Part One: Close Encounters of the Redneck Kind
Living with, loving & surviving a redneck
Grandma Jessie used to say there are only three kinds of men in this world: the ones you play with, the ones you stay with and the ones who just need killin’.
With a redneck, you get a three-fer. I know this because I went through all three of these stages with a redneck of my very own.
And she warned me, the only difference between a redneck and a monkey is better use of opposable thumbs and the ability to buy beer.
In the beginning (the play-with and stay-with stages), my own personal redneck could do no wrong. The man practically farted hearts and flowers which is a neat trick if you can get him to do it. But as we neared the killin’ stage, I was tempted to chop off some his favorite parts and duct tape them to his forehead.
Since the law (even in Texas) frowns upon maiming your loved ones, I’ve amended Grandma Jessie’s Rule of Three to include two alternative endings.
The first is that if you can’t beat ‘em, you’re not using a big enough stick. Face it. You’re just gonna have to out redneck your redneck. This isn’t hard, if you have in fact decided your redneck is worth keeping. The trick is to just hang around with a redneck—any redneck—as long as you can possibly stand it, because sooner or later the redneckedness is gonna rub off on you.
And honey, once you’ve been subjected to that level of redneckedness, there’s no amount of Extra Strength Clorox or mega-doses of the Discovery Channel that can scrub the redneckedness out from under your skin.
While greater minds than mine have pondered the meaning and/or classification of redneckedness, I always fall back on Grandma Jessie’s explanation—a redneck is just a cowboy who’s gone over to the dark side.
You will know you’re on your way to true redneckedness when you realize that kitchen appliances are merely extensions of garage appliances. A steak knife is as handy as a pocket on a shirt and can be used not only for slicing up a good steak, but also as a screwdriver, a back scratcher, or, in a pinch, a hammer. Moreover, you learn the true use of major appliances—transmissions go on the bottom rack of the dishwasher, baseball caps go on the top.
The second, and my preferred alternative method, is the Redneck Catch & Release Program. You catch and keep your own personal redneck and do the whole moon-pied, doe-eyed, hearts-and-flowers thing until one day he stays out all night and you have to restrain yourself to keep from Super Gluing his frank to his beans.
When you’ve gotten yourself into this kind of situation, what you’ve done is kissed yourself a screaming monkey. And if you kiss a screaming monkey, it will inevitably, bite you in the face.
And when you’re finally to the point of wanting to back over your redneck with his own tricked-out pickup truck, it’s time to take him back to the auto parts department at the Wal-Mart where you found him in the first place.
Actually, breakups can be relatively pain-free if done correctly, and in fact, some can be downright fun.
Call all your girlfriends, add Tequila and commence to dancing naked in the backyard around a burning pile of his underwear. I warned you—redneckedness rubs off on even the best of us.
And, after you’ve drunk your bodyweight in Bourbon and Diet Coke and all your good sense ran out the dog door and you decide to go get yourself another redneck, don’t worry. As Mizz Jessie used to say, “There’s an ass for every saddle, and another one’ll be along directly.”