The weirdity of humans: to this there is no end.
Take New Year’s Eve. For reasons Unknown, the American variant of human has developed a tradition involving ushering in the new year by dropping things.
This may have begun in New York City. Where, as the clock ticks into New Year’s Day, a large and colorful ball is, from a great height, dropped, while many humans, gathered below, shout and cheer and screech and weep.
Elsewhere across the nation, other objects are for the new year dropped. In North Carolina, a large pickle plunges into a barrel. In Wisconsin, humans heave to the ground a frozen carp, monikered “Lucky.” Pennsylvanians splat to the earth a 200-pound hunk of bologna. In Key West, Florida flutters earthward a giant shoe bearing a beaming drag queen.
And down in the tiny Appalachian hamlet of Brasstown, for many years the yeehaws assembled marked the coming of the new year by lowering from the roof of a gas station, in a plexiglass cage, a live possum, while braying “five, four, three, two, one! The possum has landed!”
These people were profiled here on red, and at some length, back in January of 2011.
Today, these people’s lives are utterly changed.
For, in a stunning victory for Godless Communism, an administrative law judge has ruled that the state of North Carolina cannot lawfully issue a permit permitting a bunch of yeehaws to cram a possum into plexiglass confinement, and then slowly lower the fear-paralyzed creature to the ground, while they shriek maniacally and loudly abuse tubas.
The judge himself may be something of a screwloose. For, wrote he: “Hunters must afford wild animals the same right Patrick Henry yearned for. ’Give me liberty, or give me death!’”
Clay Logan, doyen of the Brasstown Possum Drop, has traditionally possessed a state-issued license permitting him to kill a possum. This, ruled Judge Fred Morrison Jr., he may lawfully do. But, under color of said license, he may not “keep animals in captivity.” And no reasonable reading of any state statute allows “possum-caging on a special and temporary basis”: to wit, ramming it into a cage and then subjecting it to gravity while humans prance and howl.
Possums, they do not go in for this sort of thing. At all. As I wrote in the initial red look at the wanton possum abusers of Brasstown:
I’ve communed some with possums, and I can tell you that they’re spooked creatures. Just about anything can and will kill and eat them, and they know this. So, they live a life of Fear. Back at the Old Place, I was sitting out on the deck one night, having a smoke, when a tiny little possum came skittering onto the deck, hugging close to the wall. I softly said “hello,” as I usually would to whatever rat, bat, skunk, deer, coon, snake, or fox ambled onto the deck. And this possum leapt high into the air; when it came down, it stood stock-still, frozen, shivering. I thought it would have a heart attack. That possum there in Brasstown, I’m sure all that it is thinking, as the chortling celebrants cage it away in preparation for the drop, and then during the drop itself, is “Someone Is Killing Me.”
I also then suggested a more humane alternative to the Possum Drop.
Clay Logan, in musing to the Times reporter about possibilities for next year’s Brasstown Possum Drop, unwittingly hit upon a much better substitute. Said Logan: “Next year, I’d love to get me an albino. They’re rare. And hard to catch. But imagine that. An albino possum drop.”
Well, Clay, I say you’re halfway there. For you should indeed get yourself an albino. But not an albino possum. What you need, hoss, is an albino human being.
Because lowering from your gas-station roof there in Brasstown an albino banjo-player would transmit the same message—”we are different from New York City”—and would be regionally quite appropriate, as Brasstown abuts the Chattahoochee National Forest, where the boys of Deliverance did play. And the famous pigment-less banjo-plucker in that film did indeed wail away from atop a platform at a gas station.
And provided a brief and brutal recent history of the place.
Brasstown briefly attained 15 minutes of fame when the folks thereabouts were suspected of sheltering the crazed Christianist terrorist Eric Rudolph, who bombed the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, various and sundry abortion clinics, and a lesbian bar. Rudolph grew up around Brasstown, and comes from interesting stock: while Rudolph was on the run, his brother David videotaped himself cutting off his own hand with a radial saw, to “send a message to the FBI and the media.”
Once the Rudolphs were put away, Brasstown withdrew again into obscurity: the Possum Drop was contrived, says Logan, because the town “desperately needed something.”
Now, I understand all about “desperately needing something.” For surely there comes a time when we all “desperately need something.” I myself have been there. But never did I feel that what I “needed” involved stuffing a small marsupial into a cage and lowering it from the roof of a gas station while chanting a descending series of numbers.
Might I suggest that what Brasstown may really “need” is some black people?
The town is located in the smallest county in North Carolina, Clay County, named for Henry Clay, a howling racist, and a man credited with bringing the mint julep to Washington DC, thereby introducing to the already legendarily bibulous residents of that city a new way to get wacky. Besides Brasstown, other metropoli in Clay County include Pinelog, Shooting Creek, and Elf. Some 98.01% of the county’s population is white, as compared to an infinitesimal 0.8% for black folk. Since there are only 8,775 people in the whole county, with 240 in Brasstown, that means that the entire black population of the latter would fit into my bathroom.
Amazingly, 98.01% to 0.8% is an even worse racial disparity than that on Daily Kos, which I guess at least proves that such a thing is possible.
Comes the thought: the Brasstowners need something to put in their cage. And Captain Underpants, he needs something to do.
So, rather than scare up an albino banjo-flailer as a sub for the possum, Logan & Co. could hoist ol’ Underpants up to the top of the Citgo gas station. Ram him into the plexiglass cage. Then, as this year slides into the next, slowly lower him to the ground, while chanting “five, four, three, two, one! The Endowed Penis has landed!”
Works for me.