ST. SIMONS ISLAND | Jameson Gregg faces each day with a simple purpose.
“My goal is to make myself laugh. What better way to spend your day?” he said.
He succeeds and to his credit and readers’ benefit, he shares it.
Gregg once wrote serious legal briefs at Gilbert and Harrell, one of Brunswick’s best law firms. He now writes funny fiction in the low mountains of Dahlonega, Ga.
“I was a coat-and-tie man … a silk stocking lawyer … a pile carpet lawyer. I stayed in the office,” he said.
His first novel, “Luck Be A Chicken,” has fictional big-time lawyers hired to fight regulators to keep a poorly run poultry plant turning out product — namely chicken nuggets — until there’s a salmonella outbreak.
It has sex, big money and big bucks, as in deer hunting.
Sex, money and opulent hunt clubs are all components of the corruption in the novel.
It’s no “50 Shades of Grey.” More like “50 Shades of Camouflage.”
The protagonist Georgia family are the hard-working Sweats. Butterbean drives a forklift at the poultry plant while his wife, Ruby, runs a beauty parlor out of a refurbished Airstream camper that once served as a dog kennel. They named their son Junior, as in son of Dale, and their daughter is Li’l Bit.
Perhaps the most successful lawyer turned author is John Grisham, whose most successful books are about his profession. “Luck Be A Chicken” has plenty about lawyers from the “silk stocking” Atlanta firm to a reference to “one a them refrigerator-magnet lawyers.”
But Gregg did more than practice law.
Desperate for a summer job when he was a student at Ole Miss, Gregg worked as an ice man in a chicken factory, shoveling ice into the system that supplied the plant.
“I’d come home and my mother would make me strip down to my skivvies [at the door],” he said. “She didn’t want that smell in her house.”
He gave voice to Butterbean and Ruby Sweat, being careful not to overdo it, which can get tiresome to a reader.
“I’ve been listening to the music and rhythm of that language from my relatives my whole life, bless their hearts,” he said.
In “Luck Be A Chicken,” Gregg moves from humorous redneck vernacular to the calculating tone of a man besotted by wealth to descriptions that qualify as good literature. And he does it as smoothly as Dale Jr. shifting on a restart.
Gregg also worked as a traveling promoter for the George Matthews Great London Circus.
“I took the clowns to the children’s hospital,” Gregg said.
He drove a taxi in Jackson and worked as a deck hand on a Mississippi River tugboat.
We can hope there are some books in there, some with laughs that Gregg will enjoy and pass on.
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