User:Aleister in Chains/Jed Clampett's wallet
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Come and listen to a story, an economic story about a kind and principled man, and the land from which he arose. It's a story about how the selfish and unskilled rich try to manipulate, compel, and simplfy the world. It's 'bout a man named Jed, a poor mountainer from the American Ozarks.
Jed Clampett had a family, loved his family, and provided sustanence for them and their critters. Yet truth be told he barely kept his family fed, being too proud to go on vittle stamps. Then one day he was meandering peacefully here and there on his healthy Missouri soil just shootin' at some food, hunting the creatures of the woodland to put them out of their misery, when he saw movement ahead. A rabbit! Hot diggity dog! Jed aimed and fired, but this here hare was fast, and Jed missed. "A little off to the dang right", he cursed his luck, but providence had actually blessed his luck - which is called in oriental teachings "The luck of the fast rabbit." Jed stared at the spot where the bullet had gone, seeing if a stick or a blowing leaf had knocked his aim off, and suddenly, he recalled later to 60 Minutes reporter Mike Wallace, up through the ground came a bubblin' crude.
People often wonder what the first thing Jed did when he saw the oil. Well, Jed Clampett took out his wallet.
That's what Jed did the moment he'd discovered black gold. Texas tea. Because he knew what oil was, and what the Rockefeller's and their bunch had done with a sea of it. He instantly realized that in a short spell the people over yonder in town and in the offices of the Houston, New York, Bahrain, and Saudi oil cartels would be telling each other "Well, the first thing you know, ol' Jed's a millionaire!". It was right then and there that Jed whispered to himself "Snake-tie me down and seven coontails-tie me up" and reached deep into the side pocket of his decades-old jeans to take out his wallet.
He wanted to look at what he, a poor mountainer, did not have.
Upon opening his wallet, Jed realized that neither he nor his family had been graced with the dignity of wealth. That unabashed freedom to explore and play, to have fit vittels on the table every day, to fly over to Paris for lunch and down to Moracco for a bite of dinner and a moonlit dance on the beach. They did not have the kind of money that adds up into a springboard for the giddy-up-and-go attitude which resides in the hearts of the best of the wealthy. Yet he was starting to realize what this kind of wealth could mean to an honest man.
Jed sat down on a log, took out his whittlin' knife, started in a whittlin', and watched the oil ooze from his land. This land had been in the Clampett family since the last injun was chased screaming like a banshee into Oklahoma. Already sure that he'd be one of the best of his new class, Jed realized that he and his family had grown up in the mountains and had spent a lifetime living with the cleanest rivers and plushist forests and most amazing critters that civilized land (a.k.a. undisturbed by humans, still has trees that nobody cleans under) had to offer. Jed and his kinfolk had never thought much about it. They just accepted the fact that the creek flowing a hundred steps from their front door had as much clean water to swim in as anyone would ever need. Jed had always instinctively known that the sun and the wind and clear air was his families' birthright. Jed Clampett, his kin, and all his friends had grown up in that kind of rich. That other kind of rich, and boy, were they loaded.
Jed realized that he now had the best of both worlds. He started walking back home to tell his kinfolk about his luck, and to get on the horn over to the oil barons. He causually slipped his wallet back into the pocket of his old jeans.
Jed Clampett's wallet is a 1942 swamp possum leather faux Tiffiny model, with containers for cash coin, viddles, leaves, scrapings, stone-age tools, and pockets for lots of other pockets. Its loading capacity is far-superior to other models of that era or this, and whenever Jed pulls it out both men and women oooh and ahhh something awful.
The wallet, brown with age spots and rubbed where bird droppings soaked in, also is covered with spit smears from the chewin' tobacco. Parts of Jed Clampett's wallet were actually made about 120 years earlier by an American Indian who was one of Jed's great grandparents. That's why the wallet contains a secret compartment that only he can open, and he can open it in a New York minute.
Within this hallowed Native American hollow space, Jed keeps his secret bird whistle, a bone from a hillbilly saint, pictures of two french hens, and the thing that his grandfather - the King of the Hillbillies in his neck of the rural hills - left him on his deathcouch: the historic Clampett family recipe for some mighty fine viddles.
And now that secret pouch was getting ready to hold the deed to one of the richest oil fields in the world.
"...Jed, move away from there!" And as Jed, sitting on his frontporch after just telling kinfolk about his discovery, slowly lifted his hat and scratched his head, he really really got it. By hearing the words of his kin, Jed started to visualize what the money could do. What it could do for his clueless moutain girl daughter, for his illiterate cousin's illiterate son, and for his dead wife's mother who keeps hanging around.
The kinfolk kept gibbering, like they usually did with moonshine in 'em, when Gem, his dead wife's semi-biological niece, said "Californy is the place you ought to be," Jed was thunderstruck.
"Whooooooo doggies, Californy!!!" Jed exclaimed, suddenly feeling at peace and at action at the same time. Since he'd grown up with nature, Jed knew that this zen-like feeling was a chemical reaction produced by connecting fun with consciousness levels. He felt a little like he did when he had coffee and 'shine surging through his veins while the widow woman from over the hill jabbed at his pecker. Jed made up his mind. He'd do it!
So they loaded up the truck with the prizes of a poor life well spent. An old chair. Dogs, raccoons, and lots of other odds and ends. A couple of generational-stained heirloom mattresses were thrown on and tied down. Assorted rocks, animal skulls, whittlings, empty bottles, ephemeral, and rags were loaded up. Much of what was on the truck was of sentimental value. Most of it was falling apart.
And they moved to Beverly...,
...Hills, that is. Beverly Hills has stores where you can spend what is a life savings for most people just by buying a scarf and having a pedicure. The Hills, as locals call it, is filled with residents whose idea of a good time includes cocktails, cocaine, and a guided tour of the newest starlet. It's where every home has a history of movie stars overdosing, modern art hanging on the walls that are worth more than the walls themselves, designer fountains filled with designer water, and His and Hers swimmin' pools. And if you don't have the right maids and butlers, those who will put your socks on after cleaning them with their teeth, you might as well just hang it up and move back to Omaha.
Well, when Jed got to The Hills he noticed that what separates the Beverly Hills men from the Beverly Hills boys is a really good swimming pool, pools which did their best to imitate rivers or ponds. So Jed took off his hat, scratched his head, and using the common sense inherited from generations of "real hill" dwellers, figured he might as well spend a few million dollars to move a mountain stream onto his property. Which he did.
Beverly Hills was a different but very similar world to Jed. Yes, it had movie stars, Jed had to admit, which excited and stimulated him something awful. "C'mon, don't skunk me," Jed said, "This place has picture lightshow ghosts walking the aisles of the local general store?" Jed started to wonder which movie starts would come over to screw Elly and which ones would visit just to swim in his cement pond and mountain stream. Lots of them, he reckoned.
You see, Jed had opened his wallet and bought a massive home with so many acres of land that he thought he was back in the hollow. Then Jed plunked down a barrel of cash to pay for more than half a dozen moving-picture cameras to be permanently mounted around his house and grounds, hired an entire on-site studio and production staff to process the footage, and he even put some extra cameramen on the payroll to travel with him as he visited sites like the bank.
Jed wanted to document his new life, something, it seems, he "always wanted to do". And since the house had a wide driveway and a Kennedy-sized hallway, permanent cameras and elaborate lighting systems were mounted and maintained at those sites. There was also a permanent camera mounted in the kitchen, where Granny had staked a claim, one down by the cement pond to record Ellie May frolicing with her critters, and one in the dining room where the family ate off a fancy green felt table complete with pocket holders for their drinks.
The TV series
One morning Jed woke up with an idea, called a meeting, and asked his people to gather all the video and audio tapes and cut them together to form coherent stories. Eventually the idea snowballed, and a television series began airing under the name The Beverly Hillbillies, Jed's clever way to keep a promise he'd made to Beverly, a waitress in Tarzana.
Almost nothing in the show's storyline was as it seemed. A scene may have actually occurred two months after the scene preceding it, with the dialogue and action cut to fit the narritive. Money was no object, so stories were made up and pieced-together by some of the best writers and film editors in the business. For example, cameras had been mounted in Mr. Drysdales reception room where Jane Hathaway, a homely spinster whom Drysdale thought of as his right-hand man - although she ran the bank without him knowing it - plotted to win Jethro's heart. Hathaway had fallen totally in love with Jethro, something he's never had a clue about. But with good editing it made for some terrific comedy. Parts of a sentence Hathaway uttered on Thursday about a boiled egg and why it took so long to cook would fit dog-eared into something Jethro said on Sunday about seeing a blind man climb a palm tree. Then you add the laugh track, put in shots from the roaming cameras (some of the first hand-held in the business), and you've got yourself a show.
America loved it for years. But they didn't know about the outtakes.
The Beverly Hillbillies, outtakes
The network sent in a censor to help edit the show, and she had to watch over the final product like a hawk. Because she and the network assumed that these Clampett's were nuts. But the reality of the situation was that whatever world they were living in in their heads was proper for experiencing and shaping the happy life of living in the back woods of the Ozarks, and nothing changed when, by the hilarious virture of money falling into their laps via luck of the fast rabbit, they fit their Ozark mentality into a Beverly Hills lifestyle so perfectly that they never said anything they couldn't have said to a neighbor in the next glen over.
a bank account so big that it once actually choked one of his mules (Ellie Mae performed the Heimmich on the critter, and he was fine).
If the wallet could talk...
...oh, the stories it would tell.
There was this one time in the hollow that Jed took out his wallet and threw it at a mangy dog. It turned out to be Granny! "Granny," Jed called out with that exasperated look on his face that viewers love, "What are you doing down there?" "Leave me alone Jed, I'm masturbating." After watching for awhile Jed exclaimed "Whooooo doggies!", then picked up his shotgun and wallet and wandered off.
The wallet remembers the morning that Jane Hathaway, Mr. Drysdale's tireless but homely right-hand man, showed up to stuff another billion dollars into it. Hathaway cursed and pushed and sweated until she finally shoved all the bills into its pockets, and by the time the cash was tucked away the wallet was fifty pounds heavier and looked like a beached whale. Good times!
When the wallet ran for Governor, it recalled to a political historian from University, it campaigned on a platfom of two chickens crawling around every pot and three stills per acre. By the time Jed learned that wallet was running, wallet remembers, it had already promised lowlifes and high-rollers alike cushy jobs, carnal pleasures, and kickbacks, mostly in the form of vittles. The wallet lost by and to a backhill-country landslide, with just shy of no votes, and, trailing a mule who lives up the road in the final tally for non-human candidates, Jed Clampett's wallet came in last.
That's what the wallet would say if it could talk, and it would be lying. Truth is, Jed Clampett's wallet seldom had a life outside of Jed's pocket except when Granny rifled though it for a condem.
Jetro Bodine once found the wallet on the dirt floor of Uncle Jed's house in the faux hollow, and smiled like a fool-hyena, clapped his hands, jumped up and down up and down up and down like the illiterate hillbilly he was. And then he was interrupted when a studio gofer called him in to film his scene.
Elly May once fed Jed's wallet to a critter, with hilarious results. And Mr. Drysdale once found the wallet in a seat cushion, opened it, and fainted dead away until he came to, looked into it again, and fainted dead away again. He ever talked about it.
The wallet, of course, who was witness to kinfolk saying "move away from there", later helped Jed shape the invitation to come back next week to this locality when he spotted a coupon for fine chicken tucked within it. The wallet had nothing whatsoever to do with the promise of what they would receive when they did come back to that locality: a heapin' helpin' of their hospitality.
"Whoooo doggies, cash money!"
It does wonders for my ego and super-ego, both of which I keep fighting each other like scorpions in a jar.
I washed all my hands (I keep some in the drawer, others hung up outside to scare off the neighbors, like a windchime only with fingers)
..and while Jed Clampett's mariage had a giant seashell of a pseudo-religious holiday reigning enjoyably over it...
I feel lower than a possum with its head between its legs puking on a tinier possum, its own mother.
Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Jed. The poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed. Then one day he was shootin' at some food, and up through the ground came a bubblin' crude...
Oil that is...black gold...Texas tea.
Well the first thing you know ol' Jed's a millionaire. Kinfolk said, "Jed move away from there!" Said "Californy is the place you ought to be." So they loaded up the truck and they moved to Beverly...
Hills, that is. Swimmin pools...movie stars.
Well now it's time to say good by to firstname.lastname@example.org Jed and all his kin. And they would like to thank you folks fer kindly droppin' in. You're all invited back next week to this locality - To have a heapin' helpin' of their hospitality.
Hillbilly that is. Sit a spell...Take your shoes off...
Y'all come back now, y'hear?