Medical Tips for Bluegrass Fans
The popular image of bluegrass fans among those who know no better is that we are a pack of banjo-picking, sister-marrying, toothless idiots with absolutely no taste or decorum.
Of course nothing could be further from the truth. Not all of us play the banjo. But anyway, the world of bluegrass, especially the really really really neat world of bluegrass festivals, brings with it a unique blend of medical and survival hazards that civilians might not be prepared to deal with. To avoid head, back, and heart-aches—which are all well and good in bluegrass songs but not so hot when it is you yourself that has them—I offer the following list of tips, the result of 30 years of mis-spent youth (or “Utes!”, as my New York friends would say).
Never Trust a Can. Sure, it looks like a delicious, frosty cold can of Neiweilers. But more than once I have seen it turn out to be somebodies spit-can. You don’t want to know what a chug of Skoal tastes like (although the spearmint has piquant aftertaste much like, ummmmm…nuclear spearmint, I guess)
Find South! There is nothing more awesome than arriving at a campground in the cool of a summer’s eve, pitching your tent, icing down the beer (see page 138 of the novel for more of this stuff), then picking all night. The goodness of that scene pales next to the pain of awaking at 9 am after picking until 5am, baked alive in a tent which is about 128 degrees, with your head pounding and your mouth tasting like a nasty combination of rancid peanut butter, moonshine, deershit and English Leather. So do yourself a huge favor; figure out which way is south and then camp near a tree so you can’t see that way. Morning shade is worth a million bluegrass bucks on a miserably hot summer’s day, which is one of the three possibities for bluegrass festivals, the other two being freezing cold and driving rain.
Keep That Med Pack Stocked!
No veteran bluegrasser would set foot in a campground without the following meds: 1. Advil (the 100 pack at least). Useful for headaches, sore backs and legs from standing for 20 hours picking, carpal tunnel from same, twisted ankles because only a pansy would use a flashlight at night to get from one jam to the next, and other physical maladies brought on by the rigors of camp life.
2. Bromoseltzer. Now you can bravely accept a taste of the world’s hottest chili or some home-made dandelion wine, which incidentally tastes like, ummmmm….nuclear dandelions.
3. Sunscreen,because when it’s sunny out, it’s really really sunny.
4. Preparation H. For when you’re all set up and a bunch of bad pickers set up next to you. Or for the chili and wine in #2 above.
5. Rogaine, in case some country-western hat singer like Barth or Darth or whatever his name is sets up next to them. That bald shit is catching, and don’t let no doctor tell you otherwise.
6. Ointment. hehe. I don’t know what for–I just think that word is funny.
Never Sit for Long in a Campfire Despite the illusion engendered by eating nuclear cherries laced with shine, your butt is not made of asbestos, and your pants won’t be improved much by the fire (or “Far”, as some of us say.)
Don’t Drink and Drive….Golfcarts
They may look cute and all, but you can still do a world of hurt on some unsuspecting camper when you run ’em over with one. Best thing to do is to get a caddy to drive one around behind you, so you can use your 5 iron or your banjo on any particular song.
Coming soon: Festival Sports and the sports that love to play. The sports.