Sunday, February 27, 2011

You Mak'in Fun of Me?

Nov. 23, 2008

Current mood:tired

One reason I like blogs is that, it continues the art of storytelling.  Before TV had more than 3 channels, before the internet or video games, storytelling was a form of entertainment.  I had a Great-Uncle (my Grandmother's brother) who was almost a professional story teller.  He was (unofficially) my Grandmother's favorite brother.  His name was Uncle Sonny Boy, and he was an amazingly great human being (he passed away a few years ago.)  So many children back then were raised with the attitude that children should be seen and not heard.  Well, Uncle Sonny Boy treated everyone great, especially children.  I have and always will respect him for that.
When I was a child Uncle Sonny Boy told me one of the funniest and strangest stories I had ever heard.  This story took place in Lincoln County, West Virginia during the 1960's.  What everyone has to remember is that, West Virginia is extremely rural, and even though it was the sixties, it was more like the 1920's. 
The story revolves around Sonny Boy's brother, who I can't remember his name.  He worked for the Railroad Company in Lincoln County.  Now, back then discrimination/ segregation was a normal part of life.  Lincoln County was kind of strange, in that, everyone, and I mean everyone was poor, white, and Protestant.  When I talk about discrimination, I don't mean just a black/ white thing.  Any sort of minority group or religion other than Protestant Christianity could be openly discriminated against.  Again, it was the way things were back then. 

Well, my uncle did hire a minority.  He was a young retarded man.  Back in the sixties there was a big push for everyone to work.  It was believed that if you wanted to work, there should be some sort of job for you.  I believe a lot of that attitude came from the Great Depression where people wanted to work, but there were not enough jobs.  My Uncle was a good man, and a little bit ahead of the times.  He believed if a man wanted to work, and could do the job, he should be allowed to work, even if he was retarded.

Before I go on, I want to warn my readers that the rest of this story is not politically correct.  As I said my Uncle worked for the Railroad Company.  His job was to fix the railroad tracks, and any general maintenance of the tracks that needed to be done.  He covered quite an area over the county.

I guess there was a lot of maintenance that the tracks needed, because my Uncle hired another young man.  He was also retarded.  The first day they worked together is when a very strange and complicated thing happened.  All three showed up where they were supposed to.  My Uncle wanted to get right to work.  He got in kind of a hurry, because he didn't introduce the two of them.  He just told them both that the tracks where damaged about a mile down the way.  He then told them to start walking down the tracks, and he would meet up with them in a few minutes, as he had to get the tools for the job.

Well, the two retarded men walked that mile down the road.  All this time they hadn't spoke to each other.  When they got to the spot that needed repaired the more experienced man (who I shall refer to as Retard 1) said something like, "This looks like the spot we're supposed to repair."  Now you have to remember that he is retarded, and when he speaks, he speaks in the odd way that retarded people do.  Well, the new hire (who I shall refer to as Retard 2) says to him, "You mak'in fun of me?" 

You see 2 didn't realize that 1 was retarded.  So Retard 1 says back to him, "You mak'in fun of me?"  To thoroughly confuse the situation, 1 didn't realize that 2 was also retarded.  So you have two very angry retards thinking the other one is making fun of them.  They start yelling back and forth, "You mak'in fun of me?"  Well one hell of a fight breaks out.  They start really going at it.  My Uncle gets there, and tries to break them up.  However, they both have that crazy type of retard strength going on.  My Uncle is doing his darnedest to break them up, all the while they are fighting and screaming at each other. 

My Uncle finally gets them broke up, but only after they were too tired to fight anymore.  He then has to explain to them that they are both retarded, and that neither one is making fun of the other one.  They both normally talk like retards, and there's no reason for them to be fighting. 

Again, you can see how this story is much better when told by a storyteller.  When I tell it out loud, I do it like my Uncle Sonny Boy by doing all the voices.  It comes out much better that way.  I told this story to a boss of mine, and he kept coming up to me saying, "You mak'in fun of me?"  He thought it was totally hilarious.  I do wish I had gotten to hear more of my Uncle Sonny Boy's stories.  Some went back to the 1920's and 1930's which makes them even more precious now-a-days.  To hear what life was like 80 and 90 years ago is just amazing. 

So I hope everyone keeps writing their blogs, and learning to be internet storytellers.  It's an amazing thing to hear different stories, and points of view.

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