News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


Inspiration from Man in Black

It's not cool to have a used commode riding high in the bed of your pickup unless you are a plumber or junk dealer.

My brother-in-law Don is not a cool guy, but he wasn't about to be mistaken for Fred Sanford.

The decades-old commode we removed from the farmhouse in the fall wasn't about to hitch a ride to the landfill in his pickup.

"I'm just not going to do it," he said, even after I explained my truck was loaded with other construction materials we removed during a bathroom remodeling.

Like too many country folks, and to the dismay of our fine across-the-road neighbors, we allowed the beige john to sit several weeks beside the house.

I kept hoping Don would haul this important piece of history to the dump. He didn't. Instead, he rigged a bull's-eye target on it for his grandson to use for BB gun practice shots.

"It's got to go," Regina said.

"I know," I replied. But my problem was that I didn't want to bring it home and set it out on Indian Hills Road like we've done old TV sets and microwaves and waited for the reaper of curbside junk to beat the trash man.

"That wouldn't be good," Regina agreed.

"Neither would it be good riding around in the back of my pickup until I could get it to the landfill," I said.

I remembered Johnny Cash's silly song "One Piece At A Time" in which he spend years carting pieces from a General Motors plant home and eventually assembled a vehicle he called a "Psycho-Billy Cadillac."

"I'd get it one piece at a time.

"And it wouldn't cost me a dime," he boasted in song.

I'd get rid of that commode in like manner by breaking it into manageable chunks, boxing them and then over a couple weeks leaving portions in the garbage bin.

I wore gloves and protective glasses, of course, and used a hammer. The first blow was too soft and bounced off. The second one was too hard and created shards of porcelain.

John-busting is an art form picked up quickly. The right tap in the right place brings order to chaos.

"How's it going?" Regina asked.

"Fun," I replied, relating to one of the greatest singers of all time.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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