Ever since I was a little boy growing up in the South, l listened attentively to the tales and metaphors told by my family and friends. When was the ripe old age of 10, I began to realize they were all 99 bullshlt. 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 shithouse rat”

Now, I am old enough that I know what a biffy is. There just happened to be a 2-hoier 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’. Ispent 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 decided to combine a funny metaphor and a fun-loving instrument. I am a fun-loving old fart and play a fun-loving instrument with a funny metaphor bouncing around in my head, so I have built a wooden banjo and burned those pictures into it. I call it my Shithouse Rat Banjo.

As you look at the pictures on the banjo, you will see that on the pegbox 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 budding their nests. (70 years later!).

If you look at the back of the resonator you will see 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.

Weldon Gray

Peruse this gallery and put the story together.