How to avoid a butt whuppin’

Published 9:37 am Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Those of us born and raised below the Mason-Dixon Line need to welcome those who have wised up and look to call the South as their new home.

We welcome imports to our little neck of the woods, but the first item of business they need to learn upon arrival is to know 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.

For our new transplanted friends and neighbors, I offer these words of wisdom entitled, “How to Avoid a good Southern Butt Whuppin.” Learn ’em and protect your derriere from getting “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.

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.

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.

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 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 “barbecue” 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’.

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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