This piece could have been titled Interview With A Hillbilly.
I was led back down a long hall way that separated the storage side of the barns from the rest. The last doorway on the left. A shadow in the shape of a man. The room is dark. He begins to speak, his voice garbled and disguised electronically.
My guide is explaining about the interview process but the mysterious figure is already talking. “Shh! Listen!”
The guide says, “Ha ha he talks funny,” and then continues to ramble about the coffee down at cafe.
I heard the mysterious figure expounding upon the deepest secrets and mysteries of the universe but I forgot to write any of it down because my guide was talking too much. “Shut up and Listen! I want to write down what he says!”
And here, friends and neighbors, is what he said:
When I was just a baby I used to cry every day because I wasn’t a hillbilly. Why did mom and dad have to go to the wrong side of the river just before I was born? How could I ever go through life as a buckeye? I felt hopeless and doomed from the start. One day my mother told me the truth. She said that after they had closed the doors at that hospital she was beaned back to Kentucky with special secret alien technology. I was born right there in the state of Kentucky and then instantaneously transported back to the Ohio hospital delivery room. Naturally, I didn’t believe a word of that crap so I asked where her and dad were 9 months before I was born when the ‘thing’ happened. “Kentucky.” Yee ha! I’m a hillbilly!
Nearly everyone in my entire family moved up north back in the 1960s and 1970s. We moved back and forth and so I would be in the city for awhile and then in the country. Whenever I was down south they would say “you talk like a fancy northerner!” or “Ya gyall durned buckeye!” but when I was up north I was a hillbilly or a hick. I never once felt sorry or embarrassed about it either. Of course just the natural fact that I was always traveling back and forth led to me developing my own hybrid crazy accent.
When someone would call me hillbilly or make fun of how I pronounced a word I didn’t get embarrassed; If anything I might get mad. I didn’t try to change the way I spoke to suit them. I was taking a music course and at the first session the instructor tried to correct my pronunciation. I said, “Buddy I am here to learn more about the guitar. It’s not your job to teach me how to talk.” I wasn’t rude or upset at all, just blunt. From then on he never mentioned a word about the way I pronounced my words.
Lets face it though, people who talk with a significantly different “accent” are hilarious. That’s true for pretty much anyone. Don’t you want to laugh when you hear a strong British accent or perhaps someone from Alabama or Kentucky? Personally when I hear one of those guys out on Staten Island goin’ at it it cracks me up.
I know someone who lives in Ohio who is convinced that she and her ‘neighbors’ speak exact and proper English and everyone else is wrong. She seems to have no idea how she would be viewed if she were up in Brooklyn talking to some folks in a street side cafe. Or even in Portland; nearly everywhere but her Ohio she would be seen as having an accent or “talkin’ funny”. That is exactly why all of this is so funny! There is no such thing as the so-called proper pronunciation! It’s a myth! The worlds highest educated and traveled scholars will not all have the same accent or pronunciation. So what makes you think you are better than anyone else just because of the way you pronounce your verbiage?
The truth is folks that we all “tawk funny” every last one of us. If you don’t believe that you talk funny go out and jump in a car, a bus, a jet or a train and go 500 miles in any direction. Find the nearest tavern or “spot” and go in there and start talking to people. Guess what? You tawk funny!
There you have it folks.
The Buckabilly who thinks he’s a Hillbilly says y’all talk funny!
Aint you good and mad?
I am a moderator on an active website and I see comments similar to “I don’t believe you because you didn’t use correct grammar…” or “Your statement is a lie because you can’t spell…” Comments like that tend to be deleted and so do not see the ‘light of day’ but many folks comment that way nonetheless. I suppose if a writer used perfect grammar these people would believe them regardless of the truth? The inability to write perfectly is equal to the inability to tell the truth? Why man! There silly crap to laugh at every which way you turn!
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