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Commentary by William Carter: Surviving killer iguanas in Our Town

There are a whole bunch of things I like about living in town and Our Town in particular.

A Choco-Taco craving can be alleviated in mere minutes and our house is well within hearing distance of a tornado-warning siren. My ever present obsessive/compulsive itch to count things is constantly scratched by the tide of 1,809,612 construction barrels engulfing Our Town and not once, ever, have I witnessed the shelves at my neighborhood Publix to be bare of Cheez-its … the perfect food.

Our Town’s blatantly ungovernable government officials are a constant source of entertainment and amusement and if I get tired of the same old local history, it’s never too long before someone decides to change it to meet the needs of those who like to change things to meet their needs. It always gladdens my heart to see that the developers and rainbow-and-unicorn salesmen in Our Town are still treated with all the fawning and slobbering respect they’ve grown accustomed to from Our Leaders and I haven’t, in my 30-plus years here, been attacked by iguanas.

So, its damn-near perfect and I am proud to have chosen Our Town to call Home and the incubator in which to grow into the fat, bald, middle-aged, equal opportunity pain-in-the-butt provocateur I am today.

However, there ARE a few things that are NOT so great about living in town, not the least of which is that I happen to think it would be pretty cool to survive an iguana attack because I fantasize sometimes about holding court surrounded by a bunch of drunken sycophants in a seedy bar who want to hear – just one more time – about how I out-witted a herd of vicious, Chihuahua-sized reptiles using only my street-smarts and a sock-puppet decoy. Oh, and in my fantasy I’m wearing an intricately carved, leather eye-patch, too. I don’t know why.

But probably one of the worst things about living in suburbia is that there are really no places – even in my own yard – to pee outside in broad daylight in total privacy.

Now before anybody gets any weird ideas about me, you need to know I don’t necessarily want to go around peeing outside in broad daylight, I’d just like the option of doing so without offending my neighbors. Another thing you need to know is that I was born and raised in an area surrounded by vast tracts of undeveloped acreage and farmland; the same type of landscape that has always afforded most rural Americans the luxury of not giving a second thought to doing, outside, what comes naturally to all living human beings. So I’m pretty sure that my longing to do what I want to do but haven’t, yet – at least since I’ve lived in suburbia – is a genetic memory thing and, therefore, something I probably shouldn’t be held legally accountable for if I happened to succumb to my urges.

Something else all you judgers who have never been fortunate enough to have gazed up into a star-lit sky or out over a mist-shrouded morning while doing what we all have to do at least a couple of times a day need to know before you start judging me is that during my formative years, peeing on things outdoors was also vastly entertaining.

I remember peeing on a multitude of toads when I was a kid for no other reason than that they were there. I don’t mean there were multiple toads in one place at one time, but, rather, I peed on a lone toad on many different occasions. Whether or not it was the same toad every time is something I can’t swear to … but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t.

The only real regret I have about peeing on things that couldn’t fight back was the one time at my Aunt Bessie’s house when I went with Mama to get in the way while she and Aunt Bessie killed chickens the old-fashioned way most of y’all can’t imagine and probably wouldn’t want to hear about anyway. I was only five or so and stood mesmerized out in the yard surrounded by what seemed to me to be a million chickens when the one chicken all the others picked on walked up and tilted its head and looked at me. It was featherless and scab-ridden and hoping, I guess, for a friend but I peed on it and, I swear, that chicken just slumped its shoulders and sighed as if resigned to being pecked and peed on all its life.

I’ve felt bad about it ever since.

The moral of this column is to never, ever sit down an hour before deadline with no idea what you’re going to write about.

Sometimes it doesn’t turn out so pretty.


William Carter is a longtime Franklin city employee and published author.  He may be contacted at


Posted on: 7/12/2013


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