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VENT! Nine Memphians Let It All Hang Out

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Times are tough. We're stuck inside a lot. And when we go out, we're either walking the dog or making quick trips to stores while wearing masks. We can't shake hands. We can't hug. We can't hang in bars like we used to. Restaurant servers and bartenders are wearing masks and gloves. There are no sports. The parks are controlled. Not to mention, the president seems to get loonier every day. Everything is just … screwed up.

Sooo … we asked nine Memphians to just let it out. Vent. Spill it. Doesn't matter what you want to rant about, just do it — and send it to us. They did. And below are the results. Enjoy!

Kemba Ford
Politician/Consultant
For the last several years, I have had opportunities to work in Texas and California, often traveling for many months away from the city I call home. 
Kemba Ford
  • Kemba Ford

I tend to believe that I returned with fresh eyes and a bit more objectivity with which to view all things Memphis. After spending the first half of 2017 in Houston, I returned home to a small bit of fanfare: reuniting with family, a well-attended cocktail party at the Grawemeyer Estate in Midtown, and lunch and dinner invitations with friends — many of whom amazed I returned at all. 

So, I linked up with a friend for lunch Downtown on a beautiful weekday afternoon in late May of that year. I absolutely love Memphis during the month of May. The mild weather and only a 30 percent chance of mosquitoes create a great vibe along the riverfront, and after lunch I walked along Main Street to chill at my friend's condo with a divine view of the river. 



A glass of wine later, we were watching some random golf tournament on TV, when suddenly: Breaking News! Apparently, several people tried to rob the front desk/check-in of the Sheraton Hotel Downtown and shots were fired in the lobby. The suspects fled the scene on foot; one guy was said to have on a Dallas Cowboys T-shirt and a female suspect was said to have on flip-flops. Downtown was on lockdown. Wow!

My immediate reaction: Who robs a hotel front desk that really doesn't do cash business? At 2 p.m. in broad daylight, two blocks from 201 Poplar? In flip-flops and a Cowboys shirt? Were they just riding around, passing the Sheraton, and decided this would be a good come-up? My mind was melting, and the only conclusion I could come up with is they must not “GAF” (give a fuck).  And I needed more wine.

I have played around with this idea or mindset called “IDGAF” (I don't give a fuck) or “I have Zero (fucks) to give” for a while now. I pitched the idea of a radio show called “GAF” to debate the notion, kind of like a TED Talk but not. My position being that — yeah — it may be cool being unconcerned or unbothered about many things, but there's too much crazy, stupid mess that happens because errbody has an “IDGAF” attitude.

Let's pretend we are privy to the conversation these folks had in the car five minutes before they pulled up to that hotel. Anybody GAF that the police headquarters and city jail is a literal stone's throw away? Anybody GAF that they are not dressed for this? I mean flip-flops, REALLY? Clearly, no one GAF or a thought as to whether the front desk of a hotel would even have cash. Some straight-up tomfoolery here, I thought. If just one person in that car GAF, just one single solitary F, then maybe some unnecessary mess could be deterred. My opinion, just VENTing.

I'm in my mid-40s these days, and surprisingly it's been a good time. When I tell people my age, they often don't believe me and ask what I do to look “not old,” I guess. I say, GAF. You gotta GAF, approximately 2 Fs at this age: moving your body and the food you eat. Neither of these is easy when you begin integrating them into your lifestyle, but the reward is there. And it gets easier the more you do it. Finding an activity, you enjoy doing and some green vegetables you can learn to like has helped me tremendously. Thank you, kale, celery, and red bell peppers!

Main point: It is 2020. This is an election year like no other in my lifetime. While it most certainly is not my lane to tell anyone how to vote, I will tell you it is no time for the “IDGAF” attitude. The United States is in the throes of a global pandemic while record unemployment, economic uncertainty, and class and racial divisions openly scar our society. At this moment COVID-19 has taken 90,000 American lives in less than three months. Yeah, mane. … It is time to GAF!

I need you to do me a favor, though. Vote on November 3, 2020.

Joshua McLane
Drummer, HEELS
I'm in a band called HEELS. I miss my band. Before all this bullshit started, we were in a good place. We were on top of our finances and in the middle of writing our next record, and waiting to go on the three tours we had booked over the next two months.
Joshua McLane
  • Joshua McLane

Next thing you know, the two biggest things in my life happen: The pandemic was announced and then I found out I was going to be a father. Since I'm not a moron, I want to keep my wife and prodigy (progeny? who cares?) safe from all the dipshits I spent my teens with, the ones who think the virus is some phony libtard conspiracy.

I miss my best friend. HEELS hasn't been able to practice since this started, and since [HEELS guitarist Brennan Whalen's] bosses are making him go back to the office, we won't be anytime soon either. He's the only person I've ever met that instills legitimate hope in me, and I'm in need of some of that shit.

One of the best parts of being in HEELS is that there are only two of us. So, touring is a breeze. Mainly because we both love talking shit. I miss talking shit with the only person who keeps his mouth shut.

I miss listening to podcasts on the road. Now, all podcasts have to be called in and let’s be honest … they fucking suck like that (see also: most stand-up comedy now). I miss all the food. The best part of being on the road is meeting new people and eating their food. It's cheesy (pun intended), but it's what makes this country as awesome as it is. I MISS OTHER PLACES.
       
I love this town and I love this country, but I also like not being sick. So, I haven't gone anywhere but to meet my weed dealer for the last three months. Even that is a cluster-fuck of baggies and gloves and not getting arrested because we live in a backward state. So, I don't go anywhere.

I don't need things to be open or for people to go back to work at the fucking mall, though. I have a soul and care for others and, since I'm going to be a father, I can't chance it. I have to admit that it's been great with my wife working from home. We're extremely fortunate that way.

The only thing I truly can't stand are all the goddamn, mother-fucking dog walkers that are just staring at their goddamn, mother-fucking phones as they drag their tiny, mother-fucking dogs down the goddamn street. Those poor dogs don't want to be walked, you $80,000-a-year dickhead. What's worse is when they have some loud-ass conversation on their phone and just yell into the wind. FUCK THAT AND FUCK YOU for doing it. Yeah, I've been known to "sing" along with my music when I walk, but at least I feel some shame about it.
     
I do miss hugs. Not as much as many, but more than I did. I enjoy not being touched, though, a lot. Also, I like being able to give someone the proper stink eye when they get too fucking close to me. I think I'm gonna take a nap. End of rant. Be good to each other.

Boo Mitchell

Music Producer
I try not to vent much, but something that really gets under my skin is the lack of courtesy people show each other. Although, I could talk about this in several aspects of our daily lives, today the topic is parking lots. 
Boo Mitchell - JOEY MILLER
  • Joey Miller
  • Boo Mitchell

Have you ever been trying to pull into a parking space only to find that someone has left their basket in the middle of the space? The one that really gets me is when someone has parked over the line and taken up two spaces. These actions cause negative effects. Besides being a huge inconvenience, the person gets called a few choice adjectives and nouns. And even though they are long gone and have no idea the tongue lashing they are getting, that negative energy and bad karma is going out into the world.

So, when I'm in a parking lot, I try to build up some blessings of good karma by returning my basket to the basket bin area. It only takes an extra minute or so. And I also make sure to park between the lines.

Small acts of anonymous kindness go a long way. It reminds me of a great philosophical mantra from the guru of comedy, George Carlin: “Don't Be an Asshole.”

Meghan Stuthard
Writer
Facebook sucks and the Messenger app sucks even more, but it did yield a delightful message from the Flyer’s own Bruce VanWyngarden the other day, asking me if I’d like to bitch about something. How much time you got, Bruce?

If there's anything to be gained from this quarantine besides retention of one's health and proof of one's intelligence, it's the myriad ways I've found to be even more pissed off and tormented than usual.
Meghan Stuthard and friends
  • Meghan Stuthard and friends

It was borne of “quarantini” jokes and escalated with each whiny post from a shitty parent that “we can't do this sort of psychological damage to our kids! Let them attend a water park with 50 million other snot-nosed brats, because — sans nanny — I am woefully unprepared to raise my own children!” So thanks for the bullhorn, Flyer. It's from these digital pages that “I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” Like Whitman, I am unconstrained, into dudes, and like wine.

I think the obvious choice is to ridicule the dong-bags protesting stay-at-home orders, mock-coughing on grandmas at Kroger, and posting asinine bullshit all over their social media accounts, but they're too easy of a target. They're so ignorantly stupid they won't be able to point their browser to this website anyway, and I figure that anyone reading this is squarely on my side even if their father-in-law isn't.

But they're not the only item on my list of things that I want to bitch about. Literally everything pisses me off, and everything that pisses me off is now served up to me in grand quantities while staying at home. TV volume over 16, TV volume on any odd number, washing and folding laundry, waiting on things to microwave or boil, and the fact that I've sat outside my house for 60 straight nights and my recently departed neighbor's (RIP) cats, Pussyfoot and Pussy Willow, still won't let me pet them. Like, I'm an actual living person who wants to pet them, which is a hell of a lot more than they're working with currently, and they want no part of it.

Speaking of animals, here's something. Midtown is full of owls, something that absolutely does not piss me off. I'm so enchanted by the owls that I googled which owls are native to our area and found the Barred Owl, whose hoot sounds like, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” That's a real thing. It was on allaboutbirds.org. And that's what my neighborhood owls' hoots sound like.

My roommate, upon hearing this, says, “That's not a thing, and it's probably a barn owl.” It was on allaboutbirds.org, David. A fucking bird expert wrote that, I repeated it, and I'm such a dim-witted dolt that I can't possibly discern a barn owl's “hoot-hoot!” from “WHO COOKS FOR YOU? WHO COOKS FOR US ALL”?

And then this guy, again, bearing in mind that he corrected me, because, again, he thinks I'm the idiot, is outside a few nights later trying to attract an owl by — get this — wrapping a piece of deli turkey around an old cat toy shaped like a mouse.

The same species, sex, and race that brought you star-spangled pants, truck nutz, and white pride tiki torches now thinks that he is superior to the owl and can attract it with sandwich meat and cat toys, forgetting that the owl, a stone-cold killing machine, has been honing its ability to differentiate a live mouse from a fake mouse for eons. We caved and bought a remote-controlled mouse. Upping our game.

Outside of the purchases I've made online, shopping has been sullied for me by our friendly neighborhood Kroger. People are strolling along and pawing every box of Wheat Thins like they can tell from feeling the outside of the box if Nabisco made that batch extra-wheaty. Peep the bestial behavior that has ravaged the meat section. Note the fact that the frozen pizza aisle looks like the firebombing of Dresden, but the produce section, brimming with vitamins, is as untouched as a pack of masks in the White House. Kroger shoppers' only redeeming quality is their love of boxed red wine. This I know because it's never there and I have to buy Pinot Grigio and drink it over ice like some sort of Arkansan.

I'm excited to get through this and come out on the other side. I look forward to rolling my eyes in public at bars again, leaving mean-ass notes on the windshields of the small-wienered dipshits who double-park, and loudly defending Mötley Crüe to anyone with a pulse. Bitching into the void isn't as fun and an audience whose reaction I can't gauge makes me wonder if there's even a point in bitching. HAH! Dumb-ass question. Bitching is always a pleasure. Yawp!

Leon Gray
Administrator, Juvenile Court
Now that I'm over 60, I sometimes long for the days of my youth, when everything was simpler — at least to me. Being a native Memphian, I have some fond — and some not so fond — memories of growing up in the Bluff City. Ironically, one of the biggest news events of the late 1960s, the sanitation strike which ultimately led to the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., taught us very little about the value of clean streets and neighborhoods in the 21st century.
Leon Gray
  • Leon Gray

I am rarely angered by little things, but seeing a motorist toss a cup complete with lid and straw out their car window and onto our streets makes me want to scream out my car window at them. And that's just the beginning. Whole bags of fast food remains get tossed or just laid down outside the vehicle in a retail store parking lot — with trash cans just feet away. What has happened to these people? And why is MY CITY their dumping ground??

Speaking of dumping, many of our neighbors have made the sides of lesser traveled roads and spaces behind closed commercial buildings dump-sites for everything from unwanted furniture and appliances to worn tires and automobile parts. This has got to STOP!!!

Where are the days of the Memphis City Beautiful Commission? When was the last time Memphis could claim the Cleanest City in America award? Where is our hometown pride — or at least decency? And why aren't more citizens and elected officials angry about this trash on streets problem, like I am?

On its face, the solution seems simple: Get people to discard their trash in the appropriate places. So how do we get there, and where would getting there be prioritized in the midst of a pandemic? It should be right up there near the top. How about using a marketing campaign? Messaging is everything, and like Corey B. Trotz, when you start putting the message out there, you can't stop.

People are generally followers, so our leaders must set the tone that promotes the steps for them to follow. “I'm Memphis Proud” would be a great theme! “Don't Trash Our Streets” would be another. Solid messaging creates bonds to all kinds of products. Why wouldn't we be able to create a positive bond between our city and its residents?

We live in an age where media platforms dominate the communication connections between most everyone. So let's tell everybody that Memphis Pride is “a thing,” and it should be their thing. Let's solicit help from all of our 700 thousand or so neighbors not to trash our city — and add teeth with citations and fines.

I'm sick of this filth, but I'm also just as sick of watching nobody do anything about it. So, if by chance you read this, join me in this crusade to try and clean up our city and restore the pride in our neighbors. Write your elected officials and tell them this is a priority. Finally, let's teach our kids to always try and leave our shared spaces better than we found them.

Katrina Coleman
Comedian
Dear Reader,
Today I come to you full of righteous fury. I am not the type of fellow to feel righteousness at hatred of a kind or at differences from my own morals. I cannot come to you with some wide and deep mythos of which to beat you down with my fervor.
Katrina Coleman
  • Katrina Coleman

No, dear reader, I have but one anger to speak of. Babies don’t need shoes.

Firstly, we have to define baby. In the Southern sense, babies are all humans younger or dumber than you perceive yourself to be. For this discourse, babies are the non-bipedal, pre-toddling, lumps-of-reflex-and-occasional-gassy-smiles.

Secondly, we must define shoes. House slippers are not shoes unless you are a patron of a “no shoes, no shirt, no service” establishment. Shoes are not socks with rubber bottoms. Shoes are not and will never be the end points of footie pajamas. Shoes are soled enclosures of a foot.

Now that that is established, we must get into the argument. Babies do not need shoes. Stop doing it.

Child abuse takes many forms, and on a scale of one to Mommie Dearest, shoes on babies is a three. At a five, Child Protective Services  is called to evaluate your home. That means if I see your baby in shoes and also being lightly pinched (two on the scale), I will absolutely be making that phone call.

Imagine if you will, being a small baby without the ability to walk. Imagine the proctors of your care strapping weights with adorable buckles to the feet that literally only exist to kick. Imaging for one moment being tickled pink over a ceiling fan and having your ability to enjoy it hampered by great, laced anchors. You are left to impotently twitch your lower extremities and hope upon hope that your upper extremities can flail in the appropriate joyfulness to express how much you love watching that magical, spinny wonder do its thing.

Add the prospect that no baby fully understands walking until it happens. Therefore, they are unable to consent to the indignity. If I had thought that walking would involve the tight and heavy nonsense of shoes, I would still be begging to be picked up to this day.

Shoes are a prison that modern humans have built to give themselves the illusion of security and status. I, myself, only bind myself with the strictures of those podal corsets when society demands. For what end does society demand? Basic etiquette or flat classism?

To subject an innocent child to such strictures would be to insist a babe in arms could utter ”please“ and ”thank you” before “Mama.” It is a show of means, not unlike a Romani coin belt. A baby shod is much like a prized horse sored, only to show the wealth and breeding of their steward. How dare we hobble our young like rebellious horses? How dare we dress them as small adults before they have even considered the mystery of the potty?

And, finally, if all these arguments fall short for you, dear reader, how dare you deprive me of the joy of seeing those scrumptious little toes? I think your baby is loud and weird and could easily be thrown in the river if it annoys me. You would block that perfect defense of tiny little feetsies? How dare you keep that from me, and how dare you leave your baby without the protection of cute widdle piggies that I'm going to nom nom nom and forget anything about rivers or baby throwing?

Don't you love your child? Don't make me throw your kid in the river. Babies don't need shoes.

Sonya Mull
Activist
This 'Rona has made many mundane areas of life more poignant, and, some, more grievous. Take, for example, spitting in public. When I was a wee child, Aunt Carrie told me to hold my breath and walk the other way when I saw sputum on the ground to avoid catching T.B. — or something. People used to think the story was hyperbole, but I've held to the practice and taught it to my kids. Now, COVID has made people a bit more appreciative of her public health announcements. (She was a nurse in a T.B. ward.)
Sonya Mull
  • Sonya Mull


Supposedly, this COVID-19 thingamajig has given all of us time to pause — to put the brakes on the speedy hustle and bustle. So, why wouldn't I think Memphis drivers would emerge from this with a calmer approach? In the past few days, while I was driving around town searching for unusual trees, I discovered that Memphis drivers are shoddier than ever — too fast, too aggressive, and far less courteous.

A few years ago, I predicted that the conditions of transportation would become worse with the resurgence of muscle cars. Not to my surprise, I now hear drag racing just about every night in my neighborhood. Where are the police when you need them? (No, not all cops are bad cops, and I know a lot of great ones, but the bad ones can be horrendous and their bad deeds overshadow a lot of the good. I've had horrendous, Sandra Bland-type experiences with officers right here in Memphis. This is not that story, however.)

It's kinda funny, but it seems that COVID has brought many of my pet peeves to a head all at once — things like people not washing their hands after using the restroom, and coughing and sneezing into the open air. These were always icky.

Many of those close to me have contracted the virus, and I have several family members in health professions, yet COVID has had its silver linings for me. It has afforded me time and space to BE. I wish that each of us on this planet would BE STILL and KNOW — learn to reconnect with the Divine — however we define it. By default, Mother Earth had begun to heal herself. Like the body, our kindred planet has the capacity of self-healing, if given time and space.

I am so frustrated that people are so anxious to rush back into the “rat race” — going nowhere. That sounds pretty disgusting to me. Haven't you noticed the air is cleaner?

Meanwhile, some people want to spread their toxicity and pollute the town hall square while carrying guns. Here's a thought: If you have to protest something, why not protest the government's overreach in punishing black men, women, boys, and girls? In the protesters' minds, it's okay for the privacy and rights of black citizens to be obliterated and lives decimated by the police, but don't dare stop these protesters from buying garden tools!

I'm not saying that people don't have rights to protest, and honestly, I don't really care that they want to protest about something so stupid. I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy of these people. Sure, the hypocrisy exists on both sides of the coin, but these neo-protesters' anti-government sentiment only extends to the point where they are affected. Heck, I actually concur with them on some points. I am definitely opposed to big brother's omnipresence and I don't want to live some dystopian, Orwellian novel.

Chris Davis
Writer/Musician
I've got a big ol' bone to pick with WREG, “News Channel 3,” their reporter Luke Jones, and his recent story about a massive uptick in opioid-related overdoses and deaths.
Chris Davis
  • Chris Davis

“Almost 400 overdoses in 30 days,” Jones wrote in a tweet slugged NARCAN NEEDED, suggesting a shortage of Narcan/naloxone, a life-saving opioid antagonist with the ability to reverse respiratory depression. So far so good, right? Unfortunately the tweet wrapped with the most ignorant question possible: “Are stimulus checks at least partly to blame?”

Let me answer that question for you, Luke. No, the stimulus checks weren't “partly to blame” for 400 overdoses and 56 resulting deaths. Also, hell no, and “Oh my God, I can't believe you'd frame this kind of tragedy in such a harmful way when there's so much good research delving into the root causes of abuse.”

In addition to obvious triggers like pain, depression, isolation, and the simple fact that both prescription and black market dope are often readily available, most studies also touch on the common theme of economic hardship, and the kind of hopelessness that goes hand-in-hand with poverty and unemployment.

For example, a 2017 paper published by The National Bureau of Economic Research indicated that for every one percentage point increase in a given county's unemployment rate, “the opioid death rate per 100,000 rises by 3.6 percent.” This past January, a study published by JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, drew similar conclusions by looking at communities where automotive assembly plants were shut down. The study determined these communities had an 85 percent higher rate of death by overdose than similar communities with still-active automotive assembly plants.

Now, let’s see … Has anything happened recently that might have resulted in sudden, widespread job loss or increased anxiety and feelings of isolation and hopelessness? Could it possibly be COVID-19-related shutdown of the U.S. economy, and quarantine? Kinda sounds like a perfect match.

Now let me back up a bit. I should probably point out that while the tweet was unconscionable, and the write-up was nearly as bad, the full video package contained more detail and ultimately performed the public service of letting people know where to get help if they need it. Kudos. Also, the reporter in question didn't just come up with the idea of blaming stimulus checks on his own. He was referring directly to a comment made by the Memphis Area Prevention Coalition's overdose prevention specialist, Josh Well, whose organization is working hard to overcome the obstacle of “lockdown,” in order to get Narcan into the hands of people at risk. But, presuming Jones composes his own tweets, he's the guy who made the relationship between stimulus checks and overdoses a troubling frame for a heartbreaking story that deserves considerably more context.

It's conventional wisdom in some quarters that you can't just give people money. Why? Because they'll become dependent on handouts, obvs. They'll spend every cent you give them on sex, booze, and drugs. Why did this become conventional wisdom? Because it makes such a fine, paternalistic excuse for paying poor people poverty wages. Because politicians representing moneyed interests that benefit directly from low-paying jobs tell us it's the gospel truth every time somebody puts a mic in their hand. Because their words are so frequently repeated and amplified by concerned-looking members of the Fourth Estate, who nod right along.

This happens in spite of study after study showing that it's all complete horse shit and the best way to help people in need is to provide cash with no strings attached. But we've all been conditioned to believe the opposite is true, and this false belief enabled the dismantling and disfigurement of our social safety nets. If anything, this backwards thinking is more to “blame” for the 400 overdoses and 56 deaths than one $1,200 stimulus check in the midst of international disaster.

On a related note, on May 8th — three days before WREG aired its story — a report offering guidance in the administration of life-saving Naloxone (Narcan) was generated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic has spread throughout our country, SAMHSA has received reports that some first responders and law enforcement officers have been more reluctant to administer Naloxone due to fear of potentially contracting the coronavirus,” the report stated. “Further, SAMHSA has received reports that law enforcement and emergency services management has, in some cases, discontinued the carrying of Naloxone by responders.”

Did any of this figure into the 14 percent mortality rate? We don't know because those questions either weren't asked or weren't reported. Instead we were treated to Mr. Well — who may very well have been quoted out of context — seeming to blame the responsible act of social distancing or “lockdown,” as he described Memphis' “Safer At Home” order.

“We can't train large groups of people anymore,” he said, “so less people are getting the Narcan (Naloxone).”

By the way, if the life-saving medication was “NEEDED,” as implied by the tweet that launched this rant, no part of the package touched on shortage. “You can get a free Narcan kit anytime by calling [The Memphis Area Prevention Coalition] at (901) 495-5103,” it concluded.

Look. Regardless of whether the daily infection numbers are down or even downward trending, a deadly and capricious virus continues to spread and a considerable number of U.S. citizens still seem to think it's all a hoax. People are fighting about social distancing. Angry, sometimes-armed mobs are protesting because we've shut down all-you-can-eat buffets. Because they think the common courtesy of wearing protective masks limits their freedom somehow.

As easy as it might be to write these people off as idiots and dupes, I can't blame them for being confused. Our 21st-century news thrives on conflict, and media consumers can get a different story every time they turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper, depending on the political orientation of whoever's being interviewed at the moment, and whoever's doing the editing.

That's why every reporter needs to step up to make sure each piece of information they spread is the best and most accurate information possible, whether it's directly related to COVID-19 or the result of our public response to the pandemic. If you're not doing that, you're contributing to the decades-long war on media credibility, and you've got blood on your ledger.

I'm looking at you WREG. You certainly aren't the only news station allowing bad messages to slip through, intentionally or not. But you're the one that pissed me off this week, and I really needed to vent.

Brennan Whalen
Guitarist, HEELS
I'm not a complicated man.

I derive joy from the usual things emotionally stunted drunks love: beer and playing music in an environment where I'm not going to catch a world-sieging virus. Sinking hours into video games made for children.
Brennan Whalen
  • Brennan Whalen

During the day, however, I work in an office. I speak on the phone and email customers with technical support for the things they have or are going to purchase. It can be a slog, and many days the only thing that makes it all feel worth it is the hour I have for lunch.

I work in the Hickory Hill area, and around January, something I love deeply was taken from me. That thing was the last remaining Pizza Hut buffet on Winchester, across the street from the old Hickory Ridge Mall. With the decades-old framed posters on the walls, the plates that had to be shedding BPA into every slice, the parmesan containers that contained nothing resembling parmesan, it wasn't somewhere you'd feel confident in your immune system. But God I loved it so much.

Every structure in this city is either shiny and new, a respected old building maintained beautifully, or a business crafted in the shell of an old one (my most-frequented pawn shop was obviously a Target from the ’90s). But dead center of all of this was that stupid, fucking roof that, for a fat Southern kid like me, was a shining beacon on a hill. And it's gone. It will probably end up a cell phone store.
     
To this end, you may ask, “Come on, should a chain restaurant being frequented by one hungover asshole and a rotation of maybe 20 construction workers be kept open just to appease them, considering the costs of keeping such a business open?”

I answer this question with a resounding “Yes,”  because I fucking love that GD Pizza Hut and rational thought will not get in the way of that.

“You should frequent local businesses.” I absolutely do, but until you drop the quality of your food, it will not satisfy my lust for shit pizza that attacks me when my blood is half tequila at 11 a.m. I lived across the street from Dragon China Buffet on Belvedere, for Christ's sake. I'll put money into local businesses, but you gotta deliver low-quality fare for my big, stupid gullet.
       
I should be embarrassed that the closing of this establishment has hurt my heart the way it has, but I'm not. I'm a middle-brow neanderthal who yo-yo diets and has zero consistency in his health and well-being, and I want a pan pizza with a big, fucking hair right in the center. 

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