Sunday, June 25, 2017

Almost Heaven

Adult Halloween costumes fall into three categories: scary, sexy and funny. For some stupid reason, my company has costume contests every Halloween. The powers that be love wasting time with stupid bullshit like that, but taking time off for severe medical needs is frowned upon. Anyway, a few years back, this jackass came to work dressed as a coal miner. Coal miner doesn't fall under scary or sexy, so we can deduce this asshat thought it was a funny costume. And he did. I found it off putting.

When people learn I from West Virginia, nine times out of ten I am mockingly asked the following questions:

1.) Is your mom also your sister?
2.) Was your dad a coal miner?

My answer to the first question is usually, “Wow. You're so clever. I've never heard an incest joke about West Virginia before. I can see why you're in middle management. That's the kind of wit that can only be developed by laughing at the lame jokes of your immediate superiors in a desperate and feeble attempt to climb the corporate ladder.”

My answer to the second question is, “Yes.” This causes the jackass who asked the question to be all dumbfounded and start stammering. I get a smug satisfaction from their awkwardness. It's similar to the smug satisfaction I felt when the Halloween jerk was fired.

John Oliver recently did a piece on coal miners and how Trump fucked with the hopes and fears of those who are dependent upon the coal industry. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It's fucking awesome. And it reminded me it's been too long since I told anyone to eat shit. Way too long.

The one time out of ten I'm not mockingly asked the questions above, I'm told the following: “You're from West Virginia? I drove through there once on my way to somewhere else.” Please stop saying this to me. I don't care and I literally have no response to that. So you hit the West Virginia Turnpike en route to your vacation destination. I don't know what you want me to do with this information.

Since the election, much ado has been made about the disconnect between the liberal elite and rural America. I believe I'm in a unique position to address this as I'm a native of Bumblefuck, WV and I consider myself a part of the liberal elite.

Throughout this blog, I will most likely make fun of West Virginia. I'm allowed to do so as I am from there. You are not allowed to do so because you will come across as an obnoxious, stuck up asshole. You're not better than me just because your home town has a hospital and level sidewalks.

Before you read any further, I need you to understand Virginia and West Virginia are two separate states. Get this into your head right now and don't you ever fucking forget it. And where the fuck do you get the nerve to laugh at me when I correct you? You're the dumbass who can't name all fifty states, a skill you should have mastered by the third grade. You understand there is a North and South Dakota. You understand there is a North and South Carolina. Why the fuck do you insist there is no West Virginia? You know what? Fuck it. From now on, I'm referring to Virginia as East Virginia.

You may be wondering how I came to be liberal when I'm from a red state. That's because it wasn't always a red state. From 1976 to 1996 West Virginia only went red once and that was in Reagan's second term. (I've always believed Reagan's huge electoral win in 1984 was due to the assassination attempt in his first term. I have no facts to support this. I just think it must be really hard not to vote for the guy who got shot.) In fact, West Virginia was one of only six states that went to Jimmy Carter in 1980. (Now that I think about it, winning 44 states in 1980 was also a huge electoral victory. I may have to reassess my assassination theory.)

From an early age I knew two things, I leaned democrat and I wanted to get the fuck out of West Virginia. In 1998 I got the fuck out of West Virginia. This brings us to the 2000 election of Gore v. Bush. Though I had been gone for two years, I fully expected my home state to go for Gore. I clearly remember watching the election night coverage as it was the moment my ongoing feud with Joe Scarborough began. A feud he knows nothing about because he has no idea I exist. They played an Al Gore clip where he said something intelligent.  What Joe Scarborough said after that is seared in my memory forever. “That don't play in West Virginia.” I looked straight into the TV screen and said, “Eat shit, Joe.”
Joe decided we were a bunch of idiot hicks who would obviously choose the dumbass buffoonery of George W. Bush over the brains of Al Gore. He was pompous and arrogant and I was certain I knew the people of my home state better than some cable news anchor/wannabe rock star. And later that evening when West Virginia was called for George Bush, I lost my shit. I shouted to the TV, “What the fuck, West Virginia? I spent all night defending you to Joe Scarborough and you go and fuck me over like this.” 

Looking back, I now realize this is when the whole liberal elite bullshit started. George Bush campaigned saying things like, "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." Republicans had to find a way to make this jackass appealing to voters. In true evil genius fashion they devised a plan to make voters believe Al Gore was condescending to them. They said things like, “You notice how Al Gore calls a creek a creek instead of a crick? He's talking down to you. George Bush would like to have a beer with you.” And people were all like “Yeah, I'd rather have a beer with George Bush than pronounce words properly with Al Gore.” 

For the record, I don't think anyone would enjoy having a beer with George Bush. He strikes me as the kind of guy who gets way too drunk, way too fast. Then you have to call his wife to pick him up. They leave. A half hour goes by and the waiter comes over and asks you if the drunk guy left. You say yeah and the waiter tells you he didn't pay his tab. So, you're like, whatever, I'll pay it. You get the bill and it's three hundred dollars when he was literally only there for an hour and a half. Because the jackass was drinking some fancy imported beer like it was water.  Apparently, he's too good for Pabst Blue Ribbon, which still exists and is only seventy-five cents a bottle. And you know this because you're from West Virginia and you know a lot of broke alcoholics. Only we don't call them alcoholics. They're people who “like to drink.” And now you have to put George Bush's expensive beer on a credit card you just paid off.

To this very day, the people who didn't fall for the George W. Bush Beer Initiative are called the liberal elite. This is why I consider myself a part of the liberal elite. Not because I'm elite, but because I'm not insecure. This is really a self esteem issue. If you threw yourself in the basket with the other deplorables, you're either a Klan member or you suffer from low self confidence.

When it comes to the self esteem of West Virginia, you people who only recognize East Virginia aren't helping. Our current state motto is, “West Virginia – Slightly Better Than Kentucky.”

Low self esteem causes people to see enemies who don't exist. I went home for a visit in 2012 and saw signs about “Obama's War on Coal” everywhere. I had no idea such a war had been waged. Because it wasn't real. As my hair dresser recently said to me, “Paranoia will destroy ya.” (She then asked me what that was from and I said I didn't know. A Google search revealed it's a song by The Kinks.) Obama had this crazy idea about saving the planet and reducing carbon emissions. It's wasn't a war. He just didn't want the entire human race to die.

Low self esteem also causes people to hold conflicting beliefs. I don't personally know anyone who denies global warming is real. This is counting friends who vote republican. When I was in middle school we started an environmental club. We even planted trees at the school and shit. My family and the families of several of my classmates were dependent upon coal. But no one denied the hole in the ozone layer was real. Our school actually taught us science and didn't tell us stupid shit like, Jesus wants it to be warm on Christmas this year. (Three years later, that school closed and now it's some public health place that gives free birth control to teenage girls. It would be nice if one of you little whores could take two minutes to water my fucking trees.)

Mountaintop excavating takes jobs away from coal miners. The people in West Virginia fucking hate what it's doing to their environment. It makes the mountains ugly. It won't be long before people who drive through West Virginia on their vacation will stop telling me it's beautiful. Obama is no longer president, and I haven't checked his record on this, but I'm almost certain he was against blowing up mountains.

I must call bullshit on the miners I see on TV who claim to love mining. I know you fucking don't. You love not being poor. There's nothing wrong with that. If there was a better job with the same pay, you'd be out of the mine as fast as you can say, “Fuck this shit.” Which is exactly what you'd be saying.
This is what I know about coal mining and why I know you're full of shit:

1.) Coal mining makes one extremely irritable and completely oblivious to the discomfort of those around him. For instance, the miner may think it's perfectly acceptable to tell a disgusting story about taking a shit in a coal mine at the dinner table. And if anyone says they don't want to hear this story while they're eating, he'll get all crabby and say he's paying for this food and he'll talk about whatever he wants.

2.) Taking a shit in a coal mine is an unpleasant misadventure.

3.) It's causes all kinds of health problems. Aside from the obvious black lung, it causes back problems. This is very inconvenient when your daughter needs you to move furniture. It also causes hearing loss and you will probably refuse to get hearing aids. And you keeping turning the volume up on the TV and no one ever needs to hear Andy Griffith that loud. There's something really creepy about it.

4.) Coal dust can sometimes make it look as if a grown man is wearing eye liner.

5.) The danger. It's on the list of the 20 Deadliest Jobs in America. It ranks way higher on the list than police or fire fighters. It's literally safer to run into a burning building than to go down in a coal mine.

Reporters, please stop referring to coal mining as the only high paying jobs available for non-college educated people in West Virginia. You know what high paying jobs are available for college educated people in West Virginia? I don't either. I already told you my home town doesn't even have a hospital. The town next to us does, but if you go there for anything more serious than a broken arm, they're going to throw your ass on a helicopter to Pittsburgh. I don't know if helicopter pilot is a high paying job, but it doesn't require a college degree either.

Not much new industry ever comes to West Virginia. The land is extremely “bumpy.” Corporations find building on mountains to be a huge pain in the ass. And apparently, if you aren't from there, the Falling Rock signs can be unnerving. For people who haven't driven through on their vacation, yes, there are a lot of mountains in West Virginia. It's The Mountain State. It's surprises me how often I have to explain this to people from neighboring states.

This is why West Virginia is desperately clinging to coal mining, even though it's been on the decline for forty years due to technology and mountaintop excavation. And people make bad decisions when they're desperate. Decisions like voting for Donald Trump, a man who calls himself “the blue collar billionaire.” Coal miners should be giving him shit for that, not proclaiming him their savior.

In 1990, Donald Trump gave an interview to Playboy where he told a fascinating story about coal miners:

What satisfaction, exactly, do you get out of doing a deal?
I love the creative process. I do what I do out of pure enjoyment. Hopefully, nobody does it better. There’s a beauty to making a great deal. It’s my canvas. And I like painting it.

I like the challenge and tell the story of the coal miner’s son. The coal miner gets black-lung disease, his son gets it, then his son. If I had been the son of a coal miner, I would have left the damn mines. But most people don’t have the imagination — or whatever — to leave their mine. They don’t have “it.”

Eat shit, Donnie.

Namaste, Bitches


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