Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Rural America’s dirty little secret



There’s something going on in rural America that they don’t like to talk about. Crank. Speed. Meth. Yup, lots of folks out there in the heartland are speed freaks. They’re wired, hopped up, spun, tweakin’.

The signs are there, if you care to look. The guy who spends every free moment under his pickup truck, but never actually gets it put back together and running. The collection of old appliances and vehicles in the yard, as if in some fit of mania there was some grand plan for it all, now long-forgotten. Light creeping out from under the garage door at 3:00 am. Unfinished additions to the house. Tarps everywhere.

You know, most speed labs are found in rural areas. Some years ago, I read an article about finding speed labs in rural California. They’d fly over and look for sheds with corrugated metal roofs. The ones with speed labs had premature corrosion on the part of the roof that was over the chemicals. It was like a big rusty bull’s eye.

There are aspects to crank that are attractive to heartland values:

Crank is the extra-value meal/all you can eat buffet of drugs: cheap, long-lasting. What do you get with crack, a 20 minute high? Crack is for suckers. Speed is a bargain. And folks in the heartland love bargains. Furthermore, it’s versatile: You can snort it, swallow it, smoke it, or shoot it.

Speed is a common man's drug. It ain’t that hoity-toity Hollywood powdered cocaine. It ain’t all hippy dippy like acid. It ain’t for lazy city degenerates, like heroin.

It’s the perfect drug for hard-workin’ people. You hear tales of people in the heartland working 2 or 3 jobs. Nobody can do that for any length of time without chemical aid, and the coffee in the flyover states is abysmally weak. Pot makes you lazy and easy-going, but speed keeps you on the job, and ready to kick ass and take names at a moment’s notice. Speed lets you work on that car or that home improvement project non-stop.

In fact, the enterprising self-reliant types can make their own. In Idaho, when they put the Sudafed behind the counter, speed lab busts fell 90 percent. Does that mean they stopped doing speed in Idaho? Hell, no! They just import it now.

Rural America on crank also explains a lot about aspects of American rural culture and psychology:

The fascination with engines and motor sports. Look, in the city, if a guy has an engine block on his coffee table and parts all over the living room, you know he’s a tweaker. But out in the country, it’s not considered suspicious? Gimme a break! And who the hell else but a tweaker could watch cars going around and around in an oval for 6 hours and stay excited the whole time? And monster trucks are definitely the product of a meth-addled brain.

Look at two of the mainstays of rural America: truckers and country music. Many truckers, especially long haul truckers, are long-known to be on amphetamines. To their credit, country singers like Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings have talked frankly about speed use in the music industry. It was Standard Operating Procedure for country acts on tour.

Pro wrestling. Who but a crankster could get that worked up over a scripted, choreographed spectacle, and seriously believe that it was a real sport?

Now we get to the real ugly stuff:

The angry paranoid delusions: The constant feeling that their way of life is being threatened by people thousands of miles away. One example is the over response to potential terrorism. While the citizens of New York City were dealing with the aftermath of an actual terrorist attack, people in the middle of Kansas were duct taping their windows shut, as if they were more of a target than the heavily populated coastal cities. Another example is the idea that what a couple of guys are doing in their bedroom in San Francisco is what’s hurting their marriages in Wyoming. And don’t get them started on the French!

Then there’s the real psychotic delusions, like their willingness to believe that the earth is only 6000 years old and all of science and the rest of the world is engaged in a big conspiracy against them. Even the rocks are lying, man! They’ve got no problem with a leader who hears voices in his head that tell him what to do.

The weird self-contradictory world view is a tweaker’s mindset. How else could one seriously think that Islamofascists and liberal feminist pro-gay rights activists are working together?

They can be simultaneously easily distracted and obsessive. They can’t see who’s really turning the screws on them, convinced that it’s college professors and tattooed baristas and not the corporate elite. I mean, you’ve got to be brain damaged to think that Rush and O’Reilly are coherent. I mean, come on!

Accusing others of the very things that you are doing is a classic addict behavior, such as calling city dwellers in the blue states freeloaders while being subsidized by the government far more than any urban dweller.



And you probably thought I was gonna say something about their fucked up teeth, huh?

4 Comments:

Blogger Tom Harper said...

Sorry, but I'm not as classy or subtle as you, so: how about that stereotype of all those toothless people in rural areas? There, I've said it.

Also, I hate to make this political, but some of the most extreme of the rightwing bloggers (and the ones I'm thinking of live in the flyover states), their posts just go on and on and on and on and...

To paraphrase the Church Lady: could it be, Meth?

12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have known a few meth users. Prolonged use turned them into paranoid psychotics. Stay away from the meth kids it will fuck you up like nothing I've ever seen.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Irate Savant said...

As one who originally hails from a Southern jerkwater hamlet where a fetish is made of ignorance, I can confirm that you do not exaggerate.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

I live in a rural area and I can confirm that there's just as much drug dealing going on here as there is in the big cities.

But you make it sound as if the problem is worse in the rural areas than in the cities. I would say that the problem exists similarly in both places. There are people in the cities who sit in their pickup trucks as well.

-Steve
Games are for Children

5:59 PM  

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