Wednesday, October 15, 2003

life of buddy don, chaptur 69:
quittin carbide

ye mite not member sum of the thangs a'goin on in 1977. jimmy carter wuz presdent n one of the best thangs he dun wuz to pardon the viet nam draft evaders. by then thay wuznt too many folks who wonted to claim we wuz rite in that war n it gut to whar ye could see that mayhap resistin wuz the rite thang to do. twernt rite to treat the vets who did serve so bad, but thats sumthin else agin. the federal debt wuz up to $706.4 billyuns, unemployment wuz hi as a kite at 7.1% n the median incum wuz a lil over $13,500. twuz the year of roots n star wars n saturday nite fever n disco. n of corse, twuz the year elvis died. twuz a lucky thang my stereo n records had burnt in the fire n all i had left wuz beethoven.

twuz also the year i finely quit wurkin at union carbide. twuz a puzzle to many of my friens why i wood give up such a good job, but thang wuz, i wonted to make sumthin better out of myself. i could see folks that had spent thar lives at carbide n tho they had big houses down by the lake n late model cars n cuntry club memberships n all, it dint seem lack they had much fun. the main thang they seemed to go fer were them parties lack the ones i rote bout in chaptur 22 darlene gits on out at the plant. i couldnt see no way i wood git any closer to findin whutever twuz i wuz a'lookin fer thataway.

besides, i wonted to go to skool full time n i had purty much wurked thangs out fer that. whenever we bought the farm, i had put down the mos cash n once i had paid off my k-25 credit union loan, i dint half to make payments. my car wuz paid fer n virgil could fix mos innythang. i had a lil money squirrled away n i wuz able to borry a bit frum ut n then sumbidy give me a skolarship n twernt lack i wuz rich, but i wuz payin my bills n livin cheap.

quittin that job tuck a year of plannin n gittin myself reddy. i wuz afraid of givin up such a cushy spot n even tho i dint half to wurk all that hard, i dint feel lack i wuz larnin nuthin nor growin nor improvin. n i wuz mad that they dint wonta pay fer flossofy but aprooved payment fer deductive n inductive logick, witch they wuz flossofy classes, n woodnt pay fer western civ, witch twuz a core requirement. i gut into the collidge skolars program n figgered that mite fix thangs, but i dint wait to find out. i picked a date, september 9, 1977, witch i picked september on a counta it wuz the munth of changes fer me, n rote a letter lettin em know twood be my last day on the job.

the day finely cum n i went thru the hole ritchul. furst they tuck me aside n splained how i wuznt to mentchun nuthin bout the secret stuff i had larnt thar, witch i couldnt have named three secrets ifn i had to. then they splained how ifn i wuz to cum up with a inventchun n git a patent fer innythang having to do with uranium enrichment or creashun of barrier or innythang lack that, then twood be the property of union carbide. then they give me a 4-hour fisicull examinayshun whar i larnt that i weighed 121 lbs, witch i had cum in weighin 122 lbs. since i measure rite at six feet tall, ye kin figger i wuz a lil on the skinny side. my hearing wuz good, my vision 20-20 n my only problem seemed to be the occasional pain in my leg frum the motorsickle acksident n a lil asthma when i gut round 'triggers' n a sinus infeckshun that had lasted fer years but only flared up now n then.

once i had dun all of that, i wuz free. as it happened, i had gut a ride to wurk with susannah on a counta i had loaned my car to eli so he could go over to the vee a in knoxvull n see his shrank n git his medicine. that wuz fine by me on a counta i lacked the idea of walkin home frum thar, even tho twuz quite a ways frum oak ridge n after that i had to git to clinton. but twuz a beeyootiful day with lots of sun n i wuz both happy n sad.

as ye mite recolleck frum chaptur 35 the $15 hed shranker i had dun tride to kill myself three years before i quit carbide. the tree i marked with that event wuz on the rode to k-25, so i made a point of walkin on the left hand side of the rode till i gut to that tree. thar i sat n i reckon i mite have been a'prayin or meditatin or whutever. but as i touched the barkless scar on that tree, i could member how twuz a new start fer me n i had dun gut a bonus life n bein as how twuz jes a bonus fer free, dint matter how good twuz since twuz much better than nuthin. n i made a vow that i wood try to be a better person n try to make myself wurthy of knowin whutever truth twuz i wuz chasin after so hard.

part of that wuz all mixed up in wontin to make myself a riter of novels. i had tole folks how i wuz a riter, n i rote lots of papers n diary entries n such. n corse thay wuz them songs i rote n kep on a ritin to this day, tho they never seemed lack wurk but only jes fell out of the sky into my fangers n voice, so i dint give myself no credit fer em. n i sold the ccasional term paper or essay or even jes rote em or correckted em fer free. n i had a few pomes, but they wernt nuthin next to them ones eli wuz ritin. n thang wuz, whenever folks wood talk bout how i wuz a riter, i wood feel a lil shamed on a counta mos of my bein a riter of novels wernt nuthin but talk bout how i wonted to be a riter of novels.

so whenever i gut into the collidge skolars program n gut docter sheffield fer my tutor, i tole him my senyer projeck wood be a novel n wood have lots of thangs bout flossofy n histry n such in it, n he tole me i should jes make it as good as that paper i rote fer his western civ class name of 'the witness: a credo,' witch i rote bout thatn back in chaptur 65 a dream cum true.

i tole him i wonted it to be better on a counta i wuz tryin to make myself into a better man, n i figgered i had grate thangs to do. i figgered i wood be famus n mayhap wood be able to live offn my ritin. so he ast me why wuz i takin classes n such ifn i wuz wontin to be a riter. why dint i jes rite?

twuz a good questchun. ifn i had the money to go to skool, i shore nuff had the money to stay home n rite. as i wuz sittin by my tree thar on the rode away from carbide, that conversayshun cum back to me, n i wuz a lil ashamed. i touched that bare wound on the tree as if twood give me the courage or strangth or whutever twuz that i needed to quote jes rite unquote.

but thang wuz, i dint thank i could git myself to rite nuthin lessn thay wuz sumbidy waitin to grade it.

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