Thursday, June 9, 2011

Please Don't Kick Me Out of the South

I pride myself on being a good little Southern girl.  I say please, thank you, ma’am, sir and ya’ll.  I am a religious follower of ACC Basketball and I’ve even gotten a taste for NASCAR over the years.  I’ve done time in cotillion and, in addition to learning that a proper lady crosses her ankles when she sits, I can fox trot and waltz.  I think that grits are their own basic food group.  I’m so Southern that my Baby Belles were even Southern in utero:  When I was pregnant with Baby Belle 2, I craved hot dogs (which I normally detest) and Moon Pies—I refused to take a sip of RC Cola for fear that I might have loved that as well.  I also have crushing guilt for being unable to send thank-you notes as the result of my overeager Baby Belles ripping into their various Christmas/birthday presents and squirreling off with their contents without my knowledge.

I can go all Obama and submit a State of North Carolina, County of New Hanover birth certificate as proof positive of my origin, but I don’t think that anyone could seriously question my lineage at this point.  I also know that I am taking my life into my own hands telling you what I am about to tell you, but I have made a commitment to you to pull no punches and—let’s face it—tact ain’t my style anyway.

So here goes:  Boys and Belles, I am American by right and Southern by the grace of God, but I don’t like barbeque and I hate football.

Please don’t kick me out...I still have lots of good qualities.

I do so despair to cast blame, but I fear that I must credit my parents with my dislike of barbeque.  I am living proof of the hypothesis that one can, in fact, have too much of a good thing.  My parents love barbeque—Jackson’s Barbeque on Kerr Avenue is their favorite “over the counter” variety (my godfather’s is the above-and-beyond favorite and even I will drop everything and drive to Pender County when Needham cooks a pig).

As a result of my parents’ unbridled love of the Q, we had Jackson’s for dinner at least one night a week when I was living under their roof.  Pig, hushpuppies, slaw and Brunswick stew.  A lot of pig, hushpuppies, slaw and Brunswick stew.  Just thinking about it now...vurp. 

In addition to the mass quantities laid upon my plate when I was a kid, my other problem with the Q is when folks like to serve it.  The last thing I want when it is 985 degrees outside is heavy, spicy food.  Hot days are what watermelon and grilled chicken are for.  Again...vurp.

Yes, yes, I know that the South was built on barbeque and a war still wages to this day about sweet barbeque versus vinegar barbeque, but you can keep every last bite of it as far as I’m concerned.  I’ll be drinking a smoothie in the shade.

Now:  Football.  My dad played football in high school, so I gave observation and comprehension the old college try for a while.  I hate to say it, but it strikes me as a really long and boring word problem from Hell.  There are more rules than a diplomatic mission to Kazakhstan and they are three times more arbitrary. 

The dude gets the football and runs about three feet before six dudes from the opposing team knock the crap out of him and pile on top.  Of course, we can’t take thousands of fans, players on the field, broadcasters, instant replays or even the referee’s word for it—let’s get out the measuring tape!  Okay...let’s see...hmm...yep, three feet.  Oh, pause for commercial break!  We’re back.  Wait, one more time out.  Should we measure again?  Let’s at least debate about it for a second.  Okay, that’s another two minutes we’ll never get back so LET’S PLAY BALL!  Ooh, ooh, he caught it!  Ooh, he dropped it.  Let’s get repositioned.  Ooh, ooh, he caught it!  He’s running!  He’s tackled.  Whaddya think?  Two feet?  A foot and a half?  Let’s measure, shall we?  Repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat...and there’s Ashley banging her head against the wall.

I also get a chuckle out of my British friends musing at the absurdity of grown men padding up to play what is essentially rugby. 

I willingly admit that my attention span might very well be my problem with football.  I’ve never been diagnosed with A.D.D., but basketball is much more suited to my brain.  Run, shoot, score, run, shoot, score—no measuring or debating—it’s straightforward and it keeps moving. 

So, as I am sure you can imagine, tailgating at a football game with barbeque holds absolutely zero appeal to me.  Nonetheless, I maintain that I am a good Southern girl.  Just like every Southern Belle, I have my own mind and I know my likes and dislikes and—although I respect other peoples’ opinions—I’m not going to lose any sleep over what they think of mine.  At the end of the day, I say “please,” “thank-you,” “yes, ma’am,” and “no, sir” and I make sure not to talk with my grits in my mouth.

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