Friends in Low Places

Blame it all on my roots, I showed up in boots.” – Garth Brooks, “Friends in Low Places”

Ever have a song tweedle around in your brain so long that it seems like a message from God? I mean, not really, but everything that happens seems to have relevance to that song after a while?

One time everything in my life came back to a Billy Ray Cyrus reference – for, like, a week. Now it’s Garth Brooks. And I don’t even listen to County Music. Except Johnny Cash, but let’s face it, The Man in Black transcends genre.

At first I thought, “Aha! I will write a post about Garth Brooks and Goetia. Friends in Low Places, indeed!”

Then the (admittedly precariously placed) Midori fell from the part-of-the-liquor-cabinate-that-I-don’t-drink-but-keep-stocked-for-guests. I rekon the Kim Kardashian demons didn’t like that idea. So rather than being quippy, I thought better of it and decided to jot down all the places where Garth has already interjected himself into my young week.

Something made me look up the lyrics to “Friends in Low Places.” But I don’t remember what. I had made a joke and said, “Well, I do have friends in low places.” That’s how it seems to have started. It turns out that the song isn’t as apt as I originally thought.

You see, in our house, “friends in low places” has nothing to do with poor “social graces”; it means: “friends who will metaphorically shank a bitch for you, metaphorically dispose of the body, and never ask any questions.” That’s pretty absolute. You see, The Bad Husband and I are from a rough neighborhood.[1] The way it was back then, alliances required unconditional loyalty with no trepidations whatsoever. Or somebody got killed. Not metaphorically. Folks from The Neighborhood understood being protected by other’s loyalty. Back in The Neighborhood, everyone knew that loyalty must be unequivocally reciprocal.

Unless they turn out to be Fish from Barney Miller.[2] Or if they take a swing at a made-man. Then it’s just business. If you are lucky, you “spend the rest of [your] life like a schnook” in the Witness Protection Program.[3] If you’re careless, you end up in a toll plaza.

And nobody invited the forfeiture of such protection. My mother retells a story of death-threats against me when I was an infant. Even babies can be marks. It’s like that. Good thing my Daddy had friends in low places. You see, The Bad Daddy was a Teamster from the late 50s until the late 80s. That’s a whole post in and of itself, if I were allowed to discuss it.[4] Yea, yea. The man who spits chaw and says things like, “Well, I rekon you might not oughta done’at,” once had a fine pension plan. Once.

This is just to say that I know a thing or two about the line of fire and offers that cannot be refused. I understand loyalty in terms of non-fiction mafia, not in terms of a pop-culture-based concoction, or otiose solipsistic metaphor for venal allegiances. This isn’t the movies for me. And loyalty is ironclad or it’s nothing at all. I don’t trust easily, but when and if I do, it’s a pretty big deal.

The morning after this protracted conversation with The Bad Husband, I had an old Witchy friend contact me. It seemed out of the blue to me but for her it was a long time coming. She reminded me of a joke we used to have about Moe Green from The Godfather – which, in conversation, connected back to the Brooks song. This wouldn’t be so odd if The Bad Hubby and I had not been discussing both Brooks and the ethics of Wiseguy-friendship just the night before.

Anyway, I must have been line-dancing in my sleep because I woke up with “Friends in Low Places” still tumbling around in my brain. And something my old friend, Dora, said to me hit home delayed but hard: “Ehsha, when you have to dig for the good in people, you are digging, not rising.”

A different case of friends in low places. Well, feck me. 

Ever read Gavin DeBecker’s The Gift of Fear? He wrote that about cases like me. Not in physical encounters, mind you; I react pretty defensively when I feel bad juju from someone’s physical proximity. I’m talking about interpersonal encounters. I am a great judge of character; the instant I meet folks, I know if they are groovy or bunkum. Know what I do? I proceed to ignore my instincts. I may not trust ’em, but I give everybody the benefit of the doubt. I give everybody the chance to suck me dry and toss me overboard. All while I’m looking for the “good” in them.

This is not me trash-talking. This is me admitting that I effed-up in a big way. A marathon eff-up. The good news is, the Olympics are over. The torch is out. But not until after I willfully spent a good long time “digging” for the good in people. I never found it, by the way. And in the meantime I dug myself into a hole instead of rising to my (dare I say it) Higher Self.

Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Digging the same damn hole and expecting to find treasure?

During my morning ritual, I acted on this revelation. There’s more to it then that, of course. But I don’t kiss and tell when it comes to Magic. you know that. I practically heard something I can only describe as the prolonged riiiiiiip of a zip-lock bag being opened. When I came back to the banal world I found that I had seven – yes seven – separate social and spiritual engagements, all with folks who don’t require digging, all within a week, all within five miles from home. There are two more with dates TBD. This flood of instantaneous blessings immediately following my acquiescence to True Will seems to have happened before (See “Kith and Kin”).[5] Will I learn my lesson this time?

If I just stand out of my own best interest’s way . . .

And, as counterintuitive as it seems, quit digging for the good in folks.

Have a shot of Absolut Peppar on The Bad Witch, eh?

B, Q, 93,


P.S. I know I waxed on about the people I love last month; but can I take another minute and thank Aubs, Cin, Pixiecraft, Camylleon, Amy, SB, and Freeman for not making me dig? Ever. At all.

[1] He and I grew up two blocks from each other and went to the same grammar school – but, I moved before high school, so we didn’t meet until we were 18 and 24.

[2] The Bad Husband and one of our pals have an ongoing Facebook joke. The Hubby has a knack for “calling” celebrity deaths. We call him The FB Reaper. She tells him, “You’ll never get Vigoda!”

[3] Henry Hill’s parting thoughts. Goodfellas. Dir. Martin Scorsese. Perfs. Ray Liotta, Robert DiNero, Joe Pesci. 1990.

[4] You thought the O.T.O. was secretive? The O.T.O. never made a family “stay below the windows.”

[5] And, aside from my giving in, there seems to be another common denominator. If it’s been instigated by the same thing as before, this illuminates the “inexplicable” breaking of my fire talisman yesterday.

8 comments on “Friends in Low Places

  1. Cin says:

    Aww ❤ ❤ ❤ 🙂 ~hugs~

    I'm glad you are connecting with your people! And the good people!

    My sister and I actually danced to that Garth Brooks song at my wedding. Our Daddy was country so we can yoddle a country tune no problem. But for me its about knowing where I came from. Sure I have a jaded and cynical past that taught me trusting is hard… but I learned that if I can throw myself in and follow my instincts its good. I have less issues with being burned.

    🙂 Course sometimes I have to pick myself up and say "well fuck, that was dumb" But that's part of learning.

  2. Aubs Tea says:

    You could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw my name mentioned! As I said to one of my other friends, “I GOT AN HONORABLE MENTION AT TBW.” XD

    I make the mistake of looking for the good in people all the time. And I definitely do mean a mistake. Sure, I have the same instinctual belief that this person is “not a good person” but I keep looking for the good in them as well. This explains almost my entire married life with my ex-husband almost down to a T and the friendships that arose from that marriage (almost all of them, anyway). So, in a word, “Yep.” I completely understand where you’re coming from here.

    Also, as an aside because it’s been festering in my head since I read this earlier… My current man of the hour has a family with connections like the ones you talk about. This generation is curiously out of it, but the generation before and the one before that… Mm-hmm. And the funniest thing is that his Italian side (wholly connected in scary ways) do not ascribe to that but the non-Italian side? Entirely in the middle of it.

  3. I show up in boots, too. Both of my parents started out as sharecroppers.

  4. Camylleon says:


    Ah…you’re writing my story here. Not so much the personal danger part…but the friends in low places, etc…*definitely*

    I was raised in a nice, safe suburban home…*but* not by parents from a nice, safe, suburban environment. Nope. Not even close. Mom’s family is blue-collar river folk along the Mississippi (Iowa area) (GGrandpa was also a Teamster…worked for the Powder Works. Needless to say, he wasn’t a smoker…) and Texas cowboys (plus one outlaw that I’m ashamedly “proud” of). Dad’s immediate family were farmers as well but had a blue collar background very similar to my Mom’s. Hubby’s 3rd generation Southside Chicago Polish. You probably know what I’m talking about there. Very…um…*family* centered…*cough* At any rate, we were raised with those ideals. Neither of us has Suburbanitis.

    I’m not a CNW listener myself…(altho I agree COMPLETELY with you, the Man in Black is NOT country nor western. He transcends alllllll genre, and I listen to him unashamedly…) However, “Friends in Low Places,” is Hubby & I’s big dance song. It’s “our song,” I guess, as much as we ever had one.

    I do the same exact thing you do. I’m always seeing that bright spark in people and trying…so hard…to get it to come out and play. Only to end ultimately frustrated and wounded from the effort. And yet I continue over, and over, and over…

    I’m trying to learn, seriously! I’ve actually been a bit reclusive lately, introspecting on this very same problem. WHY do I feel the need? WHY? *sigh*

    Glad you’ve got mad peeps around you…proving that there is intelligent life on earth after all…:-)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s