A librarian in the Nashville Room would be hard-pressed to pass up the chance to make sweet love to Famous Nashvillians of History, even if they all were secretly the Devil and she were being hunted by a werewolf, right?
So, this morning I had a lovely chat with the guy who wrote a couple of stories about the werewolf that supposedly lives out at, aptly named, Werewolf Spring, in Montgomery Bell State Park. It appears that this is a campfire story told by a lot of Boy Scout leaders and then passed along by teenagers eager to have a reason their dates should cuddle up next to them in the dark out in the creepy woods.
The way the story is mostly told now is that there was a circus train derailment right after the Civil War and the Werewolf of Borneo escaped into the surrounding woods. Dude was able to debunk this because the suspect train tracks weren’t there then (too young). I was like “And there aren’t wolves in Borneo, so how could there be werewolves,” but he had a good explanation, because one of his readers sent him a letter telling him that people in the area used to use “x of Borneo” to just mean any “exotic” non-white cultural thingy. Or presumably non-white. Anything people wanted to other, they made an “x of Borneo.” In other words, had Lovecraft lived in Dickson County, every story of his would be about how the something of Borneo ruined it for everyone with their Elder Gods worship.
Then we talked a little about whether some folklorist should get out there right now and study this moment (I say “yes!”) because it appears that the Werewolf kind of occupies the same mythic ecological niche as the White Screamer of White Bluff (and in fact, the werewolf is sometimes described as having light hair) and as the White Screamer stories become less prevalent, the werewolf stories are becoming more so.
But most interesting is that he said he found some tentative evidence that the werewolf legends went back as far as Montgomery Bell and were somewhat associated with him. He didn’t know if people thought Bell was a werewolf or if he might have mistreated someone he owned who came back to haunt the land as a werewolf or what.
But that’s really, really cool.
Anyway, it made me happy until Josh Ritter ruined it. Ha, ha, ha. Lord, this day.
But today it hit me right in the heart and I cried into my lunch.
Oh, y’all, yesterday I got some lovely financial news. Not completely unexpected, but sooner than expected. And I was so happy yesterday evening and proud of myself because I immediately acted on this financial news not by spending what came in–not even a little, not even as a treat to myself, but by funneling some toward debt and some toward savings. As one does when one is a grown-up.
And I spent the evening being all woo-hoo. I am getting my affairs in order. Finally.
And then I had nightmares all night that I had fucked something up or that I had to pay cash for some huge operation or that basically everything was a lie and all the numbers were just made up and just when it looks like I’m going to be on okay financial footing–in a position to actually put a little away and get some of the big projects around here done–it’s all going to slip from my grasp.
I woke up feeling kind of like shit about it.
It’s funny because this whole ceiling thing taught me so much about goodness and how small acts by folks can have an enormous impact on a person. It was wonderful. And nothing shitty happened, you know? No one was like “Oh, wait, I just noticed what a jerk you are. I want my money back.” and no one has shown up with a saw to cut out their portion of the ceiling in either room. People can plan a nice thing, have it work out, and nothing bad has to come of it.
If I didn’t quite believe that before, I believe it now.
And yet, I have to tell you, I can’t quite believe that’s true of myself toward myself. I have been doing a series of tiny things, very tiny because I had so little money not tied up in bullshit, to get myself untied from bullshit or, if not untied, then to put myself in a position to untie myself at a later date.
And here it is, one of those later dates, where the tiny thing I started to do seven years ago has just become a pretty big thing I can do to fix a situation that’s been vexing me since my twenties. But I can’t trust that it will come to pass. I can’t believe that a plan I put in motion might work and not backfire on me in some painful way.
To me, this is the way growing up poor most shaped me–that I know in my core that all my hopes and plans are fucked. Even if it doesn’t appear so, something will come along and fuck them.
The thing is that I feel like I am so very close, just a few years, away from having a small safety net against this kind of fuckery.
And I am so afraid something is going to screw it up.
This isn’t something that’s easy to explain–that kind of terror. And how it motivates you to act in all kinds of fucked up ways.
But whenever I hear someone talking about poor people, about why don’t they just…? And I think, man, how nice it must be to feel certain that there’s some “just” you could do that would obviously improve your life.
That’s just not a certainty a lot of folks have. For most of us, no matter what you do, something comes along to fuck it up.
So, anyway, if you see me and you notice all the fingers on all my hands are crossed, it is because I just so want to stay lucky, just for a bit more.