March 18, 2011

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.

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.

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 “€œgettin”€™ 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.

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. “€œNope,”€ he said smiling, “€œI crashed a golf cart and it rolled on top of me.”€

“€œBut we do fight,”€ the first kid interjected, “€œa lot.”€ The fights usually involve one kid marring another’s honor, so they meet at an abandoned baseball field to settle it. “€œI like to do it “€™til they say they”€™re sorry,”€ he told me with a huge grin.

“€œYou”€™re not a bully, are you?”€ I asked. “€œYou don”€™t pick fights for no reason, do you?”€

“€œOh, no,”€ he responded, “€œI 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.



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