Slow dancing in the Waffle House

Published 10:02 am Tuesday, May 1, 2018

If you live in northeastern North Carolina, chances are you are a redneck.

That’s not to say you are one; just a chance that you inherited redneck characteristics – aka the redneck gene –from your ancestors. There’s even an outside chance that you were transposed into “redneckism” based upon your environment.

Nothing screams redneck louder than one of them high-rise pick-em-up trucks. You know the ones I’m talking about – those needing a short set of stairs, or in the most extreme cases of redneckdom, an elevator, in order to make your way into the cab. If, by chance, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” or “Free Bird” is blaring away from the twin set of Pioneer home-style cabinet speakers tucked away behind the seats, then you’ve simply died and gone to Redneck Heaven.

But if you don’t drive around in a truck so high off the ground that you get a nosebleed, then how does someone qualify as a redneck?

The generalized definition of redneck is, “a poor, white farmer or sharecropper.” However, the majority of the free world views a redneck as, “anyone that lacks sophistication.”

Rednecks are not just confined south of the Mason-Dixon line. One can find rednecks in North Dakota, New York, New Mexico and Montana, and they come in all shapes, sizes and colors. I’ve even met a few from upstate Maine….had it not been for their Yankee accent, their actions screamed of redneck.

Jeff Foxworthy, the king of all rednecks, has made a fortune off telling jokes about those living in singlewide trailers with enough junk vehicles in the backyard to start their own used car business. But there are other ways to know the signs of being a redneck; which include:

Your standard of living improves when you go camping.

Your prenuptial agreement mentions chickens.

You have jacked up your home to look for a dog, or ripped up the boards from a porch to accomplish the same task.

You have a relative living in your garage.

Your neighbor has ever asked to borrow a quart of beer.

There is a belch on your answering machine greeting.

You have rebuilt a carburetor while sitting on the commode.

None of the tires on your van are the same size.

You hold the hood of your car with your head while you work on it.

Your idea of getting lucky is passing the vehicle emissions test.

Your town put its new garbage truck in the Christmas parade.

Your local beauty salon also fixes cars. It may also offer fishing bait and tackle for sale.

Your doghouse and your living room have the same shag carpet.

You’ve ever slow danced in the Waffle House.

Starting your car involves popping the hood.

Your garbage man is confused about what goes and what stays.

You whistle at women in church.

You actually wear shoes your dog brought home.

You’ve been in a fistfight at a yard sale.

And, my all-time favorite….You carry a fly swatter in the front seat of the car so you can reach the kids in the backseat.


Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be reached 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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