Some years back, when LSU football was going through a meh stretch, and the Tigers had lost in agonizing fashion to one hated rival or another, a fellow native Louisianian was in despair.
My wife, trying to be encouraging, said something platitudinous on social media . . . you know, like "The sun will come up in the morning, and this, too, shall pass. So count your blessings, bucko."
Midwesterners. They're so frickin' earnest.
My fellow expat friend was having none of that bullshit.
"You don't understand," she said. "Football. It's all we got."
We Louisianians damn grew up in Trumpworld -- we just didn't know what to call it then. It's not like anyone was going to spend the money or give two shits enough to build a world-class university the Tigers could be proud of.
IT'S NOT LIKE, magically, government would generally work and voters would generally care.
It's not like the K-12 school system wouldn't always rank somewhere around dead last in the country.
It's not like the poor wouldn't always be with us, always be killing one another, always be hopeless and always have Bubba -- who had a union job at the chemical plant and would die of cancer in about 20 years -- blame the poor for their mean estate.
But goddammit, the LSU Tigers always had a shot. Except when they didn't.
It's all we got.
Folks in places like Nebraska don't get that. If the Nebraska Cornhuskers were magically transported to my home state, along with all their fans, in their present losing condition . . . well, "Nebraska" would supplant "Jonestown" in the Grim Reaper's thesaurus.
SO, YOU ASK. What's this have to do with the Big Show, with 3 Chords & the Truth?
Well, Cap, we all live in Trumpworld now. And we're all learning that, no, it's not darkest just before the dawn. It's darkest just before it gets even darker.
It's suckiest just before the president gets all jiggy with his Twitter account and commits witness harassment against one of his own ambassadors who -- at that very moment -- is testifying at his House impeachment hearing. And then things get even worse.
And then you learn to hang on to what you got. For as long as you can.
In the Gret Stet, that's football. And great food. And a rich culture. And a world-class musical tradition.
Being educated, having long lives and a minimally functioning government, with good roads and shit . . . not so much.
Louisiana will always have gumbo, Russia will always have great vodka, Catholics will always have the Sistine Chapel (I think), and America will always have what was the most amazing patrimony on earth -- until it all went to shit.
ME, I'M CLINGING to 3 Chords & the Truth. I look on the program as a flashlight in the darkness, a nod to musical truth, a tribute to what we had . . . and a hope that this present darkness just might be the precursor to dawn after all.
I guess that Pollyanna-ish Midwestern optimistic crap might be starting to rub off on me after 30-something years.
It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.