Thursday, January 8, 2009


Billy Ray Barnwell here, okay before I get started for real I just want to say that I don’t have anything against short sentences or dividing things up into paragraphs or using past participles or semicolons or periods or having pronouns agree with their whatchamacallits, antecedents, I just think A all that stuff gets in the way a lot of the time and B you ought to write the way you talk, don’t you usually just open your mouth and let ‘er rip? well why should the printed word be any different, anyone in their right mind can still understand what you’re saying, except of course for the Triplett twins, Myrna and Verna from over in Smyrna, they haven’t been in their right mind or really understood much of anything since their big brother Horace Earl Triplett ran naked through the produce section down to the Super Wal-Mart in May of two thousand and four, he must have wanted to display the family jewels real bad, it really put them over the edge and they haven’t been seen in public now for nearly three years, the twins I mean, not Horace Earl’s family jewels, because to be more accurate I should have said first ran naked, everybody in town now knows he is their big brother if you get my drift. I kind of like saying “the Triplett twins” and “Myrna and Verna from over in Smyrna,” it makes me chuckle just thinking about it, have you ever noticed how some names are funny to write but not to say, like Garrison Keillor, and others are funny both to write and to say, like that childhood friend of Woody Allen’s, whatzizname, Guy de Maupassant Rabinowitz who Woody called Geeda for short, and some names just aren’t funny at all, like Dennis Miller. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Dennis Miller the man isn’t funny, just Dennis Miller the name, I guess it’s like with Horace Earl Triplett, it’s all in how you look at it.

That reminds me, a pet peeve of mine is when people say drug instead of dragged, snuck instead of sneaked, and hung when it should be hanged, for example someone might ask whatever happened to a certain outlaw in the Old West and another person says, “He was hung,” well excuse me, curtains can be hung and stockings are hung by the chimney with care, but “He was hung” means something entirely different altogether, as all the ladies who gather in the produce section down to the Super Wal-Mart hoping to get a glimpse of Horace Earl Triplett can tell you. Udella Mabry’s cousin Iva Parnell says Horace makes that actor in that Boogie Nights movie look positively prepubescent, I really wouldn’t know since A I never saw that movie and B I make it a point to stay at the QuikTrip and eat Krispy Kreme doughnuts on days when Horace is running, I don’t need to see what Horace has, I got my own. Daddy always said half the world has what the other half is looking for, and I think this is true no matter which half you happen to be in, I showed this chapter to Udella like I always do and she said something about a fish and a bicycle, I didn’t get what she was driving at, but then she said Billy Ray you’re all the man I want, well she is a sweetie but I have never even asked her out for coffee as she is always in the company of that Juanita Chastain anyways, why they’re practically joined at the hip, I mean it’s something else the way they are always together.

I think I am going to leave autobiography to the fiction writers and fiction to the autobiographers and write me some essays, after all it worked for E. B. White, I can hear some of you going “who?” well he was the guy who wrote that book Charlotte’s Web, okay that wasn’t an essay but he did write some good ones, essays I mean, and I am now going to let you in on a little secret, some of the names in this book are real and some are not and some of the real ones are used in a fictitious way and some of the invented ones convey the God’s honest truth, for example there is a Grapevine Texas but I didn’t go to school there, and this is Billy Ray Barnwell signing off.

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