Adventures in Redneckdom

February 8th, 2010 by

I’m beginning to feel like an Atlanta apologist. I’m always trying to explain to people that the area within a reasonable distance of downtown Atlanta is not full of toothless racists, but is actually a culturally diverse, largely imported population of educated normal people. And that is true.

But I also try to explain to people that the traffic in Atlanta is not as bad as everyone says. The traffic going THROUGH Atlanta on the 73 lane superconnector sucks hard and often, but in the city itself I can count on three fingers how many times I have been slowed down by congestion. Two. The third finger is silent.

No one believes me anyway. And as far as the redneck thing goes, once in a while some of them will slip past the security fence and wander around the big city pointing at all a’ them queers and negroes, saying things like “Man, I just dunno how anybody could live here.”

Funny, I say the same thing about your neighborhood, but I don’t find myself lost in it nearly as often.

At the grocery store several weeks ago, I pulled into a parking space, not knowing that the guy I just passed was trying to back into that very space. He honked, but I didn’t know or care what he was honking at because I was sure I had nothing to do with it. Plus, physics dictates that you cannot honk at someone behind you. When I got into the store, I heard from behind me “You better pay better attention, faggot.”

…and turned to see Eric. A Carhartt™ clad fellow with a camouflaged hat on. I knew his name was Eric because it was on his shirt. I also knew he had a shitty job because only shitty jobs make you wear nametags. What I didn’t know was why he was calling me a faggot.

“I’m sorry, whoa. Whatza?” I asked
“I said you better watch where you’re going.”
“And the last part? Faggot? My name is Dusty, actually, but I can see how you’d be confused. I get that all the time. (He was catching on to my patronizing tone, so I stopped before he started punching me). What’s the problem?”
The long and short of it was that he was “fixin’” to back into that space and I ruined his plan.

Believe me, I will tear someone’s face off if they try to zip into my parking space before me, but this guy was at a dead stop for a good 15 seconds in a parking deck taking up all kinds of room, not indicating that he was fixin to do anything. Plus he’s a white guy and we all know that only black people back into their parking spaces. What’s next, he was wearing a Bluetooth earpiece?

I’ve realized lately that I have burned a lot of calories being pissed off at people, and this was an opportunity to try something less stressful.

“Dude, that sucks of me. I’ll go move my car. Man, I hate when people do that to me.” And I took my keys out of my pocket. I was really going to walk back out there and park wherever he wanted me to.
“That ain’t the thing of it – you just need to learn to watch out.”

That ain’t the thing of it. Sometimes I wonder if not knowing a lot of words would be easier in some ways, or if the inability to express yourself just causes the kind of frustration that keeps stupid people angry.

“Will do. You sure you don’t want me to move my car?”
“Man, I already told you, you just need to pay attention, how hard is that?”
“Okay, so you don’t want me to move my car? (people were sort of watching now and I was getting embarrassed, and I was starting to get mad in spite of myself) And we’re just going over whatever it is you need to teach me right now? I understand and I’m sorry for doing that. Are we done?”

He gave me a dismissive wave of his hand and started walking away.

“Eric?” I said
He was confused by my knowing his name and probably by the fact that I could read.
“If you think of anything else I can do to make it up to you, I’ll be in frozen foods or produce.”

Luckily I didn’t get knocked out while shopping.

Not a week later, after Alabama won a football championship, I had yet another awesome redneck encounter, this time on the 73 lane superconnector I spoke of earlier.

Minding my own business while driving home from work, I notice a big red SUV in the lane to the right of me. I noticed it because it had every kind of Alabama University football magnet you can buy stuck to it somewhere, as well as not one, but two of those little flags that stick up above the doors and start falling apart at speeds over 60 mph.

I feel a little bit like a dick saying this because I have friends who do it, but if you are no longer in college and have more than 2 pieces of flare in support of the school you went to, you lose IQ points. If it is a school you never went to, you lose 3. If it is a school you never went to and you never went to college, you should switch to NASCAR.

If I had to guess, this truck was full of recent graduates or current students. They were in their 20s and 30s, wearing the fratboy uniform – golf shirts and khaki pants. I couldn’t see their pants, but I’d bet my health they were khaki.

I went to Auburn, which is the arch rival of Alabama, but I assure you I barely cared when I was in school and I care even less now what school you went to. So go ahead and hit me with jokes about how Auburn has fat chicks and people who graduate from Auburn are stupid. I’m not a product or a reflection of the college I went to.

As long as I’m avoiding telling the actual story I came to tell, I’ll wax on about my baseless opinion of a college education. It is at once the most valuable and worthless thing you will every pay $65,000 for. How do I know this? Look at almost any job that requires a college degree to attain or advance in. Now look at how grammatically incorrect that last sentence was and how I know enough to understand that it isn’t right, but not enough to fix it. Now go back to the job thing. Let’s say you are trying to get a promotion or a job and they say, “You need a degree to get this job.” You say “Okay, what kind of degree?” They say “A bachelor’s degree.” You say “No shit. I meant in what discipline?” They say “Oh, we don’t give a fuck. Just get a degree.”

On the other hand, I know a lot of folks (myself included) that did 90% of their growing up and becoming an adult in college. It’s a perfect balance of being on your own and still having some buffer from the stupid mistakes you will make. One of my favorite quotes is from David Gardner –

“We learn simply by the exposure of living. Much that passes for education is not education at all but ritual. The fact is that we are being educated when we know it least.”

That alone should tell you that the degree itself is irrelevant. And there are lots of jobs that will tell you just that. Driving airplanes is one of them. You need a college degree to be considered to fly for an airline. So two of my friends are going to college in addition to working as flight instructors – one is majoring in French and the other in Norse Mythology. The guy who is majoring in French grew up in France, and the other guy is actually the god of seafaring and crop fertilization. I know because I asked when we carpooled to work and he picked me up on a giant armor clad polar bear.

ANYWAYS. I hate when people put an “s” on the word “anyway”, Traffic was stop and go, and I passed the Alabama SUV a couple of times. They were having a good time because Alabama won the college champion supergame. Finally I saw the driver’s window roll down. I assumed the guy was going to ask if he could pull in ahead of me so I chambered my patented “Yeah, man, go ahead” hand wave/head nod combo.

Instead, he screamed “ROLL TIDE!” and the guy in the back seat rolled down his window and screamed something about a Yellow hammer and tried to rhyme it with Alabama. Then he violently shook his water bottle all over my car. Re. Tards.

It didn’t really make me mad as much as confuse me. Why did they choose to direct their dipshit rays at my car? I rolled up the window and drove the rest of the way home, wondering “why me?”

When I got out of my car and looked on the back window to make sure it was water he splashed on me and not urine, I saw my license plate frame. I bought it about 15 years ago when I was a sophomore at Auburn. It says “Auburn University”.

So I went inside and got a screwdriver and took it off. I was going to throw it away, but instead I autographed it and will put it on Ebay. Someone will buy it because I autographed it as someone famous. No, not anyone in particular. I just wrote the words “Someone Famous” in fancy script on the back. I’ll post it tonight and there’s no reserve price, so hurry – supplies are limited.

I didn’t take it off because I am ashamed of the school I went to. I took it off because I don’t want to be associated in any way with college sports fans. Particularly SEC sports fans. I’ve been to a few events with the wife that centered around her school’s conference, which is the Big 11. They call it the big 10, but there are eleven schools in it, so I’m doing my part to take the dipshitticy out of college sports.

Big 10 fans seem to have a better grasp on reality than the SEC fans do. You know…it’s really just a game, meant for entertainment, it is possible for your team to make a bad play (and it’s not your responsibility to deny reality and argue the opposite), the ref is not in the pocket of the other team’s coach, there is no need to start a fight with someone who calls the quarterback of your team a homo, and so on.

Oh yeah, at 4:30 Eastern on Thursday. Call in and hit us with your favorite college joke. Make me cry. Or call in and tell me I’m stupid. Or tell Nightmare he’s smart. Or ask Jenna what she’s wearing.

17 Responses to “Adventures in Redneckdom”

  1. on 08 Feb 2010 at 2:12 pm davejase

    Ha. Ha. I was just wondering when we’d hear from our favey blogger again! Thanks Dusty

  2. on 08 Feb 2010 at 2:15 pm Dugenator

    At least I didnt waist my collegde time. Bestest seven years of ma live.

    Wanna beer?

  3. on 08 Feb 2010 at 2:39 pm warcrygirl

    I’ll soon be going back to college to get my 4 year degree. I have two 2-year degrees so imagine my astonishment that added together they didn’t equal a 4 year degree. Anyway, they’ve changed the rules on me since the last time I held a job outside the home (about 10 years ago): used to be I could get The Job but not The Pay, which was fine because I knew I could do The Work and I’d just work my way up. No problem. Now I can’t even get my foot in The Door because I don’t have a 4 year degree despite the fact I can STILL do The Work. So know I have to go back to school for 2.5 years (online since I live in the heart of Rednecksville) to get a degree so I can get the job I can already do. FML.

  4. on 08 Feb 2010 at 2:41 pm warcrygirl

    Also, my kids (ages 11 and 8) will punch each other in the head while arguing who sucks more, UNC or NC State. Hubby is a Duke fan, I don’t give a ripping shit. I want that on a flag I can hang on the front of my house.

  5. on 08 Feb 2010 at 2:45 pm warcrygirl

    Crap, that’s age 8.

  6. on 08 Feb 2010 at 2:47 pm Ryan

    A Bachelors’ degree is merely proof that you have finished something you started beyond highschool. At least that’s what I’ve gathered with my $80,000 education. Still, they hire people without a degree to do my job (and can them after a couple of months, because they don’t do the “whole” job).

  7. on 08 Feb 2010 at 3:02 pm phil

    Dusty…welcome to my life. The Gator Bowl: A giant warm pool of chicken-wing-studded-beer-vomit.

    I was happy Alabama won because it pissed off these annoying Gator fans.

    “…wearing the fratboy uniform – golf shirts and khaki pants.” – you forgot the baseball hat worn backwards and the goatee, known in some incarcerated circles, as “prison bush”

    jax, fl

  8. on 08 Feb 2010 at 3:14 pm Eric

    Thanks for the chuckle Dusty! Keep fighting the good fight! Cheers.

  9. on 08 Feb 2010 at 4:08 pm Jenny

    I love you so much.

  10. on 08 Feb 2010 at 8:12 pm John

    Auburn sucks. Heh. As if I know. Or care. Or write complete sentences. Where’s my drink?

  11. on 09 Feb 2010 at 1:18 am tolladay

    I always figured a college degree was proof that you could it in one place, take all kinds of shit, and still smile. For me it taught me two very important things. 1) How to game a bureaucracy to get what you want, and 2) How to drink beer at all hours.

    I have a degree in History, but make a living as an artist. Worse still I only took two art classes on college, and one of them is the only “F” on my transcripts.

    But I did have a lot of fun.

  12. on 09 Feb 2010 at 7:51 am Jim C.

    I always enjoy your posts, Dusty.

    Anyway (no “s”), you’re right about the degree itself being pretty much irrelevant. Granted, there are exceptions where specialized training is necessary (doctors come to mind), but in the business realm, that tends not to be the case. I received my degree in English, but work in the Financial field as a registered securities representative. Go figure…

    I’ve found what matters most (besides proof of graduation) are interpersonal skills — (e.g. Do you play well with others?). You can be the smartest person in the world, but without viable people skills, you might as well start building that cabin in Montana to write your manifesto.

  13. on 09 Feb 2010 at 5:04 pm Joe 12-pack

    re: Re. Tards.
    Now you’re going to have Sarah Palin all over your shit.

  14. on 09 Feb 2010 at 8:15 pm Skipopotomus

    dude, I’m white and back in just about all the time. I didn’t know it was a racial thing. Hmmm…

  15. on 09 Feb 2010 at 9:15 pm Zair

    “At least I didnt waist my collegde time. Bestest seven years of ma live.”

    Dugenator, you spelled colledge wrong!

  16. on 11 Feb 2010 at 3:38 pm Ernie

    Dude, if it wasn’t for college, dude, I would have no idea how to, like, communicate with people and shit like that, yo.

    No, but seriously. My college education cost $30,000 a year. No, I learned to type the right number of zeros before college- that number is correct. I majored in Creative Writing and Theatre. Everyone shit their pants with glee when I graduated… in fact, it only took my father six years to realize I more or less majored in Ass Wiping and Drooling. I knew exactly what I was doing, and I have a job I love that is neither dramatic, nor does it involve short fiction writing. I’m a living statistic to prove your point.

  17. on 12 Feb 2010 at 11:09 am fourthstooge

    auburn DOES suck… rtr

    thanks for many more smiles, Dusty

    rock on