I’ve lived in and near the proper South most of my life. I consider myself a Southerner, as my mother’s side of the family hails from Georgia and I was born in Charleston, South Carolina. While I spent a few of my formative years in northwestern Arkansas, which is hardly representative of Old Confederacy values (the Fayetteville/Eureka Springs area is a little hippy-dippy), I am not unfamiliar with southern culture. At all.
But sometimes I forget that I’m in The South again. It’s my funny t-shirt collection that reminds me. For instance, I actually changed out of my Jesus riding a dinosaur shirt yesterday before taking my son for a walk. Yeah, I chickened out. Because I’ll never forget how I felt the time I was living in the Redneck Riviera (the panhandle of Florida, “Lower Alabama”) and opened the door to find my neighbor standing there…while I–blissfully unaware–had “I LOVE MIDGET PORN” emblazoned on my chest.
I’m not sure I can get away with those kinds of novelty t-shirts here. The house down the street from me has a “He is Risen” sign hanging from it. I shit you not. I’m guessing the owners won’t find my Jesus on the dinosaur tee as funny as I do.
HOW WILL I EXPRESS MY INDIVIDUALITY NOW? If can’t wear my funny tees, how will people know I’m the kooky neighbor who likes to pop in, borrow sugar, and deliver the biggest laugh line? HOW? HOW? I guess I’ll have to ask Jaleel White.