Damn It, Tater Red

Once upon a time, the SuperGenius and I went to Memphis and got drunk and I accosted Tater Red about… something… I just remember being so sure I was right, but I cannot for the life of me remember what I was attempting to impart to this complete stranger. Or why. This, kids, is why getting drunk in Memphis is not wise. And it’s Memphis. If you want to sleep in the back of a leaky VW bus on Beale Street sober, you totally can.

Well, you can’t anymore. But you used to be able to.

This was not the VW trip, though, obviously. That was a million years ago.

This was more recently, within the past decade. And yet, who knows why I was so angry at Tater Red? Was I angry? Or just passionate? I just don’t know.

I’m hoping the Super Genius can remind me. I would have thought I wrote about it here, but I guess not.

But yesterday, Beth, knowing my love of Robert Johnson, sent me a link to this story. And there, in the second video, was Tater Red! Clearly, I should not have been drunkenly accosting Tater Red, but drunkenly celebrating our mutual love of Robert Johnson.

And here’s the weird thing. When I typed “Tater Red” into the search engine up there on the right, to see if I had mentioned him at all here, ever, this post came up. No mention of Tater Red in it, but there’s old Bob.

And can you believe I ever wrote anything so beautiful as

But then we came over the hill and there was my favorite stretch of road, fully puddled. And as we walked through the shallow water, the trees seemed to stretch down beneath us towards another sky in another world mirrored below us. For a moment, it felt like all that was keeping us from falling into that vast sky below was that we were standing on the feet of two folks on a walk in that world, who, when I looked down at them, were looking back at me just as curious.


Shoot, I should have just retired right after that. Mrs. Wigglebottom still annoys me sometimes, but I feel worse about it now, like I’m wasting our brief time wanting her to be different than she is. The truth is that she’s already over there more often than not. She sleeps so hard and she stands in the living room, distracted by something internal–a memory, maybe, a voice from some other place calling her–when I want her to go outside. I don’t think she’s in any pain or anything, though she eats a lot less than she used to. But she’s obviously practicing so she’s ready when Death finally calls her name.

I hope I did okay by her. If there’s someone who keeps track of how girls treat their dogs, I hope she reports that her experience was mostly pleasant. And I hope she just goes in her sleep. And goes someplace where, when she dreams, it’s of our time together.

Anyway, I made up this joke this morning and shared it on Facebook and then laughed and laughed. It goes like this:

A guy is getting ready to murder a Methodist, and, obviously, the Methodist is really upset. “Wait, wait,” he says, “Can I just sing one hymn before you kill me?”

The murderer thinks about it. I mean, he’s a murderer, but he’s not a bad guy. “Yeah, I guess.”

“The whole hymn? Start to finish?” The Methodist asks.

“Sure,” the murderer says.

The Methodist takes a deep breath and starts, “O, for a thousand tongues to sing…”

That’s a Charles Wesley joke. I’d bet there’s not a comedian alive making those. It’s special, folks. Ha ha ha.

One thought on “Damn It, Tater Red

  1. I have very vague memories of that evening but I believe that we went into the store to look at some of the merchandise the web page lists as mojo items and you may have been trying to have a spirited yet academic debate with him about some of the labeling? Or it might have been something about some tourist experience that you thought was essential for me to experience on the trip because I was from Illinois and you passionately wanted him to back you up?

    We told a lot of people that I was from the Chicago suburbs that night and that you had grown up in Illinois and somehow this led to people in a bar called Black Diamond (which appears to have been an actual place and not my imagination picking a name like I thought) buying us lots of drinks. Since everyone wants to buy tourists from Illinois drinks. I’ll have to try that in Wisconsin sometime. :)

    But look at this:


    Tater Red is everywhere today!

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