April 23, 2008
Originally published August 17, 2003
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:
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. (Unless it is hermetically sealed in a bag. I shop at the Swamp Fox, where you can buy beer, bait and rent movies at the same time)
Remember, "y'all" is singular, "all y'all" is plural, and "all y'all's" is plural possessive. (Whoever wrote this missive is incorrect. "Y'all" is plural. We don't say "all y'all" down South, except at the end of a big, drunken party, when the host says, "All y'all pick up yore shit and GO HOME!")
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. (If they don't learn "good ole" quickly, we lynch them.)
Be advised that 'He needed killin' is a valid defense here. (Amen.)
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. (Yeah, Bubba shot the juke box.)
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. (We go there to buy frozen food.)
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. (How do you think Bubba learned to shoot the juke box?)
The North has sun-dried toe-mah-toes .. The South has 'mater samiches. (And we fry them green, too.)
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 Edwin Edwards. (I'll take Edwin over Ted any day.)
The North has an ambulance .. The South has an am-ba-lance.
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 crawfish. (And shrimp and blue crabs.)
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 them biscuits.
We'll accept you when you eat grits and use "y'all" correctly in civilized conversation.
All content © Rob Smith