Comedian, musician, podcaster and Nashvillian Chris Crofton asked the Scene for an advice column, so we gave him one. Crowning himself the “Advice King,” Crofton will share his hard-won wisdom with whosoever seeks it. Follow Crofton on Facebook and Twitter, and to submit a question for the Advice King, email bestofbread[at]gmail[dot]com or editor[at]nashvillescene[dot]com.
Dear Advice King,
Are you excited about In-N-Out Burger coming to Tennessee? Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced it this week. Is it just me, or does it seem like his only job is to announce the arrival of corporations to Tennessee? What is the difference between that and doing a commercial? Isn’t he supposed to be making policies? Please explain.
—Erin in Dickson, Tenn.
Hi, Erin. Thanks for the question.
Bill Lee refuses to expand Medicaid. That’s all you need to know about him — he’s a sadist. Refusing to expand Medicaid in a state that is using taxpayer money to help build sports stadiums is sadism, pure and simple. Tennessee is one of just 10 states that won’t expand it — all states with Republican governors. It’s a stunt, intended to imply “fiscal responsibility.” It’s a vicious stunt that costs lives, in a country with a near-trillion-dollar defense budget. It’s absolutely disgusting.
The moneyed class's vision for America is something along the lines of, “Cheeseburgers for the strong, the gutter for the weak.” But the “strong” (i.e., fortunate — like, say, people who inherit huge ranches) won’t even let the “weak” (i.e., less fortunate — like, say, people who don’t inherit huge ranches) live in the gutters. They force them out of everywhere, so they don’t have to face them.
Cheeseburgers. What made me think of cheeseburgers? Oh yeah …
To answer one of your questions, there is no difference between a press conference about In-N-Out Burger and a commercial for In-N-Out Burger. They’re the same. Also, in a state with such shitty health care (10 percent of Tennesseans have no health insurance at all) and where heart disease is the leading cause of death (sixth-highest rate in the nation), a governor getting so excited about a fast-food chain is flat-out DUMB.
And yes, Bill Lee should be making policies. In-N-Out Burger having a “corporate hub” (my guess is it has something, ahem, to do with Tennessee’s lack of a state income tax) in Franklin (a wealthy suburb of Nashville) isn’t a policy, and it isn’t going to be a game-changer for the State of Tennessee — THE 10TH POOREST STATE IN AMERICA.
Am I excited about In-N-Out Burger coming to Tennessee? No. I don’t care about restaurants. I only care about Trader Joe’s. Also, In-N-Out is overrated. It’s the “More Cowbell” of fast food. People just like saying “In-N-Out.” They like it so much that they can’t stop saying it. Certain governors have press conferences just so they can say it. It’s a disorder, in my opinion. The only things Americans like saying as much as “In-N-Out Burger” are “In-N-Out Burger”-related: “Animal Style” and “Double Double.”
Americans also like saying “fan fiction” and “Blue Chip Stocks.”
Today, a Lyft driver picked me up from the Nashville airport. He told me that he and his wife are currently living in a motel room. She was injured in a fall a few years ago, and is confined to a wheelchair. She receives a small disability payment each month. It would be more, he said, but she was deemed “fit to work.” He said that she would love to work, but that she can’t find a job. They’ve been married 40 years.
The man told me that he has to drive long hours every day just to pay for the room. He wasn’t looking for sympathy, by the way. He only told me this stuff because I asked him. He didn’t want my money, either. But I gave him some.
He told me that he wanted better policies — not stadiums, not In-N-Out Burger, not handouts, but policies. Humane governance. And he said he didn’t think it was too much for a taxpayer to ask. I agreed.