Where do Jerry Springer's Guests Come From?
Trip Start Aug 09, 2009
108Trip End Oct 23, 2009
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Let's see...drive into town and the road is littered with the same pawn shops, O'Reilly Auto Parts, McDonald's, Dollar General and cheap motels. The ultra prosperous seem to be blessed with a Family Dollar and Subway. The super lucky may even get to spend Sunday brunch grazing the fat filled troughs of a Golden Corral. I can get the same 89 cent 7 Layer Burrito anywhere now so the scenery beyond these towns makes all the difference and is what I seek
For sure these little slices of plastic paradise wouldn't survive without townspeople and seeing them in their natural habitat got me thinking about who dials 1-800-4JERRY to be a guest on the show. Is this where Springer finds transsexuals with a secret or a story to tell a loved one? Now don't get me wrong here. Every once in a blue moon I do enjoy a good episode of hillbilly lesbian love triangles on Jerry. But have you ever wondered where these folks come from? Yes, I've traveled far and wide to discover the source of our amusement. Northwest Arkansas. Home of WalMart. Indeed, the Buffalo River seems to not be the only thing that flows out of here. All I needed was an afternoon in a Chevy Impala rental car to discover the source of the human effluvia that washes down out of the hills and onto the set of the Jerry Springer show.
I wonder if these folks arrive at Jerry's studio in Stamford, CT feeling as out of place as I do in their own backyard. This is just mind blowing that such beautiful scenery in the Ozarks can produce such a diaspora of rednecks driving camouflaged pickups and living in single wides that have seen better days but of course sporting the ubiquitous well kept satellite dish half covered in weeds
Much like anywhere off the grid, the women wear spandex that strains against rolls and rolls of corpulent splendor. The men look like some grotesque cross between Kid Rock and Weird Al Yankovic. Seriously, do they think that greasy strands of shoulder length hair under a torn up baseball cap look good? Do these women look in the mirror and run their hands over those voluminous rolls and purr?
I came across the Buffalo River National River in the pages of the awesome state published Arkansas Adventure Guide that I picked up for free a few months ago in Little Rock. As with anything outdoors, we can either be a part of it or just admire it from the outside. Of course I wanted to jump right in today even with 90 degree humidity spiked heat. The sweatsoaked clothes were well worth it in the end. I remember reading about the river in National Geographic years ago and it was one of those places that always had my curiosity up. In fact, the Army Corp of Engineers had wanted to build some dams in the early 70s along its 150 miles and local outrage against the plan led to the creation of the Buffalo National River. I am so glad for that, too since the river is about the only one in the Lower 48 not all dammed up. Imagine that for a second...Can't we leave anything in its natural state?
My first stop was the Eden Falls State Park area and I was able to share the trails with dozens upon dozens of my closest friends. While not directly on the river, this area is in the adjacent wilderness and the scenery is amazing
Yes, the scenery is nice enough as is the waterfall coming out of a cave but I didn't care to share my afternoon with the masses. Venturing just a bit further down Highway 74 near Ponca led me to the Steel Creek area. Having no clue what was here I took the bait and drove down a steep gravel road to the pretty river bottom. So I am thinking this is nice but is there anything to see or do besides people trying to paddle canoes against a strong current. While I was admiring the milky green-blue water and limestone cliffs, a shirtless barefoot guy came up to me and asked if he could help me. Of course my city jaded mind got to thinking what is the catch here but I noticed he was wearing a Buffalo River volunteer baseball cap.
I believe his name is Ken and he was very helpful about the area and pointed me in the direction of a trail to take me high above the river along the limestone bluffs. I walked under the blazing sun to where he said this little known trail would start but I couldn't find it. So I walked all the way back to Ken and asked again where to go. He was nice enough to actually walk me back over to where the trall was and it turns out I missed it by only about twenty feet the first time. Imagine someone in the city being so friendly and helpful. That would be a long search, right? I thanked him again and he just said that is what he is there for.
My three hour hike was steep and as with anything in life, the best rewards don't come without some work.
I am kind of jealous of those people on Jerry Springer now for the fact that they sure do come from an amazing part of the country. I wonder if they realize this as they go about their transvestite trailer park love triangles. After spending an afternoon in their backyard I have come to an important conclusion. Although I am two million percent sure I won't be on Springer, I do share more in common with these Arkansans than I do my elitist Midtown Atlanta snob neighbors. I would much rather share a day hiking or kayaking the Buffalo River with these guys than endure an evening at the latest in overpriced trendy restaurants back home. And to be fair, I know they look at me and wonder why in the world the city sewers push all of us up into their mountain hideaways. Yeah, I poke fun at how some of these people talk and look but I realized today that not judging a book by its cover really was one of those good life's lessons when I was a kid.