The world is mad!
Admittedly, an extreme view. But from the haughty, extreme left? The corrosive, extreme right? Or something else altogether? Because, if liberals have a lunatic-fringe and conservatives have a lunatic-fringe, why can’t there be a lunatic-fringe of the center?
I have a theory, so please — as the nudist campers say — bare with me. (Not to be confused with “Bear with me,” which is what nudist campers scream when they wake up with a naked grizzly in their tent.)
Fringe was popularized by cowboys and mountain men who preferred fringey leather jackets and leather pants and leather horses. (In those days cowgirls and mountain women weren’t allowed to prefer anything except death.) Western men usually had fringe hanging off their sleeves, their pant legs and, in some states, their saddle bags.
The fringe look began as the aggressive fashion statement of overly heed he-men trying to mask low self-esteem. It said to the fringeless (in a New Jersey accent) “Look, fumblenuts. One more reference to a gay ranchero and your butt becomes a fringe-covered throw pillow. Kapeesh?”
Beyond style, men found numerous uses for fringe. Many’s the time out on the range they would cut off a strip of fringe to repair a broken buffalo. They might soak a strip of fringe in prairie steak sauce (dirt and horse sweat) and have it for dinner along with a three-hundred-bean salad and a quart of Johnny Walker brown. Or they just might stick some fringe up their nose for laughs at hangings and gunfights.
Today most people think of fringe as something far out on the margarines of acceptable discourse. Yet in cowboy/mountain man museums you see plenty-o-fringe across the chest and the backs of these jackets. Modern cow women even have fringe around the bottom of their skirts — although nose-packing by the gals remains an instant relationship-ender.
This hard evidence of real fringe in the center of real things supports the legality of metaphorical fringe in the middle of invisible things. C’mon, we all know people with middle fringe—and I don’t mean belly button lint.
In the crazoid center you find politically vacant geeks, goofs, nerds, talking geckos, hula hoop wholesalers, Zamboni heads, sports writers, religious nuts, mixed nuts, nutless nuts, pine nuts, (Harlan Pepper I’m talking to you) gerbil herders and members of both houses of the American Bowling Congress — give or take your average Joes, your Johnny-come-latelys, and your Mary Queen of Scotts.
The war cries of the fringe middle differ significantly from the huzzahs, the wuzzayoulookinatamywife and qwazzyfwiggingwabbit snarls of cwackpots left and right.
Lunatics of the fringe-right see middle fringies as girly men and menly girls compromised by a philosophy that emphasizes a delicious shake at breakfast and lunch followed by a sensible dinner and, maybe later on, some semi-annual Viagra action on the memory foam.
Left-leaning cuckoos say those who choose the middle of the road to fluff their fringe are little more than walking Kung Pao chickens without the chopsticks to specify no MSG.
Let’s say you’re in a bar, trying to get the bartender’s attention. The drooling, fringe right-winger shouts “Two Buds for two studs.” The fringe leftist asks politely, though firmly, for “An impertinent yet approachable Riesling with just a twig of underbrush, two ice waters — hold the ice — and a tankard of Bud Light Lime.”
Seeing this, the middle guy gets his fringe all in a knot and screams “The world is mad!” Guess who gets arrested for disturbing the peace?
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2016, all rights reserved.