The country life “ain’t” what it used to be…
Today, two things happened in the tiny little Northeast Texas town where I live that I would have told you wasn’t possible. For those of you who know me, you already know that I live in some strange, never-ending episode of the Twilight zone, but today was just a little more bizarre than usual.
For those of you who don’t know me, I lovingly refer to the town in which I work as the Ghetto of Mayberry. (If you’re under 25, ask your parents what that is, or try to catch an episode of the “Andy Griffith Show” on TVLand.) My very first day at the school where I teach, I looked out the window next to my desk while I was completing my lesson plans (keep in mind, every other teacher at that school had left hours before), and I see a young African American male, a student who had already shown himself to be a potential problem, riding what appeared to be his little sister’s bike while holding a rope in one hand. At the other end of the rope, was a horse.
Two other young African American students were rough-housing in the parking lot (I had already stepped out to tell them to cut it out, at which point I was informed they were cousins, and that was how they played), and they stopped when he came up. The older of the two pulled his sagging pants up, turned his baseball cap backwards, and hopped onto this horse. Bareback. Around the boy’s neck was a large, blingy necklace, the kind you see on rappers from the 90’s, and if he hadn’t been on a horse, he would have looked like the stereotypical “thug”. But here he was, on the back of a horse, bareback, and then he went galloping down the road!
It was then that I realized I was no longer, as Dorothy would say, “in Kansas anymore.”
Nearly four years later, I would have told you that nothing could shock me anymore. In a world where people are mugged at stop signs, and the government is searching for terrorists in countries on the other side of the world, I live in a small town where I can leave my door unlocked at night (not that I do terribly often, but I could, mind you), and hip-hop loving boys in sagging britches ride bareback down Main St.
Today, my doors and windows are locked, and my faith in the innocence of children is a bit shaken.
Earlier today, one of my students, a favorite of mine (if I can be permitted to admit having a favorite), who happens to be rather well endowed and pretty, informed me that she got her nipples pierced, and then, without blinking an eye, asked me if I wanted to feel them…
My mouth dropped. I’m not sure what shocked me more: the fact that her mother TOOK her to get them pierced, or the fact that she thought I would want to FEEL her freshly pierced nipples.
Of course, once that cat was out of the bag, other students in the same class began telling me all about their exploits over Spring Break. One got a tattoo. Another got her sternum pierced, and was thinking about an Isabella (I had to Google that one… and it’s NOT polite for mixed company). This was not my little mock Mayberry, ghetto or not.
What’s happened to the youth today that they’ve begun mutilating their body before 18? Don’t misunderstand me: I’m fairly liberal and see nothing wrong with self expression through body “art”, but my mother told me that if IEVER got a tattoo, she would sand it off of my body. I’m about to be in my 30’s, and still have only my ears pierced. One hole in each, and not gauged. And, not a single tattoo. My ex told me once that this made me awfully vanilla.
Now, that alone isn’t enough to completely scare me into locking my doors. After all, rebellious teenagers aren’t anything new, and tattoos/piercings, while strange at such an age, are not a sign of danger.
During my nap (I’m still trying to recuperate from Spring Break), my dog went absolutely bananas! I went to let him out, assuming he needed to go (and when a dog needs to go, it’s best to let him do his thing). He wouldn’t leave his cage, but he was barking furiously! About that moment, I heard a very loud boom. It sounded a bit like gunfire, but infinitely louder. I assumed some of my neighbors were out trying to shoot coyotes, or wild hogs, or any other of a number of large, crop eating animals (I am very deep in the country).
It wasn’t until a few hours later that I found out that the local cops, and state police, had been called because someone was running around with a stock pile of weapons. Furthermore, the bomb squad had been called and the loud boom I heard earlier was them disarming a bomb they had found in his vehicle.
Definitely not in Kansas anymore…
I do believe that it is time to find a new place to call home. I think that the people here have been taken over by the 2012 fever and are preparing for the end of the world. If left to their own devices, some of them may very well be the cause. This is not the first incident of stock-piled weapons I’ve heard of in this area.
Only in Texas…