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How to avoid a butt whuppin’

When it comes to supplying its readers with useful and thought-provoking information, newspapers are such wonderful tools.

From letting you know what your local government, passing along information concerning a civic club or church fundraiser or letting you know who was born, who got married and who died, the 50 cents you spend for this publication is dirt cheap, not to mention so convenient.

The &uot;paper&uot; is always there, waiting for you to double-check some info you earlier read. Think of how many quarters you’d go through at a payphone (or how high your residential phone bill would climb) is you were forced to use that device to call around in order to find the information you are seeking.

But what about imports to our little neck of the woods. Sure, they need to know what’s going on locally as well, but their first order of business should be how not to offend Southerners. We’re normally a very calm and peaceful people (don’t believe for one minute that all those feuding rednecks on Springer live in trailer parks Down South). But there’s one way domestic foreigners can get us all riled up and that’s to make fun of us.

Keeping with the &uot;useful information&uot; theme, the following is for all visiting (or in extreme cases, transplants now living here, with the exception of Amanda VanDerBroek who we have adopted as one of us) Northerners, Northeasterners, Northwesterners, Westerners and Southwestern Urbanites. It’s entitled, &uot;How to Avoid a good Southern Butt Whuppin.&uot; Learn ’em and protect your derriere from getting &uot;dusted.

Don’t fake a Southern accent. This will incite a riot and will also lead to having your fanny kicked.

Don’t attempt to order filet mignon or pasta primavera at Waffle House. It’s just a diner. They serve breakfast 24 hours a day. Let them cook something they know how to do, like burst toast and runny eggs. If you confuse them, they’ll kick you square in the behind.

We are fully aware of how high the humidity is, so stop with all the whining. If you don’t like it here, our state has I 95 and I 85 running north and south and I 40 traversing east and west – take your choice.

Don’t order a bottle of pop or a can of soda here. Down here it’s called Coke. Nobody gives a flip whether it’s Pepsi, RC, Dr. Pepper, 7-Up or whatever… it’s still a Coke. Accept it. Doing otherwise can lead to a butt whuppin’.

We have plenty of business sense (e.g., Fred Smith of Fed Ex, Sam Walton, Oprah, Turner Broadcasting, MCI WorldCom, MTV, Netscape are all Southern born). Naturally we do sometimes have small lapses in judgment (e.g. George Wallace, Al Gore, David Duke, John Edwards).

Don’t laugh at our Civil War monuments. If Lee had listened to Longstreet and flanked Meade at Gettysburg instead of sending Pickett up the middle, you’d be paying taxes to Richmond instead of Washington.

Don’t laugh at our Southern names (Merleen, Luther, Tammy Lynn, Inez, Billy Joe, Sissy, Clovis, etc.). If you do choose to laugh, then Sissy’s third cousin, twice removed, on her mama’s side – that would be Maybelle Angeline, the daughter of Lester and Bella – will scold your rear end.

Don’t order wheat toast at Cracker Barrel. Everyone will instantly know that you’re a Yankee. Eat your biscuits like God intended, with gravy. And don’t put sugar on your grits.

Don’t talk about how much better things are at home because we know better. Many of us have visited Cleveland, New York, Chicago and DC and we have the scars to prove it. If you don’t like it here, American Airlines and Delta are ready when you are. Move your butt on home before it gets kicked.

Yes, we know how to speak proper English. We don’t care if you don’t understand what we are saying. All other Southerners understand what we are saying and that’s all that matters.

Don’t complain that the South is dirty and polluted. None of our lakes or rivers has caught fire recently.

Don’t ridicule our Southern manners. We say sir and ma’am. We hold doors open for others. We offer our seats to old folks because such things are expected of civilized people. Behave yourselves around our sweet little gray-haired grandmothers or they’ll kick some manners into your backside just like they did ours.

Last, but not least, do not dare to come down here and tell us how to cook barbecue. Down here, barbecue is a noun, not a verb. We don’t &uot;barbecue&uot; our food – we eat barbecue. The failure to recognize this well-known Southern fact will get you shot faster than you can whistle Dixie. What’s that you say…you don’t know the tune to Dixie? Well then brace yourself for another butt whuppin’.