Back in the day, being trailer trash literally meant living in a recreational vehicle of some sort. Just ask Stacey Roberts, the author of the recently released book, TRAILER TRASH, WITH A GIRL’S NAME. I was lucky enough to edit his manuscript, and upon doing so, I discovered that for much of his life, he traveled the country with his family…and his home.
Along the way, he learned a few things. Like how much he hated his mother’s cooking.
One summer he wrote letters to all of the TV chefs he could think of:
Dear Julia Childs,
Will you please come to my house and teach my mother how to cook? Last night she made us turkey necks and pinto beans. It tasted like the socks of a Roman legionnaire on campaign in Syria. There must be a better way. For the next few weeks, you can find me in California. After that, New Mexico. Then possibly Nevada. Check your brakes BEFORE you go down the hill overlooking Hoover Dam.
Stacey Roberts (by the way, I’m a BOY, a BOY who needs decent food so I can grow up and change my name)
A few years and multiple reality checks later, Stacey became something of a math whiz. By the time he was twelve, he could look at a building with an actual foundation and tell you how many RV’s could fit in it:
2.Madison Square Garden – eleven
3.My house – four and a half if we cut off one RV bathroom. It’s an extravagant extra that’s always clogged anyway.
By the time he was in high school, according to his book, Stacey had been electrocuted, run over, ignored, and given a girl’s name. After editing his hysterical set of anecdotes and learning a little about what it means to be trapped on the road with a mom who can’t cook or remember anyone’s name, I got to thinking about how times have changed, and how we use the term “Trailer Trash” now.
With the introduction of technology, poverty has a new face. For example, if you’re a family of four with only one laptop and one cell phone that you all share, you just might be trailer trash. Laws are being changed, and we have seen a few states allowing the legalization of pot. If you are still lighting up a few times a day and wondering what all the fuss is about, you just might be trailer trash.
Things have snuck up on us quickly, and we have had to adapt without really thinking about it. But if you just stop for a moment and look around, you might be surprised to learn that you too are living the life:
2. Tight leopard print, Snooki clothing is as much a staple as the little black dress…actually, if you’ve got leopard, you don’t need anything else, including underwear
3. When a huge storm is coming, you rush to the store for milk, beer, and wine
4. You TSK and pull over when you see bulk items left for trash on the side of the road – they were perfectly fine and now sit proudly in your living room, dining room, and bedroom
5. You see an RV for sale and think, why wait ten years till the kids graduate?
6. On Linked In, you list your current occupation as Collector of Lightly Used Items instead of Hoarder
7. Your kids grow up knowing how to read, write, and mix an excellent kamikaze
8. You’d rather watch COPS than the Discovery channel…just so you can say you know a bunch of the stars
10. When you’re stressed out, you don’t reach for the phone to call your therapist, you reach for another bottle of wine…and your computer so you can post about it
11. Your family’s idea of Sunday dinner together includes Big Macs, Chicken McNuggets, and Fries…in front of the TV so you don’t have to DVR WWE
12. Your uncle can’t decide if the perfect getaway is Rikers Island or Leavenworth
13. Your Twitter handle includes the words: Trailer Trash, Redneck, or Selfie
14. You’re not allowed to use the beer empties to set off your bottle rockets…because then we can’t cash it in for the five cent deposit
15. You get a ride to school in your house, which doubles as the family car after 8am
16. Your Tumblr blog includes a picture of a bumper sticker that reads, I’d rather be reading TRAILER TRASH, WITH A GIRL’S NAME because after this hilarious book goes public, not only will you want to buy a copy, but you’ll pass around the meme
When the author was born, his mother did the unthinkable. She gave him a girl’s name—Stacey. But Stacey’s name was just the first hurdle he’d face in his uphill climb from birth to manhood. He also had to deal with an entitled older brother, the hodgepodge of different men his mother was involved with, and the nomadic lifestyle he was forced to endure for five years. And to top it all off, his mother couldn’t cook a decent meal to save her life. Trailer Trash, With a Girl’s Name is Stacey Roberts’ lighthearted, often hilarious account of growing up in an unstable household during the 1980s. Full of humor, history, and hope, it follows Stacey from the hospital room where he was born to the Winnebago that carried him across the country, filling in the gaps with a wit and humor that anyone with a dysfunctional family can appreciate.