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Stoned on laughing gas and thick-tongued from Novocain, I said “Lawren-th-burg” when the dentist asked where I’m from.
“Oh, I have friends from Lawrenceburg,” she said, the cruel whirl of the drill screaming in my ears as she leaned in to fix a troublesome tooth. “They’re always sending me that goofy newspaper with all the weird stuff in it.”
Despite being high as a Georgia pine, my drug-addled mind shifted my swollen mouth into neutral just in time to stifle a smart remark of my own, let alone tell her that I work for that “goofy” newspaper.
Back in my truck and headed home with drool leaking from the corner of my very sore mouth, I wondered just where some smarty-pants dentist from Shelbyville gets off cracking wise about my newspaper.
“That’th ridiculouth,” I said aloud while wiping Diet Mt. Dew from my chin. “I bet she hathn’t ever even theen the thith newthpaper.”
Or perhaps she has.
A couple of weeks later I saw a link on Facebook to a story headlined “28 Reasons Kentucky Is The Weirdest State In The Country.”
Some wit at a website called BuzzFeed.com had nothing better to do than spend time culling odd news articles from websites in Kentucky and, as you probably guessed, a story from Lawrenceburg appeared No. 1 on the list.
There was Lawrenceburg’s own Harvey Westmoreland, the man who gained worldwide fame after The Anderson News broke the story about him being forced to eat his own beard.
In case you missed it, Harvey got into a dispute with a man about a lawnmower that ended with Harvey being forced to chow down on his own facial hair.
That story spawned everything from straight news accounts in the New York Times to rap music videos set to Harvey telling his story on TV.
Harvey, or someone pretending to be Harvey, even got in on the Twitter craze and created an account called @eatmybeard. It’s doubtful Harvey did that because the photo is a screen shot from one of his appearances on TV.
Still, the stuff he supposedly tweeted out is fairly humorous, including: “I ain’t interested in no book deal. Please stop calling.”
I groaned when further down the list I saw yet another story that appeared in this paper about the poor fellow from Waddy whose doctor lopped off his penis without his consent.
Thankfully those were the only two that made the list, but I can’t help but think others, including a couple in this week’s paper, would probably make anyone’s “weird” list, too.
Such as the story on this week’s front page about the teenagers who were ordered to clean their own feces off the restroom walls in the park, as well as the Frankfort guy who allegedly drove drunk to the state police barracks to report that someone had stolen items from his home.
Or previous ones that appeared in this paper, including the cable repairman who showed up drunk to fix the sheriff’s Internet connection.
Seems my dentist has a point, but I’m not convinced that makes Lawrenceburg “weird” or The Anderson News especially “goofy.”
I’ve lived and worked in nearly a dozen locations from west Texas to Great Britain, and have never found a shortage of odd news articles readily available for anyone willing to dig them up.
And while those stories might not always paint a community in the best of lights, they do show that real people who sometimes do unusual things are a part of any community — some of which are able to laugh at themselves and move on.
Lawrenceburg is one of those places and I’ve never been prouder to call a place such a wonderful place home.