In a comment last week, EmmaJ pointed to something I had never seen or heard tell of: “The Georgia Rambler.” Every week Charles Salter, a columnist for The Atlanta Journal, used to get in his car, drive somewhere in the state of Georgia, and ask the locals, “Who is the most unforgettable person in this town?” The stories he gathered—and there were some remarkable ones, as you might imagine—became the basis of a weekly column called “The Georgia Rambler.”
This past summer, the NPR radio show This American Life replicated the experiment. They wrote the names of the 159 Georgia counties on slips of paper and drew nine out of a hat (an Atlanta Braves cap, naturally). Then they sent nine producers to those nine counties to ask Charles Salter’s question: “Who is the most unforgettable person in this town?”

The result was a very entertaining radio program. In an idle hour, you might want to give it a listen: click here to hear it.

EmmaJ warns that there is a moment of inappropriateness at about 15:30, when a fellow is swimming across a lake while smoking a cigarette. So you might want to skip ahead at that point. I hesitate to mention this for fear that some readers of this blog will skip straight to the 15:30 mark. [Digression: When I was little, my cousin Jason (the one who got in trouble with the SWAT team for shooting pigeons on the roof of the Houston Mall) went to see Jaws II. His eyes were aglitter when he got back: “Want me to tell you all the cussing parts?” he asked.)

Anyway, the Georgia Rambler is the inspiration for this week’s Audience Participation Friday. Who, dear reader, is the most unforgettable person in your town? I know what you’re thinking: aren’t people from small-town Georgia at an advantage in this exercise? Maybe so. All the more reason for those of you who aren’t from small-town Georgia to show us what you’ve got. I know, for instance, that at least one of this blog’s regular readers lived in Wasilla, Alaska for many years. If she didn’t meet some unforgettable characters, I’ll eat my hat. There’s at least one reader who lives in Austin, Texas, a town that seems to think that all its residents are unforgettable.

So there: let the unforgetableness begin. Who is the most unforgettable person in your town?

Thanks again to EmmaJ for the idea.