Ever since I was a little boy growing up in the South, I listened attentively to the tales and metaphors told by my family and friends. When I was the ripe old age of 10, I began to realize they were all 99.5% bullshit. But I liked listening to them anyway.

There was one expression in particular that I have never forgotten or let go of and that is …… when a Southerner meets someone that is a little off beat, you are going to hear “he’s crazier than a shit house rat.”

Now, I am old enough that I know what a biffy is, there just happened to be a 2-holer sitting in our back yard. I can’t imagine any two people sharing those 2 holes. Myself, I hated going in there for any reason because I knew that there were spiders, creepy crawlers and rats. And those rats specialized in stealing toilet paper!

I spent a lot of time, as a boy contemplating why the rats in the biffy were crazier than any other rat? I am still pondering that question today.

I have played the banjo ever since I was very young, and I decided to combine a funny metaphor and a fun-loving instrument. I’m a fun-loving old fart and playa fun-loving instrument with a funny metaphor bouncing around in my head. So, I have built a wooden banjo and wood-burned those pictures into it. I call it my Shit house Rat Banjo.

As you look at the pictures on the banjo, you will see that on the peg box there is a rat running off with the toilet paper. When I was a boy, I knew that rats stole the toilet paper, but I couldn’t figure out how they knew what it was for. Now I know, it was for building their nests. (70 years later). If you look at the back of the resonator, you will see all the rats that live in the biffy are having one heck of a moonlight party. I’ll bet that every time you look at it, you will see something different.

I have decided to share this with a few highly valued friends.

Weldon Gray

Photos by Trent Watts