July 28, 2007
Originally published February 18, 2002
As someone who was born and raised for a number of my formative years in a coal mining camp in Harlan County, Kentucky, I can identify with Senator Robert Byrd's eloquent words, which he whipped out like a switchblade knife against Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill during a recent confrontation, about growing up in simple circumstances with an outhouse in the back yard. But I believe my family loses in the dueling poverty battle because we had a TWO-HOLER OUTHOUSE. For all you spoiled rich twits born with the silver spoon, allow me to explicate. A regular outhouse is a shack built over a ten-foot-deep hole in the ground. Inside is a crude bench with a round hole cut in it. A single light bulb dangles from the ceiling and it can be activated by means of a pull-cord with a knot on the end, where flies come to fall in love. A TWO-HOLER OUTHOUSE, on the other hand, is exactly the same except the bench has two round holes cut in it and a splintery board nailed across one to keep young butts from falling through and into the ten-foot-deep hole in the ground. That extra hole with the board nailed across it was a true status symbol where I grew up. Yes, we would have LAUGHED at Robert Byrd and put him down as the white trash he was for not having that extra hole in HIS outhouse.
Of course, he moved onward and upward in life to the ultimate outhouse, the US Senate, where he has served his country selflessly for about a quadzillion years. And all the HUMBLE PUBLIC SERVANT has to show for it is every building in West Virginia named after him.
When I bought my new house, I had a port-o-let in the front yard for about three weeks. I went outside one evening with a magic marker and named that outhouse after me. The sanitation people came and hauled it away the very next day.
Now I no longer have the only three bathroom house in the neighborhood. And NO building is named after me.
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