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Life, Liberty, and ……Current Events?

Clay Mercer

I used to have a problem with ‘current events’ activities when I was a kid in school, for one simple reason.  No one ever properly defined the word ‘current’ for me.  You see, I grew up on a farm, following my Daddy around.  The only current he talked about was the juice in the fuse box, the current in the contact points on the water well, and the current in the electric fence.

Nobody ever took the time to explain that ‘current’ also meant ‘happening now.’  This explains why, whenever I had to bring a current events item from the Cordele Dispatch to school, it was usually the police report that made it to school with me.

You see, burglary, aggravated assault, and rape seemed to me the most shocking things I could find in the Cordele Dispatch, so that’s what I always used.  Until the time the movie “Midnight Cowboy” played at the picture show and I used the advertisement for the movie for my current events assignment.

My parents had gone to see Midnight Cowboy, which I thought was about a cowboy that got to stay up late, and it was…in perverted sort of way… as I found out later in life.  Mama said, “It was nasty.”  That was her review of the movie and I figured if it registered as ‘nasty’ on a woman I knew for a fact could slaughter a hog, it would probably be considered shocking by my teacher.

I was wrong and I got sent to the principal’s office to explain myself.  This wasn’t much of a relief, because the ‘principal’ at the time was Mrs. Myra Jackson, who was also the teacher who had given me the current event assignment in the first place.

The good news is that Mrs. Jackson didn’t give me a whipping.  The bad news is she called my Daddy.  There ya go, friends and neighbors, if you really want to punish an eleven year old, don’t whip him, call his father.  That way he can focus on the butt-whipping he’s going to get when his father gets home and have all day to think about it.

If you think that’s bad, try explaining to my Daddy why you carried an advertisement for an X-rated movie to school.  What saved me was the fact that on the flip side of the ad was the police report where some cretin had absconded with a pair of trousers off a neighbor’s clothesline.

That almost saved me, folks.  Honestly, it did.  I made the mistake of saying that I picked that particular item from the paper because it was the shortest thing I could find in the paper outside of the classified ads.

Oh yeah, I had tried classified ads and obituaries, too.  Believe me.  When I explained to Daddy that the classified had been for a used electric fence charger for sale and the obituary had been about some guy that got struck by lightning, thankfully he saw a pattern in my thought process and explained where I had gone astray.

The problem was that Daddy, who had taught Vocational Agriculture and who had a Masters Degree in Education, didn’t consider taking the shortest possible route to finish an assignment as the best method to higher education.

So, what’s all this got to do with ‘current events?’  Take a look at the news.  It’s just one shocker after another.  Watching the television news makes me feel like a subject in a psychology experiment: the jolts just keep coming and coming.

Next week, how to change a fuse using a flashlight, a step ladder, and a Ouija Board.