Reconciling With My Southern-Boy Inner-Child
I would have begged for BB-guns and cowboy boots if I thought it at all possible to spend a birthday afternoon shooting grasshoppers in the woods beside my parents’ house. But I knew to expect the golf balls and possibly comic books I was allowed and used to. While most of my friends had been deer hunting well before they finished elementary school and actually knew the benefits of the I-formation when playing Super Tecmo Bowl, I played golf and would refuse to actually touch and remove a fish from the hook I somehow managed to accidentally jerk through the side of its mouth. To put it much more succinctly, I was not the average southern boy. Not having been allowed to or not wanting to try many of the things my other male friends regularly did for fun always left me feeling like a bit of a fraud. I didn’t particularly feel southern, and I was pretty sure it was obvious to everyone around me. Still, I grew up in a small town in Mississippi and moved to another small town in Mississippi where I intend to stay indefinitely. So I have to be a southerner, and a Mississippian, because I don’t know anything else. Despite an interest in the French nouvelle vague, the poetry of Larry Levis, the work of Calvino and David Foster Wallace, and the culinary philosophy of Mario Batali, things that I imagine would bore to death the average pick-up driving farmer’s son with a healthy taste for duck hunting, whiskey, and Ole Miss football, it is possible to reconcile and even marry such seemingly disparate tastes—they will coexist. While some of us might be seen at a bar on Friday night wearing Chuck Taylors with the Black Flag logo markered on the toe, and others sporting shit-kickers and training a black lab with duck decoys at the lake, the possibility and probability is that we do both.