you left.

    John: the Hull House lady; ah yes, I know of her. The Golden Age of Philanthropy and all. And thank you. I’m glad people like you manage to find me on this great big wilderness of a planet.>:o)

    melly and waisty: leave the boy alone. he cannot erect stable vast wordy warrens under the strain of such harassment.

    Gila: sorry, pal…you’re like the third person to slap that joke up here. do come again, however!

  21. Jett 11.27.2003

    ..and David: No shit, man.

    LOOK Y’ALL! I double-posted in my own comments, whee.

  22. G. 11.28.2003

    Haha! Pointing out my redundancy caused YOU to be redundant! Payback, schweetie.



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