March 18, 2011
7. FOOTBALL IS KING
Jesus, people, it’s only a game! When the high-school football team won the state championships, all of Abbeville shut down and ran to the town square to cheer hysterically. Team members created a makeshift parade and drove around in the back of pickup trucks waving their arms in the air like they”d just won WWIII. Nobody cares who the mayor is, but the high-school football coach is treated like royalty.
8. THEY DON”T OSTRACIZE FREAKS
I met a very eccentric chap named Patrick who didn”t wear shoes and painted elaborate conspiracy theories all over his van. He had a huge beard and drove around the state giving churches a DVD he made about the imminent apocalypse. Everyone knew him and despite his bizarre lifestyle, they all (rich and poor) spoke to him like family. I don”t know if it’s because I”m hung over, but I almost cried writing that.
9. METH IS THEIR COKE
At any given New York bar, you can be sure a good 5% of the patrons are on coke. They grind their jaws, talk a lot about nothing, and go to the bathroom every ten minutes. The South’s 5% have golf balls for eyes and consider 6 a.m. to be “gettin” kinda late.” I”m not talking about trailer trash, either. These are middle-class thirtysomethings who have decided coke simply doesn”t provide the gusto required for a good night/day/night of partying.
10. IT’s KID HEAVEN
At a fancy-pants family reunion with at least 100 attendees and a matriarch who looked like Yoda, I met some 12-year-olds who were way cooler than me. I asked them what shows they watch and they said they don”t have time for TV. Instead, they get on their Enduro motorbikes and tear through the forest with .22 rifles on their backs. When they see a rabbit, they stop, blow its head off, and continue on their merry way. One kid had a black eye and I asked him if it was from a fight. “Nope,” he said smiling, “I crashed a golf cart and it rolled on top of me.”
“But we do fight,” the first kid interjected, “a lot.” The fights usually involve one kid marring another’s honor, so they meet at an abandoned baseball field to settle it. “I like to do it “til they say they”re sorry,” he told me with a huge grin.
“You”re not a bully, are you?” I asked. “You don”t pick fights for no reason, do you?”
“Oh, no,” he responded, “I only do it when I have to and I only win about half the time.” This was the first time in my life I”ve ever been jealous of a little kid.
In conclusion, it is the dissimilarities and inequalities among men which give rise to the notion of honor. I”ve been drinking South Carolina moonshine, so I have no idea what that last sentence meant. Also, they really love sweet tea. I left my journey more than enamored with the South and if they ever fix the part where it’s like living in a microwave six months of the year, I”m hoppin” over that Mason-Dixon Line like a frog done sat on a firecracker.