Monday, May 19, 2008

It Doesn't Get Any More Southern Than This

For the most part, the various regions of our fine country have characteristics that are unique to each area. Sometimes it's a particular landscape (the California coast) or a certain tourist attraction (Empire State Building). Sometimes it's a concentrated religion (Utah has a lot of Mormons) or a popular sport (skiing in Colorado). And other times it's, well...other times it's none of those things. And those are times when you're in the South.

Now, I concede that there are some fine individuals who happen to reside in the southern United States. There are even some fine, intelligent individuals living down there (though not as many as just the fine individuals). But if you reside in one of the southern states, you have to agree that a lot of the folk down there are not exactly the sharpest tools in the shed.

You know it's true! If there is a story about a female teacher sexing up one of her young male students, nine times out of ten it's in Florida. Any story involving a tractor? In the south. Any story involving some sort of farm animal? In the south. Any story involving a ridiculous amount of alcohol? In the south (or in the UK, I'll give you that one). Any story involving stereotypical behaviors reminiscent of the Hatfields and the McCoys? In the south. This story is NO different.

Let's take a look at Arkansas. Down in the town of Hartman, AK, an individual has been charged with drunk driving. What's the big deal about that? Well, the Arkansas resident in this case is twelve. Welcome to the south. See how many southern details you can spot in the description of this event. Actually, I'll count them off for you. You'll lose count. I almost did.

The 12-year old boy (one) is facing a drunken driving charge (two) after he and his 10-year old friend (three, and welcome back to the south) drank his parents' beer (four), "got liquored up" (five), drove off in his stepfather's (six) pickup truck (seven) to find a girl (eight) they met at a rodeo (nine). He made it ten miles (ten) before losing control of the truck (eleven) and hitting a guardrail (twelve), sending the truck down a hill (thirteen) and into a forest (Oh, my God, fourteen.). But wait. There's more.

The boys got out of the truck and found a house and started banging on the front door (fifteen) at 2:30 a.m. (sixteen). Clark James answered the front door with a shotgun in his hand (seventeen). According to James, the 12-year old said, 'I'm drunk (eighteen) and I had a wreck (nineteen)," James said he looked at the boy and thought 'You're kind of young to be out drinking (twenty). And you sure shouldn't be driving (twenty one)." Master of the obvious, that Clark.

James bets that both Johnson County boys are grounded for life. Do you think? Because I don't! If you have a 12-year old and a 10-year old drinking your beer in your house (presumably. I suppose they could have been in the barn or the back of the pickup) at 2:30 in the freaking morning and they then go for a drive in your truck, I'm thinking that asserting any sort of parental control is far beyond the capability and apparent comprehension of those folks. And all it does is reaffirm many of the unflattering stereotypes about the south and those who live there. That's why, sadly, none of it really surprises me. Well, that's not entirely true. The only thing that kind of surprises me a little is that there wasn't a chicken or a pig in the truck.

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