Monday, July 14, 2008

Letter to the Pet Shop Guy

Dear Pet Shop Guy,

I was three when I bought a hermit crab from you. It was at the Pet Store at Greenville Mall which has now been torn down. You probably don’t remember me as it’s been twenty-eight years since I made the purchase or since my mom made the purchase of the crab that I had chosen. I probably also bought a container for them and some sand and food but I can’t recall that.

When we were checking out, you showed me, in a particularly off-handed fashion, how to hold the crab. You demonstrated that you did not need to take care and grab the shell between the tips of your fingers, but that the proper way was to cup your entire hand over the shell of the crab using your palm to stop up the opening.

I tended to the crab for a few months and it wasn’t very entertaining: it was more like a pet rock that occasionally showed mobility and emitted a foul but unique smell. I was also disappointed to find out that my abilities to communicate with animals through words and telepathy were not effective with the hermit crab. Until that point, I had communicated with horses, dogs, cats, squirrels, blue-gill bream, and the occasional robin. I suppose this lack of communication or any sort of relationship at all was the reason that when after months of getting my nerve up, I adopted your method of handling hermit crabs.

It worked it was amazing and I walked quickly to show my mother the miracle of the crab. As I walked through the dining room, the crab (I do not remember his name) probably frightened or suffocated by my gently cupping hand that he (or she) reacted and pinched the palm of my hand. I was startled and in pain and I flung the crab down like a detached yo-yo. The crab hit the wooden floor and his shell cracked perfectly in half. He was naked and injured and if you don’t think hermit crabs are very attractive in there shell then you should see one in the nude—it is not a pretty sight. The crab died and I cried and I felt guilty and I always have until yesterday when I was thinking about the incident and I realized that it in no small part had a lot to do with you and your rather irresponsible method of teaching a child, a small child the proper way to hold a hermit crab.

You should have been more careful, even if hermit crabs are shit pets.

Vic Demille

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wow, I like The Raconteurs?

Jack White lives in my hometown. Instead of using Nashville as an escape, a place to prop your feet up and rake in the money writing pop country and pop pop songs for the newest meal ticket, he came here, rooted down and pulled together what must surely be one of the finest rock and roll bands in the world right now. The really strange thing is that it's not all about Jack White.

The Raconteurs are a real band. Not a side project and not a vehicle for White's undeniable ability as an entertainer, he is, afterall, a real live Rock Star in this age of no-hit wonders. A few months ago, at a Bob Dylan show at The Ryman Auditorium, he graciously accepted a crown from our wise old man of man of American music when he received the largest applause of the night-- three times in a row. This is the thing that makes The Raconteurs so special. They stand on stage as equals. Brenden Benson matches Jack's tight-wound energy with a quiet cool that Levon Helm might even admire. Four part harmonies, a cracking rhythm section, fiddles and warm, warm tube amps. They play music that we've all heard before but never this way, folded into each other and new.

The music walks that imaginary line between the ancient and the modern, the familiar and the exotic. Like confederate campfire music played by The Electric Light Orchestra with Sly and Robbie putting down the groove. Its plywood and duct tape and apple pie. And that is beautiful. I'm going again tomorrow night at, and the only thing I wish was the John Peel was around to see this new thing Jack was up to.