Life in the South
There's no such thing as being too southern.
For those of us Graced by God to be born and raised in the South,
life is special. Those of you not so Graced may, by choice or by
accident, happen to visit. Or, Heaven forbid, move here. Below are
some things you should know before embarking on your pilgrimage.
Rules For Visiting the Southern States
Issued by the Southern Tourism Bureau
- Don't order filet mignon or pasta primavera at Waffle House. It's just
a diner. They serve breakfast 24 hours a day. Let them cook something they
know. If you confuse them, they'll kick your ass.
- Don't laugh at our Southern names. (Merleen, Bodie, Ovine, Luther Ray,
Tammy Lynn, Darla Beth, Inez, Billy Joe, Sissy, etc.) These people have all
been known to kick ass.
- Don't order a bottle of pop or a can of soda down here. Down here it's
called Coke. Nobody gives a damn whether it's Pepsi, RC, Dr. Pepper, 7-Up or
whatever - it's still a Coke. Accept it. Doing otherwise can lead to an ass
- We know our heritage. Most of us are more literate than you (e.g.,
Welty, Williams, Faulkner.) We are also better educated and generally a lot
nicer. Don't refer to us as a bunch of hillbillies, or we'll kick your ass.
- We have plenty of business sense (e.g., Fred Smith of Fed Ex, Turner
Broadcasting, MCI World Com, MTV, Netscape). Naturally, we do, sometimes,
have small lapses in judgment (e.g., Carter, Edwards, Duke, Barnes). We
don't care if you think we are dumb. We can still kick your ass.
- Don't laugh at our War For Southern Independence a.k.a. Civil War
monuments. If Lee had listened to Longstreet and flanked Meade at Gettysburg
instead of sending Pickett up the middle, you'd be paying taxes to Richmond
instead of Washington.
- If you visit Stone Mountain and complain about the carving, we'll kick
- We are fully aware of how high the humidity is, so shut the hell up,
spend your money, and get the hell out of here or we'll kick your ass.
- Don't order wheat toast at Cracker Barrel. Everyone will instantly know
that you're from Ohio. Eat your biscuits like God intended. Don't put sugar
on your grits either or we'll kick your ass.
- Don't fake a Southern accent. This will incite a riot, and you will get
your ass kicked.
- Don't talk about how much better things are at home because we don't
give a damn. Many of us have visited Northern hell holes like Detroit,
Chicago, and DC, and we have the scars to prove it. If you don't like it
here, Delta is ready when you are. Take your ass home before it gets kicked.
- Yes, we know how to speak proper English. We speak this way because we
don't want to sound like you. We don't care if you don't understand what we
are saying. All other Southerners understand what we are saying, and that's
all that matters. Now go away or we'll kick your ass.
- Don't complain that the South is dirty and polluted. None of OUR lakes
have caught fire like scenic Lake Erie once did. Whine about OUR scenic
beauty, and we'll kick your ass all the way back into Boston Harbor.
- Don't ridicule our Southern manners. We say "sir" and "ma'am," hold
doors open for others, and offer our seats to old folks because such things
are expected of civilized people. Behave yourselves around our sweet little
gray-haired grandmothers or they'll kick some manners into your ass just
like they did ours.
- So you think we're quaint or losers because most of us live in the
countryside? That's because we have enough sense to not live in smelly,
crime-infested cesspools like New York or Baltimore. Make fun of our fresh
air, and we'll kick your ass.
- Last, but not least, DO NOT DARE to come down here trying to tell us
how to cook Barbecue. This will get your ass shot off (right after it is
kicked). You're lucky we let you come down here at all. Question our sacred
BBQ, and you go home in a pine box -- minus your ass.
If you are from the northern states and planning on visiting or moving
to the South, there are a few things you should know that will help you
adapt to the difference in lifestyles:
- The North has sun-dried toe-mah-toes,
The South has 'mater samiches.
- The North has coffee houses,
The South has Waffle Houses.
- The North has dating services,
The South has family reunions.
- The North has switchblade knives,
The South has Lee Press-on Nails.
- The North has double last names,
The South has double first names.
- The North has Ted Kennedy,
The South has Jesse Helms.
- The North has an ambulance,
The South has an amalance.
- The North has Indy car races,
The South has stock car races.
- The North has Cream of Wheat,
The South has grits.
- The North has green salads,
The South has collard greens.
- The North has lobsters,
The South has crawdads.
- The North has the rust belt,
The South has the Bible Belt.
- If you run your car into a ditch, don't panic. Four men in
a four-wheel drive pickup truck with a tow chain will be
along shortly. Don't try to help them, just stay out of
their way. This is what they live for.
- Don't be surprised to find movie rentals and bait in the
same store.... Don't buy food at this store.
- Remember, "y'all" is singular, "all y'all" is plural,
and "all y'all's" is plural possessive.
- Get used to hearing "You ain't from round here, are ya?"
- You may hear a Southerner say "Ought!" to a dog or child.
This is short for "Y'all ought not do that!" and is the
equivalent of saying "No!"
- Don't be worried at not understanding what people are
saying. They can't understand you either.
- The first Southern statement to creep into a transplanted
Northerner's vocabulary is the adjective "big'ol" truck
or "big'ol" boy. Most Northerners begin their Southern-influenced
dialect this way. All of them are in denial about it. The proper
pronunciation you learned in school is no longer proper.
- Be advised that "He needed killin" is a valid defense here.
- If you hear a Southerner exclaim, "Hey, y'all, watch this,"
you should stay out of the way. These are likely to be the
last words he'll ever say.
- If there is the prediction of the slightest chance of even
the smallest accumulation of snow, your presence is required at
the local grocery store. It doesn't matter whether you need
anything or not. You just have to go there.
- When you come up on a person driving 15 mph down the middle
of the road, remember that most folks learn to drive on a
John Deere, and that is the proper speed and position for
- Do not be surprised to find that 10-year-olds own their own
shotguns, they are proficient marksmen, and their mammas
taught them how to aim.
- In the South, we have found that the best way to grow a
lush green lawn is to pour gravel on it and call it a driveway.
- AND REMEMBER:
If you do settle in the South and bear children, don't
think we will accept them as Southerners. After all, if the
cat had kittens in the oven, we wouldn't call 'em biscuits.
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© 2010 William R Cooke