Comedian, musician, host of Chris Crofton's Advice King Podcast and former 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,
I just read that Nashville is finally thinking about cracking down on “pedal taverns.” A few years back the city had to ban these things during evening rush hour and the morning commute. Why do we have any of this shit? Is there a compelling reason I’m not aware of? Can I sell whippits in a gorilla suit during rush hour?
—Dean in Nashville
You can definitely sell whippits in a gorilla suit. Nothing says “country music” like whippits. The Carter Family loved nitrous. And gorillas. Maybelle Carter had a pet gorilla named Dobro. He played a fairly recognizable version of “There’s a Hole in My Bucket” on the bugle to kick off every Opry broadcast. He was also an avid poker player, and won many (human) tournaments. Dobro died of natural causes in 1961, and is buried underneath the stage at the Ryman Auditorium. He was buried with full gorilla honors.
If she were alive, Maybelle Carter would be disappointed to hear that Nashville was regulating one of its oldest, most recognizable traditions.The only thing Maybelle liked better than nitrous and her pet gorilla was riding through rush hour traffic (with the gorilla, and the bugle) on a pedal tavern. According to the Ken Burns documentary Country Music, “The gorilla’s trumpet echoed through the canyons of Nashville’s downtown, seeming to announce an exciting new epoch.”
Nashville’s first settlers arrived on pedal taverns. Woodrow Wilson triumphantly rode a pedal tavern through downtown Nashville after he won the presidential election of 1912.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Some of that was made up.
I just realized that many of my readers — those living in normal cities that take their citizens’ quality of life seriously, for example — might not even know what a pedal tavern is!
A “pedal tavern” is a replica of a bar with wheels on it. People sit at the “bar” and drink alcohol, and move it by pedaling. IN TRAFFIC. This is real. The “tavern” goes about 3 miles an hour. These fucking things are allowed on the same streets that ambulances and fire trucks use. Imagine if you died on the way to the hospital because the ambulance you were in got stuck behind a pedal tavern — you’d be too embarrassed to go to heaven.
I WILL NOW ANSWER THE QUESTION.
Dean, the reason these disheartening, dehumanizing accidents-waiting-to-happen are allowed to roll around Nashville is because they “help the economy.” Hee hee hee.
FUN FACT: In a country where 1 percent of the people have all the money, “it helps the economy” is a one-size-fits-all justification for any awful goddamn thing you’d like to do.
Another reason is that none of that 1 percent lives anywhere near these pedal taverns. The people who own downtown Nashville, and make the policies for downtown Nashville, don’t tend to live in downtown Nashville. They live in neighborhoods and suburbs like Belle Meade, Green Hills, Brentwood and Franklin.
The ambulances are always on time in Franklin.™
I’m going to run for mayor on a “PEDAL TAVERNS FOR BELLE MEADE” platform. When I win, me and MY monkey — my vice mayor, Professor Peabody — will pedal a small bar down Belle Meade Boulevard, just like Daniel Boone did.