User:Aleister in Chains/Jed Clampett's wallet
Come and listen to a story, an economic story about a kind and principled man, and the land in which he rose from. It's a story about how the random, selfish, and unskilled rich can manipulate, compel, and simplfy an entire nation. It's 'bout a man named Jed, a poor mountainer, a proud man from the Ozarks who has a family, loves his family, and provides for them and their critters. But truth be told, he barely kept his family fed. Then one day he was shootin' at some food - just wandering here and there on his healthy Missouri soil, hunting the creatures of the woodland to put them out of their misery - when he saw movement ahead. He aimed, and shot at a miserable rabbit. But this rabbit was fast, too fast. So Jed missed. "A little off to the doggity dang right", he thought to himself, cursing his luck. And suddenly, up through the ground came a bubblin' crude. Jed Clampett took out his wallet.
That's what Jed did the instant he'd discovered black gold. Texas tea. Because, well, the first thing you know and Jed knew was that ol' Jed's a millionaire. Then, before you could say "snake-tie me down and seven coontails-tie me up" Jed reached deep into the side pocket of his decades old best jeans, and took out his wallet. He wanted to look at what he, a poor mountainer, did not have.
Jed realized that neither he or 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 off 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 rounds up into the giddy-up-and-go attitude which resides in the hearts of the best of the wealthy.
So Jed watched the oil ooze from his land, land that 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. He 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. natural, undisturbed by human hands, still has trees that nobody cleans under) had to offer. Jed and his kinfolk had never thought much about it, but just a few steps away they had as much clean water to swim in as anyone would ever need, and instinctively knew that the sun and the wind and clear air was their birthright. They grew up in that kind of rich, that other kind of rich, and boy, were they loaded.
Jed knew that he now had the best of both worlds. He started walking back home to tell his kinfolk and to get on the horn over to the oil barons. He causually slipped his wallet back into his pocket.
Jed Clampett's wallet is a 1942 swamp possum leather faux Tiffiny model, with containers for money, viddles, pills, leaves, scrapings, more viddles, stone-age tools, and pockets for lots of other pockets. Its loading capacity is superior to other models of the era, and whenever Jed pulls it out both men and women oooh and ahhh something awful.
The wallet, brown with age spots and bird droppings, and covered with smears where spit and whittle had intruded, parts of Jed Clampett's wallet were actually made about 120 years earlier, as the Crow flies. It was made by an Indian who was one of Jed's great grandparents. That's why the wallet contains a secret compartment that he can open in a New York minute.
Within this hallowed Native American hollow space Jed keeps his secret bird dog whistle, a bone from a hillbilly saint, and the thing that his grandfather - the King of the Hillbillies in his rural county - left him on his deathcouch: the historic Clampett family recipe for some "Whoooo doggies"-level 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 slowly lifted his hat and scratched his head, really really getting it by listening to those words for the first and only time in his life. He visualized what his money 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 some moonshine in 'em, and one said "Californy is the place you ought to be," and Jed was thunderstruck. "Whooooooo doggies, Californy!!!" Jed felt at peace and at action at the same time, a deeply zen feeling which is just a chemical reaction connecting some of the fun consciousness levels, 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.
So they loaded up the truck with the prizes of a poor life well spent. An old chair. Dogs and raccoons, and lots of other critters. A couple of heirloom mattresses. Assorted rocks, animal skulls, whittlings, empty bottles, ephemeral, and rags. Much of it was of sentimental value. Some of it was falling apart.
And they moved to Beverly,,,
,,,Hills, that is. Beverly Hills had stores where you could spend what is a life savings for most people buying a scarf and a pedicure. It was filled with residents whose idea of a good time included cocaine and a whistle tour of Miss Jiggly 2012. It's where every home had individually marked down to the designer fountains and His and Hers swimmin' pools. When Jed got there he noticed that which really separates the men from the boys - a really good swimming pool - tried to imitate rivers or ponds. So he might as well spend a few million dollars to move a mountain stream onto his property. Which he did.
And so arriving in Beverly Hills was a different but very similar world to Jed. Yes, it had movie stars, which, he had to admit, excited and stimulated Jed something awful. "C'mon", Jed said, "You mean this place had me seein' them picture light show ghosts walking the aisles of the local grocery? Whooooooooo doggies!" Jed started to imagine which movie starts would come over to screw Elly, and which ones would visit to swim in his cement pond and his mountain stream. Lots of them, he reckoned.
You see, Jed had opened up his wallet to buy a massive home with so many acres of land that he thought he was back in the hollow. For some weird reason that he could never explain properly, Jed also plunked down lots of cash to pay for several moving-picture cameras hooked up to an entire von-site studio to process and edit the footage, all to document his new life, something, it seems, he "always wanted to do". And since the house had a huge driveway and Kennedy-sized hallway, that's where he set the cameras up. He also put one in the kitchen, where Granny had staked a claim, and one down by the cement pond to show Ellie May frolic with her critters. Jed also put one in the dining room, where the family ate off that fancy green felt table with corner-pocket holders for their drinks.
So the very first reality television show was paid for directly from the Native American magic pouch which Jed carried around on him, attached to his wallet. For to Jed it seemed that Beverly Hills had it all, and all it had was stuff that Jed had already known about and had his whole life. Give or take a few cameras and a bank account so big that it once did choke one of his mules (Ellie Mae performed the Heimmich on the mule, 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 and talks about 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.
The TV series
A television series would eventually be aired under the name The Beverly Hillbillies, which Jed thought was kind of a clever way to keep a promise to Beverly, a waitress in Tarzana, who he had promised in a moment of lucid passion that the show would be named after her breasts.
There was of course no casting. This was the real Clampett family filmed from camers which had by then been mounted on the family car, within Mr. Drysdale's office, in Mr. Drysdales reception room where Jane Hathaway, a spinster who ran the business without Drysdale even knowing it, roamed. Hathaway fell totally in love with Jethro at first sight, something Jethro never knew until this article but made for some great comedy when it was edited right (parts of one sentence uttered on Thursday spit dog-eared into a line the same person says on Sunday, and then you add the laugh track, and put in a few roaming cameras (some of the first hand-held in the business) and you got yourself a show.
America loved it for years. But they didn't know about the outtakes.
The Beverly Hillbillies, outtakes
The network sat over the censors as they helped to edit that show, and the censors sat over the final product like a hawk. Because these Clampett's were nuts. Whatever world they were living in their heads was proper for experiencing and shaping the full and happy life of living in the hollaw, and by hilarious but altogther predictable virture of their money were going to make it fit into Beverly Hills so perfectly that they never say anyone any different than a neighbor in the next glen over.
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 [email protected] 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?