search instagram arrow-down
Follow The Elrod Chronicle on WordPress.com

Follow me on Twitter

Read Prior Posts

God, Guns, & Porn

This past Memorial Day weekend, my family and I drove from Atlanta to Orlando. It had been 32 years since I last made the drive down Interstate 75 into the heat and humidity of Florida. Back in 1988, my good friend Marshall and I made the trek down to Florida to celebrate his high school graduation in what would become a memorable trip for a couple of high school buddies.

Some stories from that trip still live on in our collective consciousness simply because of the sheer brazenness of our youth. For instance, we were walking near the beachfront in Daytona beach when a drug dealer approached us and asked us if we wanted to buy some coke. Back then I was a smart ass (okay, I still am), so I responded that I preferred Pepsi because, for some reason, I thought that’d be funny. Luckily, Marshall ushered me out of there before my mouth got my ass kicked or worse. Back at the hotel a short time later we laughed about it; although, Marshall’s laugh was a nervous one.

Needless to say, this trip was more benign. The passage of three decades will do that to you. The drive hasn’t changed much. It’s still boring as hell. South Georgia offers nothing that is worth recommending in terms of sights. One is left to stare at the endless billboards that litter the side of the freeway as bugs commit suicide on the car windshield.

At least the billboards offered some entertaining contradictions as we sped through the raining insects. As I sat in the passenger seat while my teenage daughter absorbed her first road-trip driving experience, I amused myself by reading the billboards. I couldn’t do much else, like read a book, while my daughter drove because I had to be prepared to spout a dad-ism about driving at a moments notice. That’s too much pressure to relax and read a book.

Anyway, the billboards. If they offer any insight into the local zeitgeist, it’s a confusing one. There were numerous billboards for “the world’s largest” adult bookstore and a cafe centered around a stripper pole. Both emphasized the fact that they had ample truck parking. The locals must love their truckers.

I found the trucker fascination a little humorous when it came to the spas that apparently dot the interstate. They too have ample parking for truckers. Now, I’m not a spa patron, but I’ve seen the spas my wife goes goes to, and I’ve never seen a semi parked out front while the driver gets a mani-pedi. I could be wrong, but these spas may be a little different.

The selling of sex certainly piqued my interest, but my attention shifted as the billboards grew in number and audacity. I noticed a plethora of gun-related billboards. It’s no surprise that Southerners love their guns. When I was growing up in the South, just about every hillbilly had more guns than he had teeth. That affinity hasn’t changed as the billboards attest, but I couldn’t help but see the sex connection because instead of some toothless redneck toting an assault rifle that he used to hunt squirrels, there was an attractive woman firing a machine gun at an unseen target while encouraging drivers to stop and take a gander.

We passed on the machine gun, but just when my testosterone-fueled masculinity reached its peak, the billboards threw some cold water on me with a series of holier-than-thou religious billboards. Southerners excel at good, old-fashioned religious guilt, and these billboards broke out all of the trite cliches. Never mind that the series of billboards I had just read encouraged me to purchase illicit sex and kill something.

I don’t remember what the billboards were advertising 32 years ago when I first made this drive. Maybe they were similar back then too, or maybe, I’m just a lot more cynical now. Some things never change.

Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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

%d bloggers like this: