"I'm singin' it to the tune of The Beverly Hillibillies! 'Western Buckles is the place you ought to be so they loaded up the truck and they moved to Tallahassee. Florida that is. Buckin' bulls, buckle babes.'"
The song itself was probably written by some Hollywood guy in the '60s. The pathetic lyrics came from Jerrod Campbell, a man who took a notion to the fact that his name was a lot like that famous and rich oil man, Jed Clampett. So this horrible takeoff on the Beverly Hillbillies theme was just his latest, feeble attempt to milk his likeness-in-name for all he could. Some people impersonate (and are obsessed with) Elvis or Marilyn Monroe or even my favorite, Sammy Davis, Jr. But Jerrod's obsession is with Jed Clampett. Personally, I think my buddy has a little too much time on his hands.
2.25" x 3.75"
"Jerrod," I said, "that was the worst song I've heard in all my grizzled years!"
"Well, I like it," he said, innocently. "I'm going to use it to claw my way up to selling western buckles for every store and infomercial there is! You'll see, G.B. You are lookin' at a star whose light hasn't yet reached earth. I am going to sell thousands of western buckles. I'm thinking I'll approach that Gold Mountain Trading first."
I sat there on the barrel, quiet for a beat or so. And then just a moment longer.
"Jerrod, I'm right here, grounded to Planet Earth, and the only light I'm seein' are those flashing from that ambulance I see comin' your way. Western buckles my ass!"
Besides his obsession with a fictional character, the other thing you have to know about Jerrod Campbell is his obsession with western buckles. It doesn't matter what kind of western buckles, he loves all kinds. Western buckles as trophy buckles, western buckles as figure buckles, and western buckles in all sorts of finishes. And, especially, those beautiful ones from Gold Mountain Trading.
"I think I like western buckles in black nickel best!" he said. "Well, now wait, I might be wrong about that. I sure love those colored western buckles, too."
I had nothing to say. I mean, really who cares?
"See, I'm a gonna be all done up in my Jed Clampett get up and march on down there to Gold Mountain Trading and show 'em what for."
"Jere," I said, exasperated, "Jed Clampett never wore western buckles!"
Jerrod stared at me, disbelieving, shaking his head to and fro.
"What do you take me for, G.B.? Some kind o' dummy? You don't think I know that Jed never wore western buckles?"
"Well, I don't know what to think," I said. In my mind I was actually wondering how it is that this guy has been successful at keeping his marriage afloat for the last ten years.
Jerrod said, "The thing is, Jed Clampett should have wore western buckles."
"It's 'worn,'" I said.
"It's 'worn' not 'wore'"
Sorry, I'm just one of them guys who can't stand bad grammar.
"Whatever! Don't you get it? Jed Clampett should have wore western buckles so I'm going to be bringin' him into this here 21st Century. Those folks down there are Gold Mountain Trading are gonna be like "Whoa! Check him out he's like Jed Clampett but all cowboy-like! Jed Clampett with western buckles let's put him in all our advertisements. I'm tellin' ya, G.B., I am gonna make a killing at this western buckles thing."
His whole idea, of course, was ludicrous. I don't need to explain why. But I've always believed that in these United States of Ideas, it's not the idea that makes you rich but how much you believe in it. Didn't Colonel Sanders try and sell his finger lickin' goodness for something like 10 years before anyone gave a hoot? And I've gotta say, when Jerrod Campbell - goofy as he is - gets his mind set on something, it's set in granite.
"It doesn't matter what I think about your Hillbilly Western Buckles idea," I told him. Lookin' him square now, "What matters is that you believe in your Hillbilly Western Buckles idea. I truly mean what I'm sayin' to you, Jerrod."
Finally, the man got relaxed a bit. He had been all jizzed up on his western buckles / Hillbillies idea and knew that everyone would think him more than a bit loony. But hearing my acceptance went a long way to getting him settled down a bit. But I did have one question.
"Why Gold Mountain Trading? What's with this outfit vis a vis your western buckles?" I asked.
"Have you ever been up to their store?"
"No, where is it?"
"Somewhere's out there Arizona way, off the interstate. They have the finest selection of western buckles you'll ever see. And they sell 'em to folks all over the world from their website, Gold Mountain Trading. Did I ever tell you that there's a Beverly Hillbillies fan club in Austria?"
"Okay, well now you see, don't you?" he asked. I really didn't, but that's besides the point.
"The folks at Gold Mountain Trading are the experts at western buckles. They know all about western buckles because western buckles is who they are and what they do. I'm gonna march in there in my full Jed outfit, sportin' their buffalo buckle and start singin' my buckin' bulls song. They'll want to pay me big bucks right then and there to sign a contract for bein' their western buckles spokesman!"
You know, it just