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Popped eyes on the Swamp Thing at Garlits’ Rods and Rats event sometime last fall in Ocala. Went for a goof. Walked away with a goof. Undoubtedly the only goof like it in the world. Tell you straight off that Sylacauga Bates and son Wiggly dredged up out of Chassahowitzka, Florida, with this formidable rust barrel. “I wuz savin’ ‘nis for da rampage a ’09. But since it didn’t happen like we thought, we’d thoughta bringin’ it to de worl an’ lets peeples enjoy seein’ it,” Bates the Elder chortled. Without another word and already consumed by giggles and gibberish, he and sonny lumbered off to the beer stand across the way. Never saw them again.
No tech sheet, no bountiful conversation, nothing but what you see. Despite the images, you really can’t appreciate this oxidized bomb until you are flustered by and enamored with its advanced stage of decomp and the way the articles gathered to “finish” the piece have been arranged. The composition is one of natural fiber but mostly man-made (trash) wrapped in a gritty tortilla that is at once ingenious and humorous and country-fied.
Though its factory badges have long since departed, the outlines of same remain. We asked friend and MM resident historian Hemi Magneto to case the year. He said “Plymouth, 1939, I think. The same year that Hitler’s Wermacht blitzkrieg Poland and blanged out the official beginning of WWII.” Good enough for us, Hemi Dog.
As you can see, the zombie’s agglomeration represents a yard sale gone berserk. Folding chairs, license tag flooring, a cowboy boot, whoopee cushions, chandeliers and other household gems have united in an unlikely scenario. Some is like found art. Other is like a dream, bifurcated, fired and accelerated by pharmaceuticals and 151-proof rum. Yes, it is. It’s dirty and crusty and sick and wrong…but we love it for its candor, humor, unadulterated political incorrectness, and its nose-thumb at all NSRA-type bling wagons. Whoops! Time to get a hat outta Ocala!