Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 011.07.05



Last week, my local Vermont paper published its first annual list of Windham County's "Influential People." "I" wasn't included.

I know that there are legions of my fans out there preparing to storm the offices of the Brattleboro Reformer but I say: "Hold hard thy burning torches and pitchforks my people, this was probably just an oversight." Inexcusable perhaps, but an oversight nonetheless.

First of all, some of the quotes, hobbies, interests, and last-read books by some of the Influential People were surely science fiction.

One Poindexter said that the last book he read was "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information." I looked it up on Amazon and a notation said that nobody had ever read this book. It was written by a computer program called "Micro-dust" and was intended to be read only by other computers.

Another said her last book was "Red Tails in Love." I thought that had possibilities but it turned out to be about birds.

Worse were the hobbies of some of our Influenzas.

One said his hobby was "helping people realize their dreams." Another said "helping the less fortunate." (Picture the universal finger down throat and retching sign here.)

C'mon those aren't hobbies, those are lies you put on your resume when you are applying for Pope.

In order to forestall a community uprising I have decided to nominate myself as an influential Windham citizen and conduct the interview personally.

Birth Date: March 16, 1948

How I would describe myself: A subtle student of life, wise, charming and a role model for those who are themselves role models.

Personal Achievements: Once shoved 35 M&M's up my nose.

Pet Peeve(s): hookworm, George Bush, funky-tasting gag balls.

Hobbies: Internet porn, fat stogies, beer, fishing. (sometimes simultaneously)

Personal Quote: Austin family motto: "When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles scream and shout."

Favorite TV Show(s) : Family Guy, Pimp My Ride.

Best Advice You Can Give Someone: Don't even try to cash a check at the dog track. Also, searching the floor for a winning ducat is a waste of time.

Personal Hero: Bubba "Skeeter" Pong, the white guy that troublemaker Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for.

Why is this person a hero to you? Bubba stood up all the way to his stop and he didn't sue the bus line. A great American. In addition he wrote "Blast Them Suckers" the definitive work on dynamite fishing. He also had the courage to wear a paper hat to work.

The global question that most needs answering: Who would win a fight between Dr. FuManchu and Ming the Merciless?

Most Recent Book Read: See above.

What is your fondest wish? I hold out hope that one day Afghanistan will invade the USA, overthrow the theocracy and plant the seeds of a real democracy.