So, Southern Illinois got hit by a hurricane last Friday. My family and I are alright, but I’m enjoying the electricity at my friend’s house a bit too much to say that not having power, water, or a functional net connection hasn’t affected me. I’ve also gotten familiar with using a chainsaw, as I had five trees fall in my yard… on my garage… on my barn… and on the dog kennel. In short, inland hurricanes suck.
But that’s not why I’ve brought you here.
Something gave me a bit of cheer on Saturday, the first day I managed to get out of my neighborhood, to survey the damage. I found a photo of it online, but you’ll trust me when I say that I have many more:
That’s a photo of Absher Motors, a local car dealership. I decided that I hated them some years back, when they built their oversized eyesore of a car lot just outside the hellhole that is Marion, Illinois. It wasn’t the gaudy, overwrought building that drew my ire– it was the sign. Frankly, it was the sort of thing that might have been more at home on Times Square, or visually broadcasting tweets from the moon… at any rate; it was huge, magnificently bright, and totally useless. I knew I hated it from the start, and as a result, I hated Absher Motors. One of the first things I saw on the sign was an inadvertent misspelling of a salesman’s name– “Chip Bleak”.
Although I didn’t know it to be a misspelling at the time, Chip Bleak stuck with me as the perfect name for a comic foil. I used him as a character to introduce the track “Intermission” on my first Electric Kitten Vomit album. I made him a smarmy little toady, part stereotypical bully sidekick, and part vapid fratboy.
Part of me knows that Absher Motors is probably just a bunch of hardworking sales stiffs less-than-enthused to find their big honkin’ sign has totalled 15 new cars. That part of me is more than aware that somebody is going to have to eat the cost of this damage, and it’s probably going to be an unsuspecting car buyer many months from now.
But another part of me– the part that knows that life is absurd– gets a big kick out knowing that I outlasted Chip Bleak’s giant electronic light-up phallus.