I'm not French. I've never been to France or even to any French-speaking country. For that reason I really couldn't tell you whether it's true that the name Terre Haute is French for "high ground." That's just what some musician told me. At the time I was ordered to fly to Terre Haute I was in such a God-awful pathetic state that I never got over to the Research Department to find out even the most basic details about the place to which I had been sentenced.
I can tell you one thing however: if Terre Haute does mean "high ground" then somebody screwed up. I've been to the place and the ground is decidedly not high. Not only that, but I didn't see a single Frenchman the entire time I was there.
I suppose that I could do my journalistic duty and actually make that trip to the Research Department now. But truth be told, I'm not really much of a journalist. Although I've managed to make a living writing for rock music publications for the past I'm-not-going-to-say-how-many years, it has really all been just one incredibly successful scam. I like music; I seem to be able to keep tons of music trivia in my head; and I have been able to somehow successfully mimic what a rock journalist is supposed to sound like.
To be honest though, I've never really understood the reason for what a rock journalist is supposed to sound like, this pompous style in which music journalists are expected to write. Basically the goal is to come off sounding like an intellectual who happens to curse like a sailor. Scribble brainy sounding, but basically meaningless phrases such as "socio-cultural milieu," toss in a few instances of the F-word and you're set. As I say, I don't really get it, but it is a style which I managed to easily master and which -- since this is my own story -- I shall now toss into the F-ing trash can.
At any rate, supposedly there was a burgeoning music scene in Terre Haute, Indiana and supposedly that was why I was on my way there. The truth of both of those statements was yet to be seen, but that was how I ended up on a small airplane on the way to Terre Haute (which, for you non-French-speaking types, rhymes with "wear a coat"). It should be noted that I did not volunteer for this assignment nor did I want it. I was forced into it and for that reason I must admit that I was disliking the place even before I knew where it was on a map. Add to that certain other frustrations and you can see how I came to be in the mood that I was in. . .next