I am Weary, Let Me Rest
I am Weary, Let Me Rest
Prologue: Before proceeding with the initial WBL report from the first event of the year, the One Good Deed for the Sake of Humanity Celebration on Two Wheels (OGD Ride) on 1 December 2008, the Reader should know that it will take a total of five persons for the most optimal reading of this ride report. At this point, please stop reading and go fetch four additional bodies. A musical voice for each of the other four is not an absolute requirement due to such short notice, but will be an added bonus if achieved. If a Reader can round up a barber shop quartet, he or she is holding a full house. While the Reader is fetching the other four, also grab something suitable to drink. A bottle of a Kentucky blend, a demijohn of mountain dew, or a flask of pure corn will suffice. Liquor will add much love and understanding to the conviviality of this grand occasion.
Welcome back: Place the four other singers in a row at an out of the way place for the time being. Unstopper the philter of cure all and tell your new found friends to pass the bottle. Though blended bourbon, mountain dew, and pure corn are sipping beverages, we don’t have time for that type of aristocratic satisfaction. This is the WBL where egalitarian principles reign supreme. Tell the foursome to tip the bottom of the bottle towards the Milky Way and take a good hard pull. After all, the cosmos is a rosier place when viewed through the bottom of a bottle. As the saying goes, we’re all in the gutter, it’s just that some of us are gazing up at the stars. Ask your four new friends to keep the racket down for the time being—we’ll return to them shortly. The Reader will need to sharpen all his powers of concentration and focus on the task at hand during this reading—this story, like a starburst in a crackhead’s windshield, wanders off in a dozen different directions.
The main thread: Over 7000 Zealots showed up Saturday morning (8 December 2008) at Sunshine Cycles in downtown Athens to take part in the OGD Ride, causing a sudden stampede on the new, fancy, super fine WBL 3rd generation t-shirts. The massive crush of Zealots clamoring for a WBL t-shirt made Black Friday shoppers at Wal-Mart look like a staid procession of funereal fat people. Zealots were reaching and punching and grabbing and jerking and clawing and yelling and yanking in a most undignified manner. A few of the more lascivious souls in the squashed-together hodgepodge of folks took the opportunity during the melee to thrust their hips forward, flag extended at full staff, and bang against the unguarded backside of an unsuspecting, but quite surprised, Zealot.
An example: Kris Kringle Nichols (name altered to protect the guilty), a well known dandy with a history of licentious behavior (see criminal action # SU-07-CR-2007, State of Georgia vs. Kris Kringle, specifically State’s Motion to Introduce Similar Acts Evidence), rocked his hips forward and backwards in an insalubrious and unwarranted attack on Cleve Blackwell’s buxom fundament in a sordid attempt to run a plumb line into the penetralia of that hallowed region while simultaneously declaiming, “That one was for the Gipper!” Fights broke out up and down Washington Street and riot police were called in to quell the crowd. A lucky 90 ended up with the oh-so-sweet WBL t’s while another 6,910 ended up broken hearted and empty handed. Such is life, get over it. We can’t all be heroes. The rest of us must be content to be part of the vulgar masses, the lumpen-proletariat. Welcome home, kiddo.
A brief explanation: The 90 lucky souls who landed the magnificent WBL t’s all agreed that they would perform one good deed for the sake of mankind, and at this point in our narrative, we good folk here at the WBL would like to explain the historicity behind our about-face in reference to our opinion on the arc of mankind, and give the Reader an adequate explanation for our complete turnaround as to our perspective on the potential for human beings in general. It is a well documented fact that in the past our view of those humans roaming about our fair planet was not a favorable one—most were brainless bipeds simply soaking up sun, sucking in oxygen, filling in space, and stuffing their gullets with grub. The world was a sump of disorder inhabited by a cesspool of sinners. All a person has to do is to take one look at Jered Gutcheck Gruber. Do so and it’s hard for an astute observer of modern man not to agree that ours is a sad and sorry trajectory. If a person doesn’t guard against it, after only a brief gander at Gutcheck, one is bound to assume that humankind is currently at the nadir in our evolutionary process. In other words, the pendulum is scraping against the floor. How can we as a species feel good about ourselves as long as we look like Gutcheck Gruber? Or act like John Best? Or smell like Ronnie Bratcher? Or ride like girls, like Kim Potter and Kirsten Davis? At least the two ladies are easy on the eyes.
Answer to this complex but comical conundrum: Tony Robbins. That’s right, Tony Robbins, the self-help guru for the down and out, the damned and the depraved (as long as the person has accessibility to cash or can qualify for credit). I stumbled into a Tony Robbins seminar and it was a life changing event. I was on the lamb from rehab, actually escaped. (They ain’t gonna send me to rehab, I say no, no, no.) I was running and ran right into the side door at the seminar. I was forced to grab a seat and wait it out in dark corner. Tony is such a dynamic speaker that by the end of his pep rally I was standing in my chair cheering like a Mary Kay salesman. I was stoked. I am somebody, I kept saying to myself. I have concluded after a long and lengthy disputation with myself that I am not a loser. In fact, the next time my wife calls me a loser because the lights have been turned off again, and holds up her thumb and her pointing finger in my face in the sign of an L, I might just snap her finger off and shove it right up her anyway back to Tony.
Tony has changed my outlook. Now whenever I ever step in a fresh pile of dung, and I do so daily, I simply smile and look on the sunny side. That’s Tony answer to most everything: Look on the sunny side. I bought Tony’s cassette tapes so whenever I need an infusion of optimism, I simply push Tony into my cassette deck. It’s like a needle jabbed right into my vein. I bought the entire series of tapes from Vol. I: I am not a Loser to Vol. 25: I will no Longer be an Unmitigated Failure in all That I Do and Say for the bargain basement price of $19.95. Per month. For 12 months. For the next five years. And as long as my payments are timely (received, not posted), my interest rate is only 21.99%. It doesn’t double unless I’m late, and the additional penalties seem reasonable. It’s not considered usury because Tony’s companies are based in the Caribbean, thus not subject to U.S. laws. Tony Robbins is one smart bastard, I’ll tell you that. He drives a Jag.
Back to the main thread: When I showed up Saturday morning for the inaugural event of the 2008 WBL season I was filled with beneficence for my fellow man, and munificence for all Zealots—I’d been listening to Tony on the drive down. In fact, I was forced to do double duty with my Tony Robbins’ tapes the night before because of an unfortunate misunderstanding with our local authorities. Allow me but a brief departure from the curvilinear thread of this narrative to pursue an adjunct alley. Please, bear with me here. The Reader may think this tale so far is a disjointed series of non sequiters, the disarticulate ramblings of a madman; but trust me, there’s a logic to my lunacy. Plus, I’ve run this by the lawyers first. Carney makes me do that now. No more of the good old days when I could rip out a piece of prose and run for cover.
An adjunct alley: The night before the grand opening of WBL 2008, I was listening to Tony’s tape titled Stop Being a Loser (Vol. 17). I was also watching Dancing with the Stars with the sound off. I’ll tell the Reader one thing, Marie Osmond is a fine piece of candy. And those legs—yowza, yowza, yowza. I’d like to get that girl out behind the shed and show her just how a country boy can anyway back to our tale. I should mention that I’d been drinking a fair bit while I was watching the ladies twirl.
After Dancing, the local news came on the television.11 Alive! was hosting a can-a-thon. Because I was full of good cheer, I was struck by an afflatus, a divine inspiration if you will. I went to my cupboard and stood in a chair and fished through the cans in the back on the top shelf. I found the following: six cans of Righteous Brothers beets, five cans of Piggly Wiggly green beans, three cans of Campbell’s French onion soup, four cans of Lucky Stars lima beans, and two cans of what I think were Mr. Goat’s black eyed peas. (The label was worn away so it was hard to read.) There were no expiration dates on the cans because these cans were bought before the FDA started telling me when I can’t eat my own damn food. I raked the cans into a garbage bag and headed for the closest drop-off center sponsored by 11 Alive! Maybe that Jezebel with the ruby red lips that comes on at 6 will be at my drop off center, I was thinking on the drive over.
About halfway there it dawned on me that I was drunker than a pilgrim. I’d plum forgotten about my inebriated state due to my inebriated state. I quickly pulled over into the poor part of town—I figured I’d just drop the cans off myself at some destitute but deserving soul’s hovel, then remove myself from the premises post haste. After all, a person never knows what type of pox these people are carrying. I pulled into government housing and approached a door with the lights on inside. After knocking, a behemoth in bed slippers and a threadbare cotton nightgown opened the door. She had curlers in her hair. She had a newborn baby in her right arm, a bottle of beer in her left hand, and a cigarette dangling from her mouth that jounced up and down when she talked, like a seesaw. Two snotty nosed little brats were lying on the floor against a mangy mutt and swilling clabber out of a baby bottle. A twelve year old juvenile delinquent was peeping out from behind the lady’s skirt at the door. He was also smoking. “What the hale do you want?” the bitch belted then burped. “Yea,” the other one said.
I’m new at feeling swell about others, so the old me jumped to the fore when I was so unceremoniously affronted. “Looks like somebody around here might consider a little birth control every now and then,” I said in a most casual manner, “considering the circumstances.” Looking back, I probably should not have said that.
“Yea, well, I guess it’s a little too late for your mama on that score. You must have inherited her stupidity. I’ll have your rent next week. Now git the hale outta my yard.”
“I’m not the rent man, my dear. I brought you some canned goods. And I might suggest that you throw a tent over yourself. Birthing children has been torture on your body.” I scanned her up and down, shook my head and frowned, and dropped the bag of canned goods at her feet. I turned and marched towards my car. The last thing I remember is brushing my hands together in a dramatic way.
The old bitty pulled out a can of beats and zinged it at my head. The can struck me square on the back of my skull. Down I went. When I woke up, I was in handcuffs and my head was throbbing. The police said the hoary harridan had accused me of making untoward advances when I came to her door, and trying to force my way into her humble abode. The kid said, “Yea.” I realize that the fact that I was drunk does not help my case. Neither does the fact that reams of pornography were found in my trunk, but I’ve been framed—I was doing research at the time. My lawyer has advised me to make no comment on the incident, so I won’t, other than to say to my wife: Honey dearest, I love you. You’re the only one for me. My cheating days are behind me, you know that. I promise. Please, give me one more chance. Please, don’t deny me my pumpkin pie. After an all night jam session with Tony and his tapes, I was once again feeling the love. I arrived at the start of the OGD Ride in fine fettle, though a bit hung over. Things are looking up: I’ve not been arrested, but a probable cause hearing is scheduled for next week.
Back to the main thread: Many a wayward wanderer and itinerant fool came from near and far to attend the first WBL event of the season. Zealots crawled out from under rocks, stumbled out of flea bitten hotels, slunk out of houses of ill repute, staggered out of shot houses, ran out of poker dens, felt their way out of smoky bars, floated out of hash houses, bonded out of jail, and rode out of bike shops to sign in for the OGD Ride. Such poltroons, outliers, and heresiarchs as Matt Chambers (self proclaimed Lothario), young gun Joey the Hammer Rosskopf (Eurodog), climbing newbie Michael Contador White (6-Gap sensation), Rob Giannini (he’s a made man), Alex Maggioni (the acorn didn’t fall far from the nut), Jon Altman (sorry, Clemson lays turds), and Adam Fancher (rumor has it Crowe jammed him on the hardwood).
After a brief announcement extolling Carney’s virtues and explaining what the legal definition of a “good deed” was, the Whistler clapped his heels together twice, clanged a bell, looked over at Crowe’s wife and said, “We are not in Kansas anymore,” and the first event of WBL 2008 was off and running. The Zealots headed down Prince Avenue on the sunny side of the street, stretching out lengthwise for several football fields, and headed northwest towards the Elysium fields of Jackson County and beyond. The Zealots were all smiles, and so was Old Sol, who was burning a bright yellow hole in the middle of a baby blue sky. The Zealots were so overcome with benevolence, they started singing work songs from Louisiana prison camps. When the rolling conflagration of multicolored hardasses flew by, cows in neighboring counties thought that this fast flowing line of polyphonic nuts must have just escaped from the loony bin. Most of the cows just mooed and continued chewing their cud.
Back to our barbershop quartet: The fact that the pack was singing songs written in Louisiana prison camps explains the need for your four new friends, your barber shop quartet. To put you in the proper mood and to make sure you feel the maximum jolt from your reading experience, the barbershop quartet standing against the wall in the Reader’s house should now be brought back into the fray. While you read this narrative aloud, your barbershop quartet should sing the pertinent Louisiana prison songs in the background. We’ll give the Reader the applicable verse below, which will coincide with what we were singing at the time. Your four friends should be well lubed by this time. Tell them to put the bottle down. It’s time for a sing-a-long. Tell them to start singing Now. Go!
In constant sorrow
All through his days.
I am a man of constant sorrow,
I've seen trouble all my day.
I bid farewell to old Kentucky
The place where I was born and raised.
Chorus: The place where he was born and
For six long years
I've been in trouble
No pleasure here on earth I've found.
For in this world
I’m bound to ramble.
I have no friends to help me now
Chorus: He has no friends to help him now.
Tell your singers to stomp their feet and belt it out. It’ll only help if they’re drunk. Liquor makes a person sing better.
The first good deed: The pack cruised out the J. Riviera Road to Brockton Loop and ambled over Maysville way. During the run to Maysville, John Deere’s cycling celebrity Tommy Mattox made the first move for mankind. Mattox dropped to the very back of the pack to speak with Carney. When he found Carney, Mattox said, “Briggs, I know what I’m going to do.” Tommy was salivating like a rabid dog.
“About what?” Carney was annoyed. He’d been making time with the ladies.
“You know, the good deed. I know what my good deed is going to be.”
“Oh yea, what?” Carney feigned interest.
“I’m not going to marry sixteen year old girls any more,” Tommy said.
Carney’s ears pricked up. “What?”
“Yea, I’m not going to marry another sixteen year old girl. I’m married to one now, and brother I’m here to tell you, she has severely hampered my training program, if you know what I mean.” Mattox winked at Carney.
Carney cleared his throat. “You’re married to a sixteen year old?”
“Yea,” Mattox smiled, “for three years now, but I ain’t gonna do that again.”
“So you’re going to divorce her?” Carney asked.
“Oh hale no.” Mattox looked puzzled. “I’m no fool. Just ain’t gonna marry me another one, cause then there would be two of ‘em. Doesn’t that count as a good deed for mankind?”
Carney mulled it over in his mind. After a minute he said, “Tommy, that’s the kind of sacrifice we are looking for.” He slapped Tommy on the back. “Um, I’d like to meet your wife,” Carney added.
The pack made a store stop in Maysville at the 35 mile juncture and Sag Man extraordinaire Jake Jailhouse Brindle shepherded a few lost souls into the store. After soaking up the sun’s bountiful rays and lounging about for a spell, the cast of swash buckling pedal bangers put their feet in the stirrups and headed for the friendly confines of Commerce, circa 1861. On the way, in homage to Brindle, they sang the following song:
I had a friend named Rambling Jake.
He used to steal, gamble and take.
He thought he was the smartest guy around
Well I found at last Monday
That Jake got locked up Sunday
They got him in the jailhouse way downtown.
He’s in the jailhouse now,
He’s in the jailhouse now.
Well I told him once or twice,
To stop playing cards and shooting dice,
He’s in the jailhouse now.
Chorus: Ye-do-ladyee-lee, yo-da-ladylee who [repeat chorus]
A second good deed: Jeremy J.J. Wadkins, Atlantis Hydroponics pack drover extraordinaire, had done yeoman’s work at the front and the heat may have caused his head to swell. Or he may have only been in a state of bliss. J.J. also drifted back to Carney and said, “Briggs, I’m not gonna give wild oats to every horse faced female that grazes in my pasture.”
“What? Are you talking about…”
“Yes. All I have to do is see a horse faced female grazing in my pasture and I’m willing to give it wild oats. My days of sport feeding horses are over.”
“Are we talking about the same thing?”
“But you love horses. You ride more than anyone I know, even me.”
“But it’s my good deed, you know, for the sake of humanity.” Tears welled up in J.J.’s rims.
“You’re a good man, J.J. Wadkins, like Charlie Brown.” Carney meant to say like James Brown, but his mind was still dark and cloudy, puzzling over the meaning of J.J.’s strange allusions and mystical musings. Like the ancient hieroglyphs etched into King Tut’s tomb, scholars will ponder over J.J.’s words for the next several centuries.
Heading over the rolling hills and the winding roads towards Commerce, several other drovers shared the load: Scott Thomas, Nick Jelly Roll Reistad, and Erik Keimtime, all took turns slicing through the wind. The pack was averaging an amicable 19 miles per hour.
Occasionally, we are granted moments of grace. On the outskirts of Commerce, the Zealots were greeted by the boys in blue. However, for the first time in Grant Baldwin’s life, the police had not come to arrest him. Instead, Baldwin and the rest of the Zealots were treated to a first class police escort through downtown Commerce. Nathan O’Neil and Jon the Kid Murphy went to the front when they saw the throng of photographers snapping pictures as the pack rolled down Main Street.
The pack drove through Commerce and dropped out the south side and headed for home. About this time, Big Scott Vitelli motored to the front and said, “Now, I’m driving this bus. It’s my good deed.” No one argued with Big Scott. He took the keys and drove us home. The pack was plum tuckered out by this point in the story and they were singing:
You know the Zealots have always been a real close family
Lately some of my kinfolks have disowned a few others and me.
I guess it’s because we kinda changed our direction
Lord I guess we went and broke their family tradition.
Tell me Zealots why do you drink?
And why do you roll smoke?
Why must you live out the stories that Humble C wrote?
If the Reader’s barbershop foursome has done it properly, all yall should be foot stomping and raising hale about now. We were sure as hale were about this time during the ride on Saturday. That may have been because we were getting head pounded by a truculent wind full of bluster and ill tidings.
During the last hour of the adventure the number Zealots that were so overcome with the spirit of giving and that came up to Carney and offered themselves up for the good of mankind was awe inspiring. And to think, only a few days earlier I was about to throw myself under the bus.
More good deeds: While we can’t give a shout-out to everyone who gave blood to the cause, we’d like to mention a few along with the specific sacrifice each made: Boy Brian Bibens said he would try and stop leering at women; Kari Bradley will stop leering at men; Turbo Gentry will stop refusing to pick up the phone when his mother calls; Drew Gentemen will quit lying during confession; Little T Henriksen will swear off Motley Crue for good; Bill Harper will stop calling Ricky Fuqua “a prick”; Rory Mellinger will stop slipping out of the bathroom window at Waffle Houses leaving the check on the table; Mike Buechel will start paying child support to all six women of his nine children; Nick Reistad will quit saying, “Why buy the cow, if…”; Jackie Soladay will stop lusting after Carney; Len Slote will stop picking his nose, and his arse; Farmer G will stop saying, “Morocco is whipped”; and Crowe will refrain from making scabrous remarks about his friends. We could go on. There were too many good deeds to count.
On arriving at the terminus of the day’s peregrinations, Sunshine Cycles, the Zealots were stoked. High fives and back slaps were the order of the day. The Zealots had just completed 71 miles in 3 hours and 45 minutes. Carney stepped to the microphone and led the grupetto in final singsong verse:
There’s a dark and a troubled side of life,
But there’s a bright and a sunny side too.
Though you meet with the darkness and strife
The sunny side you also may view.
Keep on the sunny side,
Always on the sunny side
Keep on the sunny side of life.
It will help us everyday,
It will brighten all the way
If we’ll keep on the sunny side of life.
Epilogue: When I finished this week’s ride report, I whispered to myself, These are my Zealots of whom I am proud. I walked over to the window and threw the curtains back. The sky was purple. Suddenly, the clouds rent open and a jagged thunderbolt streaked out of the sky. It hit the big oak right outside my window and split it open like an overripe watermelon. The flash was followed by a boom and crash that could have heralded Armageddon. I hope no one’s mad, I thought. I meant no harm.
I printed my story and tiptoed upstairs to see my beloved. She had been making me sleep downstairs in the basement, but perhaps enough water had passed under the bridge. I rapped at the door and whispered, “The dedication this week is for you.” She threw open the door, and with one hand on her hip said, “No pumpkin pie for you!” She slammed the door in my face. I heard the lock click closed.
However, I am a prescient judge of the human heart—I had anticipated my wife’s obdurate heart, so I had already stashed another bottle of nectar downstairs. I went back down to my four friends, uncorked the bottle, put in a c.d., and we all curled up under our only blanket with our bottle of cure all. We all joined in while Allison Krauss sang us sweetly to sleep:
Kiss me mother, kiss your darling.
See the pain upon my brow.
While I’ll soon be with the angels,
Fate has doomed my future now.
Kiss me mother, kiss your darling,
Lay my head upon your breast.
Throw your loving arms around me.
I am weary, let me rest.
The Humble Chronicler®