"He was a man of double vision."

I have this poster in my office from Yee-Haw Industries called “Secret Theory #29.” It’s about Hank Williams, this secret theory. It goes like this:

Ole Hank was a drinking man. I heard stories that he had a hollow leg. They say that his woman cheated on him. I think that if Hank was around today he would play jazz and he would probably kick Jr. in the ass. He was a man of double vision. He saw the light brother amen

It may work better visually than it does here, but you have to acknowledge that it’s pretty cool, even without the art.

Here’s why I like it. It starts out with this plain statement of fact–“Ole Hank was a drinking man.” Then it goes into hearsay–the hollow leg, the unfaithful woman. Then it moves into speculation about what Williams would be up to if he were still alive. Cool, but not anything worth pondering on a cold day.

But then we move into artsy-ness. “He was a man of double vision.” Yes, a man who drinks that much is seeing double. But also it calls to mind the “two-headed women” who can see both the natural world and the spirit world. It’s this very nice moment in which the sentence holds both meanings equally and there’s a kind of nice irresolvable tension between the two meanings. Is he a drunk or is he a prophet?

The next sentence is no help “He saw the light.” Yes, there was some kind of revelation, but you can’t know what it was.

I just love that, the way the piece so neatly unfolds into a philosophical maze. It gives me something to think about when I’d rather not be working.

That, my friends, is some great writing.

12 thoughts on “"He was a man of double vision."

  1. Ooops, nevermind, the text wasn’t showing up at first. Funny, I used to work with a guy who was one of Hank’s backup musicians, off and on. There were a bunch of those “Drifing Cowboys”, they were called.

  2. Yeah, someone (I won’t mention who) hit “enter” when she wanted to hit “tab” thus causing just the title to publish.


  3. This morning, the woman next to me was singing “500 Miles” by the Proclaimers at the top of her lungs. I joined in at the appropriate places.

    So, I don’t think my sitting around pondering Hank Williams is really distracting anyone.

  4. And like my mother used to say, “If you can’t say something insightful, don’t say anything at all.”


  5. Now J, our hostess is allowed to gently rebuke me. It’s just rude if you do it since you’re a guest here too. :p

    Lack of insight rarely keeps me from commenting. It’s a personality flaw I rather enjoy.


  6. our hostess is allowed to gently rebuke me

    Oh really? Any time or only when I’m wearing the good bra?

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