American Stud: Larry Flynt
When I was a kid who would misbehave, talk back and generally speak my truth to authority figures who would do their best to control me, my parents always had a threat which I think was fairly unique. They didn’t promise to ground me, or take away my books & toys; they didn’t tell me I was upsetting my mother, or God, or anyone really. Their tactic, which was more effective than they probably realized at the time, was one that in retrospect, probably works on a lot of adults too. In fact, there are still times when I am planning on my next course of action in any wide variety of circumstances when I still hear them warning me that “If you don’t learn to watch your mouth, you’re going to end up like Larry Flynt”. At the time, I wasn’t really sure what they meant. I mean, I knew Larry Flynt was the guy who made the magazines my dad hid under his bed, and I knew some nutjob had shot him for some nutjob reason, but that was about all the context my young brain could formulate. Which I think made the proposition all the more terrifying. “Talk back and you’ll end up like Larry. Question us, your teachers, the police, or anyone of authority, and you could end up like Larry. If you flaunt your own personal beliefs to the masses, you will end up shot and rotting in a stinking wheelchair, just like Larry Flynt”. To a child, or at least this child, it was a truly terrifying prospect. My big mouth is really all I have as a person. I’m a “man of many thumbs”, or at least that’s how my friends who are handy like to describe my abilities to construct, maintain or repair. I’m not insanely athletic, have no way of expressing myself artistically, and my work ethic (for anything that doesn’t interest me) is hot garbage. All I know how to do is bitch, complain, criticize, joke and generally ramble. I can dissect ideas like Quincy with a corpse, and in this world, there is nothing that upsets people more. In fact, sometimes I wonder if my parents were threatening me by telling me I was going to get myself shot, or if they were genuinely attempting to keep me safe in my older years, as they could see what sort of mouthy adult I was going to grow into.