Sunday, August 17, 2008

Redneckism as a global phenomenon

So I’m hanging out with my friend Gary from Michigan, right? And he keeps referring to certain of his co-workers as “rednecks” – which leads me to assume that they must be transplants from the Deep South, but no, it turns out that they’re native Michiganders.* Well I’m wondering whether someone shouldn’t sue somebody -- like Greece sued Denmark to keep them from selling white cheese and calling it “feta”. Don’t we have proprietary use of the word “redneck” south of the Mason-Dixon Line?

Fast forward a year. We’re here in the Republic of Macedonia, and we’ve found the house where we hope to live for the next four years. The current owner is a surgeon and the ex minister of health**. He bought the house about a year ago, but he has never lived in it. He claims that he bought it just because he liked the location and that he didn’t even bother to look inside. I’m sure he’s exaggerating, but I can certainly see why he wouldn’t want us to assume that this house reflects his taste. As we get to know the place, I feel like I’m getting to know the ex owner, and I’m starting to believe that redneckism really is a global phenomenon.  

You know Jeff Foxworthy’s, “You might be a redneck” routine? Well there’s one that goes something like, “If the last time you mowed your yard you found two cars you didn’t know you had, you might be a redneck.” When we first rented this house, the yard was a jungle. Let’s see, how can I describe how bad it was… I mean I was like expecting a rhino to come charging out at me or something. Let me interject here that it’s going to be a really nice yard. It has grape vines, apricot and plum trees, and rose bushes. But you would never have known that before we started hacking, sawing, and chopping. Actually I didn’t find any cars, but I did find a rusty truck bumper, a rotting basketball backboard, a toilet tank and numerous other assorted objects in various states of decomposition. 

“So what?” you say. “Just having junk in an overgrown yard doesn’t make you a redneck.” Well hang on, I’m not finished yet. This guy’s idea of interior decorating was to glue parquet flooring to the walls in the entry hallway and dining room. I thought it was pretty innovative of him (though I do wish that he hadn’t left the edges so raggedy and crooked). But it really makes Mary want to climb the walls. (Get it? Climb the walls…) And did I tell you about the garage? He had some kind of pit rigged up in the floor – apparently for changing the oil.

Still not convinced? Just wait. When we were touring the house with the realtor, we noticed that the kitchen was smaller than some closets we’ve seen. We also noticed a strange floor to ceiling depression in the dining room wall about a foot wide and a foot deep and covered with a locking wrought iron door. Have you guessed it yet? Yep, a built in gun cabinet! So I would like to propose the following addition to Jeff Foxworthy’s redneck routine. “If your gun cabinet is bigger than your wife’s kitchen, you might be a redneck.”***

I have to say, I’m starting to feel truly at home!

*That’s really what you call them. I asked someone from Michigan and that’s what he told me. Which raises the question in my mind whether the female of the species should be referred to as a “Michigoose.”

** Kind of like their surgeon general. Except that the Republic of Macedonia only has two million people. So maybe it would be like the surgeon general of New Mexico. Does anybody know if New Mexico has a surgeon general?

***For those of you too redneck to recognize hyperbole, no, the gun cabinet is not literally larger than the kitchen.


Zechariah said...

sounds like you found yourself a maybe you were right about having to settle for the wrong place.

kosovacajun said...

I really do like it. It has a whole lot going for it. But it really is taking us a while to really make it feel like home.

Rachel said...

Wow, now I really wish you hadn't lost the camera. Sounds like a palace. I'm sure you guys will get it in shape in no time, though.

I think this is my favorite post so far.

Rebecca said...

too funny....I am with Rachel. We need before and after pictures to know this is not just creative license!!!

Zechariah said...

I can tell when Mark has been to my Xanga, the footprints reads "Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of." Now that's just awesome.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Foxworthy has commented that you can find Rednecks everywhere. Personally, I feel that we in Dixie should own the rights to the word "Redneck." I am willing to give those in Appalachia the rights to "Hillbilly." The rest can call themselves "White Trash." Or even worse, "Texans."