Must-See Sights in Fly-Over Country, and Things We’d Rather Not See

Ah, the joy of contrasts.  I absolutely love the show that’s been on Science Channel called An Idiot AbroadFor those not familiar with it, the show features the adventures of Karl Pilkington, as his “friends” Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant send him to see the Seven Wonders of the World.  I enjoy British humor anyway, but to see this poor guy traipsing about some of the more tourist un-friendly parts of the third world was absolutely priceless.  The Chinese toilet scene was hilarious.  I really have to wonder, without toilet paper, how in the heck do you keep from fudging your undies?  And in lieu of undies- for the sake of argument  (let’s say they all go commando), fudging your drawers?  Even the most crude backwood cracker rednecks wipe.

It makes me wonder what kind of fun an American living in fly-over country could have road tripping with some poor funky looking Brit.  Just imagine taking Karl on a road trip down in the hollers of WV, or on an excursion to a tractor pull, NASCAR race, or even to the Mobile Home Capital of the Midwest- Marengo, OH.  I could show him urban blight,  rural blight, authentic American cracker rednecks complete with full body tattoos and rebel flags on their trucks, weeds growing out of a swimming pool, and the Tetanus Farm, all in the same day.

I bet foreigners watch American TV and movies and think the whole country is like either New York or Los Angeles- that the women all look like Paris Hilton and the dudes all look like Charlie Sheen.  The pic of Charlie Sheen is substantially larger here, because in my humble, heterosexual female opinion, he’s hotter simply because he’s a dude.  I’m here to tell you, sweetheart, that the Left Coasts are absolutely not representative of all things Yankee.  Fly-over country is different.   Much different.  Foreigners seldom see either the Midwest or the South, which are two regions of the country that have a distinctly defiant and bold demeanor, not at all resembling the politically correct and effete atmosphere you experience on the coasts.  It’s a shame no one really bothers to explore the vast expanses of fly-over country.  Do you think we’re boring or we’re lacking freak factor?  Believe me, I can show you lots of freaky stuff, just on the Ohio State campus.

Within 50 miles of Whine Country alone I can think of some prime locations for freak watching:

Walmart in Newark – Discover why there is such a thing as “Size 20 Women’s Underwear,” and also why there are some very squashed, mousy little dudes.  You could fit five or six Paris Hiltons into one leg hole of those “briefs,” believe that. I bought a pair of these to use as a car cover for my Yaris, but they were too big.

Downtown Columbus during “Gay Pride” weekend is quite a spectacle, especially the “Tranny Parade” (“Tranny” as used here, is NOT an automotive term!)

Walmart in Marion on the first day of the month, or whatever day the Welfare checks come out- (steel toed shoes and Febreze recommended.) The fat-chick-on-a-scooter thing always amazed me.  If she were motivated to walk to begin with,  she would never would have gotten fat enough to have needed the scooter, no?

Believe me, if you want a freak show, just open the door and start gawking.  I can think of enough freaky footage right here in Central Ohio to keep foreigners amused for weeks.

I would love to be Karl’s (or some other unfortunate English-speaking foreigner’s) tour guide to the Midwest and the South.  It could be a lot of fun.

All I can suggest is never drink the local water when you travel unless it has been filtered, brewed or boiled.   I get Montezuma’s Revenge drinking pretty much any locality’s unfiltered tap water outside of Franklin County.  If in doubt go for a brewed beverage (tea or coffee) or better yet a prepackaged beverage such as Diet Dr. Pepper or Diet Rockstar.

It’s no crime to be large.  I freely admit, while I have not attained the heft or girth of livestock, I am proportioned like a mutant troll.  I have short meaty arms, big meaty man-hands, and my abdominal area resembles a road map to Atlanta.  Coverage is the key.  When you are large or badly proportioned, proper use of clothing for coverage purposes creates a more tolerable aesthetic.

Cover up your bad self!

I don’t mean “wear a burqa” (unless your religious views dictate so.)  It is good for those of us with less than optimum physiques to refrain from displaying those problem areas.  Ladies with meaty arms should not run about in sleeveless shirts, for instance.

This is a fashion don’t.  And if the pink thing is supposed to be a bra, it’s way too small.  No one wants to see your backfat- not out in the open or all bunched up making muffin mountains in all the wrong places under your shirt.

Here’s an example of a large (not necessarily “fat” but certainly no Calista Flockhart) lady dressing appropriately.  Her meaty arms are generously covered with sleeves.  Her skirt is long enough to conceal any cottage cheese or thunder thighs.  Yet she is not so covered-up she looks like she’s running about in a muu-muu or a burqa.

I like that dress.

I like the idea of foreign tourism in all those places tourists don’t normally go even better.  Come on down and experience the wonders of the G&R Bar, (home of the world’s most awesome fried bologna sandwich) the Ohio State Fair, and the Marion Popcorn Festival (it’s OK, they bring in extra cops.)  Go on to West Virginia and experience white-water rafting, interesting redneck accents, and harrowing drives on mountain Interstates named after (and largely pork-barrel funded by) the late Senator Robert C. Byrd.

How Not to Get My Attention, aka: (Drunken) Aggressive-Aggressive Revenge


Ok, so I will remove the kid gloves and vent like I mean it.  And I do. 

Last night I had to take the HK Yaris over to the local Toyota dealer for a minor warranty issue.  The right headlight was getting some condensation between the layers of plastic in the lens and housing- a common concern here in Central Ohio Swampland, especially evident during Monsoon season.  I saw more than enough of these when I worked in dealerships, so when I saw the condensation building up in that lamp I figured I’d best address it right away, since it is a warranty issue.  It’s hard for any vehicle manufacturer to construct a lamp assembly of any type that can remain water-tight in a place that gets the rainfall we do here.  It wasn’t a major deal, but that’s one of the reasons why cars have warranties.  While their techie is milking the gravy train (.7 of an hour to R&R a headlight assembly isn’t bad, when an experienced tech can do it in 5-10 minutes, or about .2 hours) changing out my headlight, I sat and chilled out and played a few solitaire games on the DS. 

Hanging out in the waiting room (or “customer lounge” as they call it) was tolerable except for the TV was on the same lame-ass news loop the whole time I was there, and there was some foreign dude who looked like he was from a terrorist harboring country yapping on his cell phone in some unintelligible gibberish.  I’m sure it was a real language, but I have no clue what it was.  German, French or Spanish, I know enough to get slapped- and can understand a word or phrase here and there.  This was some language I had no clue what it was but it reminded me of the noises cats make when they mate.  It might make sense to cats, who knows?

How do I know if he was giving his terrorist buddies the latitude and longitude of the Toyota dealer so they could bomb the place?  Or, he could have been doing what Steve-o does when he converses with his German-speaking friends- mocking those around him.  I can picture that pretty easily.

“Dude, there is this old cougar, who looks sort of like a weird, ill-proportioned troll, sitting over here playing solitaire on a DS.  Man, this is lame!”

I continue to play solitaire and say to myself this guy is harmless and he’s just mocking me to his buddy over in where ever it is that they speak the cat mating language.  So I get my headlight changed out, free of terrorist incidents, to my relief, and I go home.

I knew I was in for an evening from hell when I came home and the dogs were in their crates.  That could only mean one thing- Jerry’s at the hell hole…after swearing up and down he wouldn’t renew his membership there, but of course, he did.  Nice. Not unexpected, though.  I was born at night, but not last night.  I knew he was lying out his ass when he said he was not going to renew.

Not more than three minutes after I get in the door, Tipsy McNumbnuts staggers in.  He insists that he has to mow the grass tonight.  At the same time he is insisting that he is going to need a new lawn mower because the old one probably won’t start.  I should have known at that point to do anything to keep him away from anything involving gasoline, machinery or sharp things.  Then he goes on and on how he needs me to help him mow the grass.

Excuse me?  How in the hell I am I supposed to “help” you mow the grass?  That’s the one thing I’m not doing.  If you want me to mow grass, then consider doing your own laundry, cooking your own meals, getting your own scripts, putting your own crap on E-bay, (wiping your own ass…) the list goes on and on. 

Apparently what he wanted me to do was follow him around while he mowed the grass.  I have absolutely no idea why.

I think he wanted a new lawn mower (and there wasn’t a thing wrong with the old one, until he trashed it.)  But I think he wanted to get my attention, get a new lawn mower,  AND be able to somehow blame me for the old one’s demise.

I stayed outside long enough for him to start the mower up- and it fired up and ran beautifully.  I figured my work outside was done, so I could go in and at least attempt to fix something for dinner.  Yeah.

About five minutes later he comes storming in the back door screaming that I broke the lawn mower.  Granted, he was pretty damned drunk, but I couldn’t see how I could have broke the mower if I was in the kitchen washing dishes. 

Apparently, because I wasn’t watching him, (???) he ran over the metal rod that has been in the yard forever and ever, that he knows about, and jammed the motor completely.  It is officially FUBARed.  Now, I am the first one to accept blame where it is due, but it seems to me that the drunken operator of the mower might have had a lot more to do with its final catastrophic failure.  I will also add that this is a self-propelled push mower, not a rider mower.  Ohio is so weird about DUI that the cops can bust you for drunken mowing– if you’re on a rider mower.  They can bust you on a motorized bar stool too.  This actually happened to some redneck in Newark.  So technically (as far as I know,) drunken mowing is legal- as long as it’s a push mower, and you’re not driving it.

Ingenious, yes, but still motorized, and you do ride it. 

If there is some sort of ordinance against drunken mowing with a push mower, I’d like to know about it for future reference.

Tonight I get to go with Cap’n Happy to procure another lawn mower- at his expense of course.  If he thinks I’m buying him a new lawn mower to reward his wanton trashing of a perfectly good one, he has another thing coming.  If I were to buy him a mower, which I won’t, I would buy him one of these little beauties:

I don’t see how he could destroy this one unless he ran over it with the truck or something.  I am not looking forward to clomping through Sears, Lowes or wherever he decides to go trolling for deals on mowers.  Not at all.

This little foray into home improvement hell with the biggest drama queen on the planet ought to be as much fun as a dental cleaning, a pelvic exam, and a full body wax- all at once.

I might buy him dinner if he behaves– at White Castle.  Mmmm, sliders….