Monday, August 1, 2011

Boxcar Willie

Because my friends are all odd, and those in Minnesota odder still, I today found myself thinking about Boxcar Willie for the first time in 40 years. Boxcar was a regular companion on our long, hot trips to Saskatchewan in the stabby August heat--mom and dad smoking fiendishly up front while the three of us kids coped as best we could with the snarling and flatulent poodle, rogue grasshoppers sproinging desperately against the station wagon windows, and egg salad sandwiches on the turn. After Boxcar wailed for his allotted 2:46 about the Wabash Cannonball, our 8-track turned evilly to a song by George Hamilton IV, about a Saskatchewan farmer who has to shoot his horses during a winter storm because they were all starving to death anyhow. So: August fug, grasshoppers and their filthy tobacco spit, flatulent dog AND three weeping children snuffling into their mayonaissed sleeves. Good times.

But back to Boxcar: did you know he's the cousin of Tommy Lee Jones? YES.

Oh, and: the thing about Boxcar, "The World's Favorite Hobo"? He was in the US Air Force and was never, NOT EVEN FOR A SECOND, a hobo. Like, not at all. Never a hobo.

My favorite hobo is Rutger Hauer.

I don't even need to see "Hobo with a Shotgun" to know how much I love it. "When life gives you razorblades you make a bat covered with razorblades," someone says to Hobo+shotgun, which is pretty much the best quote in movie history. Except, maybe, for "I have to wash this guy's ass off my face," from the same work of genius.

I think we might have been happier little girls in the long run if we had had such alternate entertainment on those long-gone trips through the parched Canadian plains. Innocent shot-dead ponies in February prairie snowstorms made us think that God was mean, but guilty shot-dead corrupt cops, anti-hobo activists and snotty rich kids? There's your sense of divine justice right there, which is something we really could have used a sense of, what with that gassy poodle, the noxious clouds of cigarette smoke, and nothing but License Plate Bingo to divert our minds from our end-of-the-road doom: BORSCHT. The thought that, one day, someone was going to have to Answer to A Divine Authority  for pulling us out of our British Columbia lake and driving us 12 hours to a one-tree town that smelled of cabbage? That might have been the thought that would have sustained our now completely, irreparably sooty black souls.

Hey! Here's a good song about hobos, performed in a winery with a German name, just like Rutger's. I imagine you're amazed by how I did that, what with the multi-media pulling together of many hobo threads all blowin' in the wind. Worn Ragged, writing meaningfully of hobos since 2008.

1 comment:

  1. I still cannot grasp the concept of hobo, what the definition is. I am befuddled by the term Hipster as well. And I like that Logo.