Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Buck “Buck Tooth” Jones, Prolific Writer and Inventor, Dead at 109

By Brian Wask

Big City, Collectico– Buck “Buck Tooth” Jones, most known for his groundbreaking part-novel/part-recipe, Misery is Luxury (1956), and the inventor of the word ‘knockerbombed’– to be hassled by secret societies and/or covert operatives– was found dead Sunday at his home in Pandora, Collectico. He was 109. The cause of death is so far unknown but speculated to be old age. He is survived by his great, great grandson, the genetic scientist Charlie “Charlie Horse” Jones, his great granddaughter, the archaeologist Sally “Sally Boy” Johnson, and his wife Betty “Betty Days” Jones, also 109. His loved ones will not bury Tooth’s body but instead have him stuffed and erected beside his father, grandfather and great grandfather at the family compound in Pandora. First, they plan to take him on his favorite underwater roller coaster ride one last time.

Born during the newspaper wars between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, Buck Tooth published his first novel at the age of three (Goodbye Diapers) and went on to release 607 more books on subjects ranging from the eclectic scent of owl urine (That Smell in the Night, 1917), self-induced nightmares (The Computer Took My Eyes Away and Wont Give Them Back, 2002; Get That Creamed Corn Away From Me, 1952) and scavenger dogs in the slums of South Africa (Skeleton Crew, 1960). He worked as a pseudo-journalist for Hearst during WWI and, though only nine, helped Pulitzer’s defense during the libel suit filed against him by Theodore Roosevelt in 1909. A few years later Buck Tooth was investigated for his ties to Italian Anarchists on the Lower East Side of New York City. He went on to chronicle the investigation and the authority’s amoral tactics in 1926’s half-novel/half-needle quilting instruction manual Blow Me!– he’s been credited with coining the phrase.

He met his first and only wife Betty during a trip to North Dakota’s Badlands in 1933, and soon after gave her the nickname Betty Days, as in, “Hopefully, Betty Days lie ahead.” He alluded her existence was only a figment of his imagination during a lecture on sliced bread and Richard Nixon at Columbia in 1973, and latter admitted he was only kidding in an article titled “Why Would Anyone Believe Me?”, published the next year in the December issue of Harper’s. It was Betty Days who convinced him to try creamed corn on his sixty-third birthday at a fall-out shelter forty miles north of Interstate 80 on the sunless plains of Kansas. Nineteen sixty-four’s To Hell with Americans and Their Lawnmowers was supposed to be a commentary on The United States’ fear of communism compared to his own fear of creamed corn, but was instead regarded by the Christian Right as unpatriotic and pornographic, with hints of pedophilia. He vowed never to publish again but sure enough Betty Days convinced him otherwise and ten years later he was the winner of the MANN-GODD Prize for the memoir/wordlist collection, I'm Not Getting Any Younger. He was quoted by many as saying, “If it wasn’t for Betty Days I’d be nailing all kinds of women.” And though there’s been several accusations of infidelity against him, there was no proof he was anything but absolutely faithful to his wife of seventy-five years.

In 1977, after a three year period of publishing twenty six fiction and non-fiction books concerning everything from Korean manicurists (She Got The Homemade Special) to the avant-garde theater director Robert Wilson (The Big Ship is Sinking) and different kinds of fish (Wet and Ugly), Buck Tooth Jones catapulted to world-wide recognition when he set out to prove Jesus Christ was actually a woman. With his great granddaughter Sally Boy he left for the middle East and eventually southern France, where he claimed to have recovered the corpse and announced its anticipated arrival in Washington, DC. The media was alerted and prepared a monstrosity of equipment to capture the occasion on the runways of Dulles Airport, shutting down all incoming and outgoing flights for three days. Upon his arrival, in front of an estimated six hundred-thousand, the power went out and the pine box holding the body of the Lord was abducted by a secret organization of Vatican Operatives. The event was labeled a hoax and Buck Tooth’s career was considered done. The irony was he predicted the event and the same outcome in a previous book, This Is What Will Happen In DC (1970).

For the next ten years Buck Tooth confined himself to the family compound in Pandora, writing books and dancing to Cole Porter songs with Betty Days on the veranda, overlooking Dry Harbor and the rest of the blue world beyond that. He built the Earth’s longest and tallest roller coaster with his own two hands and could be heard calling out to the night white moon by sailors anchored in the harbor. He dismantled the ride before the public could see it, but according to those lucky enough to experience the Highway to Heaven, it reached the clouds and at night during the highest peak you could touch the stars if you really wanted to. When, in 1987 Buck Tooth finally left the compound he delivered 254 manuscripts to his publisher in New York. Within the next year they were released, some in several volumes, ultimately resulting in 306 books total. Each sold in the tens of thousands, but God’s a Jackhammer (The World is His Sidewalk), Photos of Nothing and Hello Again Diapers did much better, selling a million between the three.

Buck Tooth spent the last twenty years publishing a number of books, some two hundred ultimately, and helping his great, great grandson Charlie Horse Jones in his endeavor to develop an intravenous anecdote to greed. It was Charlie Horse’s life project mainly but when it became known Buck Tooth was involved donations from all over the world flooded the institute where the experiments were taking place. It was probably the greatest blow to Buck Tooth’s will when most of the money donated disappeared and was never recovered. In an interview with Esquire magazine three years ago, when asked about the vanishing donations, Buck Tooth said, “I figured that would happen.” His last book, Don’t Need Pants Where I’m Going (2008), sold just under three thousand copies. It was assumed by his most loyal fans this failure would closely precede the end of the world in 2012. If so, Buck Tooth’s estate doesn’t have long to release the estimated five hundred un-published manuscripts the legend left behind. It would be a travesty if the world ended before that.



Anonymous said...

Wow. Buck Tooth. I thought he died years ago. My Poppa used to tell me stories about the "Tooth." One of a kind, he'd say and then smack me around a bit and forget what he was talking about. I met Charlie once in Key West and he told me the "Tooth" was shot in the back while trying to rob a candy store in Fort Dix. Maybe the bastard--Charlie--was hiding something. Oh hell, it's good to hear all those titles does bring something back. Mr. Cheese.

Anonymous said...

You really think he's dead? I know for a fact that he was recently seen mounting Princess Di in that tunnel in France. That's the Buck Tooth I want to remember.
Right, he was always faithful :).

Anonymous said...

Wow. An amazing portrayal of such a rich life. Buck Tooth was and always will be a personal hero of mine. It is nice to see his existence described so beautifully.