John Henry, Revisited

I forgot to tell you that I had the weirdest thing happen to me yesterday. I was standing around talking to Scott Reynolds Nelson about his book about John Henry, who, as we all know, has been passing the time haunting this blog when I met a man even more surly and unfriendly than Sarcastro.

No, I shit you not.

There exists a man even more grouchy Sarcastro and that man is Garrison Keillor.

Which just goes to prove that witty surliness may be a midwestern trait…

Speaking of brilliant but incredibly grouchy men, I keep in my room my grandpa’s gold tooth. It was among my grandma’s things when she died and something about that just hits me right in the heart. So, I keep it for both of them.


8 thoughts on “John Henry, Revisited

  1. Scott’s another person that we have in common. My husband is a labor historian who writes about 19th century railroads; we know Scott through the labor history organization and because the guys work in similar areas. I bet I would have eventually met you even without the blog. The overlap in our circle of acquaintances is surprisingly large.

  2. And would you say that he’s a.) less smart, as smart, or smarter than youand b.) less grouchy, as grouchy, or grouchier than you?

  3. He is taller than me. That is undisputed.He was very pleasant to me. For reasons I will explain later.He is successful for telling mildly boring yet amusing stories. That makes him smarter in certain respects. Parlaying that somnolent voice into a lucrative career is an achievment that must be considered smart.Yet, he was willing to pay me an extravagant amount of money for some growlers of Big River beer for his crew. As he lacked the foresight to have after-show beers in a cooler, that deducts a couple of IQ points. Prior planning prevents getting gouged by grouchy growler peddlers.No doubt he was nice because I had something that he wanted. Mainly, beer to go. Plus I gave him some free chips and salsa, as the kitchen was closed.However, Roy Blount, Jr. was not only tall, but witty, gregarious and smart.

  4. Aunt B.,I guess I’m going to have to respectfully request a post about your encounter with Garrison Keillor. I have never met him in person, although we have occupied the same room on occassion. You know how folks sometimes say "I can really judge people?" Well, at this point of my life it is pretty much indisputable that my original impression of a person will be as wrong as possible. As you can imagine, this makes my life difficult. The people I meet and think are really cool are the ones that will inevitably turn out to be real turds, while the ones that I initially esteem to be real turds are destined to prove themselves good and faithful people. So I think that, if stranded on a desert island, Garrison might be one of the ten people that I would like to have with me. This means, of course, that he is really one of the ten people that I would LEAST like to have with me – if you can sort through the totally demoralizing dichotomy. Please tell me why I am wrong to have assigned him to the former, and why he really belongs on the latter. Because if you don’t, it will bother me FOREVER.

  5. I just found him to be grouchy and needlessly snotty. However, I will in his defense say that he leads a very weird life and it must get trying at times to just want to buy a book and have everyone trying to give you free stuff and refusing to take your money.I doubt that on a desert island that would be much of an issue.

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