Recently and accidentally I got in contact on the web with a scholar in England who had written an article on the depiction of white trash in horror films. I had noticed the connection myself. I am fond of horror films and think The Texas Chainsaw Massacre a masterpiece of its kind, featuring of course white trash cannibalizing people unfortunate enough to stop in their area. We traded, the scholar and I, a few more academic and theoretical emails. Then I wrote that, while of course the horror films exaggerate the violence of the white trash household, that violence did occur in such households. I went on to describe the various attempted homicides that had occurred in my family.
I never heard from the scholar again. What did she think: that I was going to go across the Atlantic and cannibalize here. Obviously, another dilettante academic who really has no idea what she is writing about.
Note first: the homicides were “attempted,” none proved successful, as of yet. One was even sort of an accident; had my brother killed my father he might have been tried for reckless endangerment, but that’s about it. Throwing a screw driver in the direction of a person’s head in a moment of rage could suggest reckless endangerment. But the screw driver missed and (twang!) stuck in the garage door next to my father’s head…just like in the movies.
Another attempt was mostly just a threat. My father was out front of the house trying to remove some side mirrors he had rented so that he could see around the trailer they had pulled on their vacation. But he was having trouble getting them off and flying into a rage began to strike the mirrors with a two pound hammer quite vigorously. When he began to strike the truck my mother went out and interposed her body between the truck and the hammer. Whereupon, my father said, get out of the way bitch or I will kill you. My mother must have believed it because she ran into the house and locked herself in my brother’s bedroom, so he might afford her protection if necessary.
When my father turned demented, he became more overtly and publically violent. He went around hitting people with his cane. He hit my brother’s father-in-law with it. My brother picked up my father and had him upon against the fence that separated the old man from a 30 foot fall onto rocks. Perhaps this too constitutes an attempt. In any case, my brother had to be restrained.
So I was worried a bit about my mother. Elders could I knew abuse each other, so I called to ask if she was afraid at all of my father’s behavior. Oh no, she said, he is afraid of me and went on to tell of the time she had gotten a large kitchen knife, gone into the bedroom where he was napping and attempted to plunge the knife into his chest. But at the last instant my father flung out his arm; the knife hit the arm bone and its tip broke off. Another botched attempt, though penetration had been effected and there was a good deal of blood. “Funny,” she said, “he wrapped up his arm and never said a word about it.”
Apparently, according to my very unreliable mother, another brother who has spent more time tending to the elders’ needs that anybody, very recently attempted to kill her. I didn’t ask about the details. But it seemed to involve having been nearly strangulated by some band of material that is used to stabilize a person in his or her wheelchair but had in this instance gotten up around her neck somehow.
I think this is an outright lie.
I wonder has anybody ever killed anybody simply because that person annoyed one to death?