Friday, January 06, 2006

Last Hillbilly Rant, I Promise!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," your premier portal to hillbilly hard feelings!

Boy, am I in it up to the ol' keyster today.

Last night over supper, my younger daughter, The Spare, asked me, "Didn't you grow up near the Appalachian Trail?"

Well, it sure wasn't far from home, and I would never tell The Spare about some of my adventures on it. Why fuel her penchant for danger?

The Spare continued: "Mrs. Jones was talking about poverty, and she said the people who live along the Appalachian Trail are poor and overlooked, and they don't get good educations."

Hmmmm. Uh oh. Wrong day for Mrs. Jones to make that observation.

Fired up by press coverage of a mine disaster and a few bowls of bean soup, Anne promptly sent a strongly worded email to Mrs. Jones.

Of course Mrs. Jones calls first thing this morning, saying she's too stressed to teach, that she would never ever ever say anything against a group of people. She said she was talking about poverty along the Equator, and then she likened it to Appalachia out of sympathy for Appalachians. She assured me she grew up poor in Chicago herself.

Then why didn't she use Chicago's poor neighborhoods as her example? Or, much closer to home, The Murder Capital of America (5 miles from here), where the per capita income is probably the same or less than the very poorest county in all Kentucky?

I'll tell you why. Because Appalachians are white, and other poor groups in this country are Black, Hispanic, and Asian.

Far be it for a well-meaning school teacher to point out the poor Blacks five miles from home when she can use poor whites as an example for her all-white class of students.

I didn't tell The Spare I sent the email, because she's pretty terrified of Mrs. Jones in general. And sure enough, Mrs. Jones pounced on The Spare this morning. Which means The Spare will pounce on me this evening, and The Spare pounces like a pissed off Komodo Dragon.

Okay, can you feel my pain? It's tough living with The Beverly Hillbillies, The Dukes of Hazzard, Deliverance, and Jerry Springer when other poor minority groups get cool dudes like Shaft and Jackie Chan.

And, yes! There are a lot of poor people in the mountains. But who would have guessed there were so many in urban New Orleans?

Still I should have kept my trap shut and allowed Mrs. Jones to tell my daughter she's descended from poor, stupid people just because Mama Anne grew up near a certain trail that runs from Maine to Georgia, 800 miles of unbridled poverty!

My legions of readers, I promise this is my last entry on Appalachia. I don't even live there anymore. Guess I just got too smart and lost my citizenship.

Tomorrow we return to the bored gods. I just read that archeologists in Guatemala have uncovered a 2,000 year old fresco that rivals the Sistine Chapel in its beauty. Gotta find the bored gods who sponsored that!

Also, wish me luck. Tomorrow I venture to the Murder Capital to take a Content Knowledge examination on Animal Husbandry that will allow me to teach school full time with a provisional certificate. I'm nervous about this test because I'm truly deficient on bovines and poultry. It's been a long time since college.

Imagine that. A hillbilly who attended college! Did I mention I had two uncles, Goddess rest their souls, who graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School? Both of them rushed home to practice in Appalachia.

You see, the mountains there are right pretty.


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