Something ain’t right in Anderson, South Carolina

Published 5:12pm Thursday, December 26, 2013

Having finally put up the tree with Bing Crosby serenading me from the stereo and feeling all cozily tucked up on the couch with a cup of tea, I wanted to write you a nice, cuddly, Christmas column. I really did.
But somebody just fell through the floor of a trailer in Anderson, S.C., and found a mummified body covered in cat litter, y’all.
Is it just me or is everybody privately wondering: what is with Anderson, S.C.? Do they not have cable or something? It seems like a perfectly pleasant area… I’ve driven through its most attractive downtown and found it utterly charming. Lake Hartwell, dividing the state line from Georgia, is, in itself, a reason to visit.
But it’s gotten to the point that every time Paul and I watch our local newscast and the lead story is something eye-poppingly violent or unbelievable, we turn to each other and declare, “Bet it’s in Anderson!”
And it generally is.
Look, every town has all kinds of crime now and again. But c’mon, attacking your husband with a garden cultivator because he sat at the computer playing Solitaire? That story was the first time my attention was twigged by news reports out of Anderson, S.C., followed by the man that was arrested after he parked a stolen vehicle outside the county sheriff’s office, while he went in and demanded the two grand that had been seized from him during his arrest from drug trafficking.
Mmmm, mmm, mm.
Even when the holidays rolled around it continued: “A man driving a float in the Anderson Christmas Parade was arrested and charged with drunken driving after he pulled out of the parade and sped off at speeds reported as high as 60 miles an hour. [The man was] charged with driving under the influence, as well as 18 counts of kidnapping and assault in connection with Sunday’s incident.”
Reports went on to say that those 18 kidnapping counts were the people riding on the float who, filled with terror, were dialing 911 for help.
I mean, there you are, taking part in something as innocent and fun as a Christmas parade, climbing up on the float with your buddies, all set to wave and bean people on the head with tootsie rolls you hurl into the crowd, while completely unaware that the driver has ingested whatever the heck is in the water in Anderson and is so loaded that he decides to pretend he’s drafting the float ahead of him at Darlington.
Now, before I get any hate mail from Anderson, let it be known that I lived in California for 15 years and I have had to suffer every joke known to man:
“Do you know why California is like a bowl of granola? Because it’s full of fruits and nuts.”
“You guys have four seasons in California: mud, fire, earthquakes and riots.”
And let me tell you, the Golden State had terrible crime, too but never committed with a cultivator or covered up with Tidy Cat. In California, you just took it for granted that at some point you’d be a victim of crime: either a carjacking or mugging or worse. For this reason, one’s tended to be hyper-sensitive to ones surroundings and use an awful lot of common sense: Don’t park in an empty garage, don’t ever park between two high-profile, i.e. vans or trucks, vehicles, don’t ever walk at night anywhere that wasn’t well lit – In fact, don’t ever walk, period.
That’s what makes Anderson so difficult to understand; it appears so normal. This quaint community seems as Mayberry as it can be.
That is, until you fall through the hole in your trailer.
And if you do fall through the hole in your trailer, please, for the love of Pete, don’t go on the local news excitedly describing the body parts you just saw as if describing a bucket of chicken. The deceased really deserves a bit more respect than that.
Anderson, I love you, I really do. But something ain’t right.
Something ain’t right at all…

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