Friday, April 8, 2011

Southern Guilt

Deep in the heart of the South, there's an ever-present force moving amongst the populace that influences nearly everything that happens. While it goes unnoticed by most, it plays a role in almost all that occurs and every decision that they make. This universal being is a little thing I like to call Southern Guilt.

While it goes by many a name, including "courtesy", "What Would Jesus Do?” and "karma", Southern Guilt is no laughing matter. Those Catholics and white people just think they know guilt, but they've got nothing on us guilty bastards. But what exactly is Southern Guilt, and how does it show its ugly face? Let’s take a look:

Southern Guilt draws its roots from the conservative values instilled in every good Southerner from birth. Certainly it appears not only in the South, but the moral atmosphere below the Mason-Dixon is conducive to its presence. It involves making one’s own life worse to make someone else’s day better. For instance, I recently received a Facebook friend request from someone I did not like, and I accepted it because I “felt like I had to”. In retelling this story later to a group of intellectual friends, it was pointed out to me that the encounter was a spot-on display of Southern Guilt. I friended the fiend simply because I had to, because Jesus would have, because my mother would be pleased, but not because I truly wanted to hear about their shit on my wall. I let myself be walked on just to make sure no feelings got hurt. Shocked, it made me wonder how many things in my life are controlled by the Guilt, and rethink the way I handle situations.

But how big does the guilt get? What happens over time, when more and more people let others cut them in line without saying anything? Is this why Southern organizations and institutions have gotten behind the North? Do people limit their opportunities in life because of the Great Guilt? I look at the people in my community who are incredibly intelligent, but who never leave their hometown and work low-level jobs to make sure their aging parents are secure. They could be somewhere they enjoy, living their lives to the fullest, yet they allow themselves to suffer, with drawbacks that far outweigh the benefits in the long run.

Don’t succumb to Southern Guilt, readers, and don’t stand idly by while others do so. If you want to advance yourself in life, don’t let feelings stand in your way. Take care of yourself first. And that’s the way we get down…

In A Hick Town.

Friday, February 11, 2011

People Suck.

Last night, I was forced to make a foray into the jungle they call Wal-Mart. I'm never crazy about a trip to the big box for a variety of reasons, but the Thursday crowd was what got me. No one's ever accused me of being a liker of people, and my observations were not to the contrary. You see, if this trip taught me anything, it's this: People suck.

So I'm walking around the store, minding my own business, after moving twelve shopping baskets out of the parking space so I could fit, and I decide to stop by McDonald's (also not a fan) for a drink. And right there, at the entrance, some douche has left a half eaten candy bar. A. Twenty bucks says that they did not pay for that candy bar, and B. The trash can is four God damned feet away! If you're gonna steal a candy bar, at least have the decency to eat the whole thing and throw away your trash! But I continue shopping, sifting through the throngs of fatasses, and stepping over patrons who decide to lie down and read in the middle of aisles. And then, as I walk out the exit, I pass a young woman as she takes a puff of her cigarette, blows the smoke into the face of her six month old, hides the lit cigarette in her purse to sneak past the 80-year-old greeter, and then finishes it inside the store. What the Hell?! How old are you? Almost every person I saw in the store was in some way being obnoxious and scuzzy. What do these people get from doing these things? Are they that much happier than they would be if they were classy?

The more I think about it, the more I realize: this is America. These assholes are the epitome of modern Americana. They're the people who make the other 307,006,549 of us look like streetwalking roadwhores to Europeans. I think, I don't have any friends like that, no one I know is that trashy... but then I realize that those people must have friends and family too. Do their friends find them trashy? Are their friends also trashy?

Which makes me wonder: Are people we know trashy when we're not looking?

The thought of this horrifies me, but it's worth consideration. Does my health teacher litter when no one's there to see him? Does my great aunt leave shopping carts in the middle of the parking lot? My random acquaintances, cafeteria ladies, friendly neighborhood sex offenders, even my close friends, are they "those people" when I'm not around?

I'm not sure if this is a question of etiquette or integrity, but it's certainly not one to be dismissed. This hits close to home; that chick who snuck her smoke in is someone's mom. Does my mother steal chocolate bars and smoke in Wal-Mart? Or worse, do I do such disgusting things? Do people see me and mentally call me out for being sleazy? This menial Thursday mac and cheese run has completely changed my world view. I will forever be concerned with how gross or not gross everything I do is. I'll think twice before I leave straw wrappers on the drink counter or not clean up a movie theatre spill.

Maybe in this scenario, a negative view is the best one. Maybe if we all hated people as much as I do, we'd do our part to make the world better. And that's the way we get down...

In A Hick Town.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Redneck Rides

Hey hey, citizens of the United Sites of Internet. It’s a fabulous Friday evening, the last one of 2010, and I’m ready to usher in a new era of redneckedness. Speaking of redneckedness, let’s talk about REDNECK RIDES!

It’s true what they say: everything’s bigger in Texas, especially our… vehicles. Your average Texan likes their ride oversized and overheard. Whereas them rich folk of the blue states show off their Lexuses and Priuses, us backwoodsmen know the truth: the Japs are trying to take over the world and we shouldn’t buy their automobiles. We stick to our 100% pure all-American gas-guzzlers. Just as long as that gas that’s guzzled comes from the Muslims and we’re not drilling for black gold in the homeland. Not in my back yard!

So let’s review the standard hickmobile, by type. First and foremost, there’s the classic “Pick Em’ Up Truck”. The “Pick ‘Em Up Truck” is an American-made, Mexican-assembled slice of beefcake. These bad boys consist of four to six larger than life tires, and a body adorned with one or more of the following: bars on the front for road kill, bars on the back windshield that serve no purpose, a sticker with a young man urinating on a foreign deity, and/or a plastic scrotum attached to the towing hitch. Yes, this is a high-class vehicle, for high-class people, like those who work in the service industry. Or, more frequently, butch lesbians and men with small penises. Because everyone knows that women love loud noises and dirt.

And then, there’s the more common staple of the hick household: the “Subcursiongatorladerango”. The “Subcursiongatorladerango”, also known as a full-size SUV, is the IT vehicle for suburban moms to haul their little bastards from school to football practice, powerlifting meets, and bull riding competitons. It seats up to 19, requires a special kind of license, and hauls RVs like nobody’s business. Purchasing a “Subcursiongatorladerango” is a big decision to make, considering it gets 1/8 of the gas mileage of a real car. But, it’s a necessary sacrifice for every family, because they all have more than 8 children. One never knows when they might need two extra rows of seats and a trailer hitch, in case they decide to take a baseball team camping.

Then, there’s one last category of vehicles, called “Chick Cars”. These include, but are not limited to, all vehicles with less than four doors, all vehicles with less than seven seats, vehicles that are not white or silver, and vehicles that were designed in Japan, Korea, or Europe. If you have the misfortune of driving one of these fag wagons, you had better be a woman. Men who drive foreign cars are, of course, weak, lame, and homosexual. Nothing else to it.

So if you’re in Texas and you can afford to put gas in your car, you obviously suck. Buy a truck. And that’s the way we get down…

In A Hick Town.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We Wish You a Texas Christmas

Well, readers, it's that time of the year again. Yes, it's Christmas in Dixie, the time when people overdose on carbohydrates and soccer moms get hammered on eggnog. Oh yeah, and Jesus was born. Now, I've never Christmas'ed north of the Mason-Dixon, so I don't know how the holidays go down up there. But there's something to be said for a Lone Star holiday season.

Unlike in the North, where the God-haters are trying to take the "Christ" out of "Christmas", there is nothing secular about a redneck holiday. It is not unusual to see an inflatable nativity right there on the lawn between the petunias and the wire reindeer, if there are reindeer at all. And any good conservative would NEVER in their right mind shorten "Christmas" to "XMas". What would the neighbors think if they knew that the decor boxes were labeled "XMas"? And then there's the jolly man in the red suit. I remember a Sunday school lesson from back in the day, in which the teacher informed a group of horrified third graders that St. Nick was not real, and if you rearranged the letters in "Santa", it spells "Satan". They don't joke around about their Jesus.

But if there's a holiday tradition more sacred than the green bean casserole, it's gift-getting. Even the most conservative conservative is not likely to give up a hokey present exchange, white elephant gifts, or Secret Santa, for their Little Lord Jesus principles. Therefore, it can get pretty intense around the 23rd (which is also Festivus, by the way) and Black Friday. People are classy enough to fight over the last Wii console or TMX Elmo. After all, they have to get their children everything they need for Christmas, including life lessons on how to behave in public.

Christmas meals in the red states are exactly like holiday meals elsewhere, just fried. Fried turkey, fried chicken, fried okra, fried sweet potatoes, fried cranberry sauce (okay, maybe not that last one), it's all here and artery-clogging. The process goes as follows: several hours of preparation, followed by one very long prayer to commence the face-stuffing. Then, you eat until you can't eat any more, leave the table for 30 minutes to an hour of television, and then return to the table once you feel like your gastrointestinal system can sustain it. After all that tryptophan, it's important to get some rest to let the meal settle on your thighs. Then once everyone finishes their siesta, it's time to convene again and bitch about how much you've eaten. It's a sacred ritual.

All in all, there's a lot to complain about when it comes to Southern Christmases. But I must admit, no one gets in the holiday spirit quite like them, good or bad. And that's the way we get down...

In A Hick Town.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hicktown Survival Guide #1:Politics

Welcome, ladies and gentleman of the blogiverse, to the first installment of Hicktown Survival Guide (DISCLAIMER: This guide will really not prepare you at all for the ridiculousness that is Hicktown. It’s just for fun. So in the event of a wild hillbilly attack, do not defend yourself with this blog post. Don’t sue me.)

Now, if you’re planning to visit a hicktown, or even just making contact with the natives, there are some political ground rules you need to know, because politics are a major source of awkward small talk for most people. And if you aren’t communicating with a hick, they’re just for fun.

Southerners, although they may not seem educated, are usually very passionate about their politics, and there's nothing wrong with that. Their political beliefs are as important to them as their religion, and they will not hesitate to start a battle with someone who doesn’t agree with them. Fortunately, they all seem to agree on one thing:

The Republican Party. These fat white men will stop at nothing to make sure they keep other fat white men in the Oval Office. They’ll fight for their right to keep large amounts of weaponry in the back of their F-150s, and won’t let “big government” take their hard-earned salary to help someone else.

Of course, if everyone here is conservative, what does that make me?

You guessed it, Blogmerica, I’m a liberal. My name’s on the hitlist. I’m a terrorist because I don’t care if gays join the military. I supported... The “O” word 2008.

And I get crap for it. Every day, I hear about how they can’t find Obama’s birth certificate and the horrors of universal health care.

I suppose I get worked up about politics as well. I believe very strongly about social issues. Sue me.

But whatever your political persuasion, be it Republican, Democrat, or Nader (is he still around?), just remember this: if you don’t want to get shot at, play it safe and don’t even mention politics.

And NEVER use the “O” word around a Southerner. And that’s the way we get down...

In A Hick Town.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Keep Austin Weird

Loyal readers, I'm afraid I've misinformed you, and before I proceed with this blog, I must correct myself. I told you that Texas is a barren wasteland of redneck mania, completely devoid of culture. I said that nearly all its citizens are tasteless hillbillies and they behave absurdly. However, in this proverbial desert, there's a glistening oasis of good taste:


The mere thought of this delicious metropolis is orgasmic. Whereas Small Town's population is generally made up of conservative racists, Austinites are more open minded and liberal than any other city in the world. Well, except maybe Amsterdam. But because of its free spirit, this portal to the left wing has earned quite a reputation. The other day, I heard a Small Town citizen say that he didn't like Austin, because it is full of "weird people and homosexuals". God forbid. But Austin embraces its weird culture and lives up to its reputation, adopting the unofficial slogan "Keep Austin Weird".

For us Texans, Austin is just what we need to remind us of life in the rest of the continental United States, and catch us up on our shopping and media. Home to insane music festivals like SXSW and Austin City Limits, as well as places like The Domain for shopping and dining, it's a breath of fresh air even for the traditional Texan.

But for people like me, who refuse to conform to the cornfed madness, Austin is so much more. I love the Austin spirit of creativity and vibrance. It's an escape to the world I've been longing for, and a welcome relief from the constant judgement and hatred harbored by Small Town-ers.

So readers, find a place that you love, and take advantage of it, whether it's a million miles away or right at home. And that's the way we get down...

In A Hick Town.

P.S.- I'm going to New York next week. Woot woot.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Our Slab of the South

Welcome back, readers, to my little slice of the blogosphere. Now that you know some background, let’s take a closer look at my town.

My hicktown has a real name, but for the purposes of this publication, we’ll call it Small Town, TX. It’s situated deep in the heart of Texas, about an hour drive from a glimpse of culture. Made up of about 3,500 conservative old people, it’s what you might call a tiny community. In fact, it’s not even a town; it’s considered a village. A 450-student high school and a chic Sonic make Small Town a happenin’ place.

Here in Small Town, redneck is not a character trait; it’s a way of life. Cars start at about 3 feet from the ground, and emit shameful amounts of pollution into the manure-scented air. People live on huge pieces of land out in the middle of nowhere, and shoot deer from their back porches. There’s a really nice golf course, but that’s only for rich old people and tourists. Average Small Town citizens get their kicks from fishing and using tobacco products. On special occasions, they may go “into town”, which consists of a 20 minute drive to the nearest mid-sized city to go to “the Wal-Mart’s”. A typical evening for my family consists of sitting around the television, watching trashy ABC sitcoms or Lifetime movies. They’re a lively bunch, but don’t worry; you’ll learn all about them soon enough.

People in Small Town may do ridiculous things sometimes, but I have to admit, they are really good at heart. Everyone knows everyone, and genuinely cares about them. Small Town is the buckle of the Bible Belt, and that’s no exaggeration. Going to church is as mandatory as going to school. Most everyone is some form of Baptist, but DON’T get them confused! There are three specific types of Baptist. There’s regular Baptists, Southern Baptists, and Independent Baptists. Southern Baptists tend to be the classic conservative, hillbilly Bible thumpers, and Independent Baptists are usually extremist, “God Hates Fags” groups.

Even though everyone is passionate about their beliefs, that does not mean that everyone always, or ever, follows them. Small Town’s teens are particularly promiscuous, but who can blame us? What else is there to do here? An offense that I find especially appalling, however, is bigotry. Our population is fairly diverse, and many people have still not gotten over their prejudices against other races. Also, being without culture, homophobia is wild, and kids use “gay” like it’s a bad word. Small Town has it’s faults, but everyone is really pretty laid back and caring in the long run.

Even though Small Town, well, sucks, I really enjoy living here. The cornfed craziness is always good for a laugh, and I have great friends to rely on as an escape from the Republicana. And that’s the way we get down...

In OUR Hick Town.