Now, first of all, don’t get all honked off by the word hillbilly. It’s the kind of word that’s all about context, like “cop.” And also if you are one, you’re allowed to use the word, and just try convincing someone who claims to be a hillbilly that he’s not really a hillbilly.
All you have to do is argue about it, real loud. And talk like a hillbilly. Checkmate.
It’s like lots of words, it’s only an insult if you say it in an insulting way.
For instance, if you say, “Charlie’s a good cop, he’d have never pocketed that wad of cash from the crime scene.” Well, then you’re referring to him as a cop. And it’s not just that you’re saying he’s good, it’s that you haven’t replaced his identity with your tone of voice.
Like, you could say, “Charlie was a bad cop. He was always losing his gun.”
See how you’re not using the word “cop” as a bad thing? In fact, you’re describing non-cop-like behavior as bad, so you’re still being cool to cops.
Referring to cops as cops is usually fine. What you don’t want to do is capitalize it – nothing approaching, “Hey, Cop – Why don’t you grab a broom while you’re standing around?”
Just like any occupation, it’s normally not cool to turn it into a title. You don’t say, “Hey Garbage Man,” for instance, to the guy who picks up your garbage. Unless you’re looking for an asskicking.
And then like I’m saying, it extends beyond occupation to Hillbilly. And it sucks, because in lots of ways, being a hillbilly is a good thing, but we sort of had our reputations ruined by an outspoken minorty on daytime talk shows, you know that weird kind of hillbilly who’s missing some teeth and has incestual relationships?
That’s not what being a hillbilly is all about, I promise you. We’re actually really super cool. We just hide it sometimes because people don’t understand us, you know, like vampires.
We like to grill things, for instance – that’s good, right? And if you come to our house, we’ll cook you dinner – something tasty, too, like pork chops with au gratin potatoes. And we won’t notice if your clothes are wrinkled and we didn’t used to care if you smoked in the house, but now you just have to do it near a window. That’s pretty hillbilly, even letting you smoke in there at all.
Just sort of theatrically lean that way, that’s an apology enough. We won’t smoke at your house, don’t worry – a startling percentage of hillbillies (even Secret ones) do not smoke cigarettes at all. Something like 18% – kind of bonkers.
That’s really how I’m able to keep it a secret, first I don’t care for cigarettes, and second, I hung around a British dude for a few years in college and learned to talk pretty. Trust me, it’s a total act. Right when you get a few shots of whiskey in me I start talking about possums and fishing lures.
That British dude by the way has been lurking around here for twenty years and you can bet your ass he still has his British accent. He’s not a secret British guy, nossir he’s not.
Anyway, like I’m saying, I think it’s getting increasingly obvious that I’m a Secret Hillbilly, because I keep talking about whiskey on my blog. I’m sorry, dammit, it’s one of my favorite things to have with my eggs – you know you don’t have to cook ’em all the way if you chase ’em with whiskey, right?
And that’s what I’m saying about coming out of the Hillbilly Closet. There’s tons of stuff in there that’s useful and cool.
Like your feet. Aren’t you tired of washing your feet all the time?
I was over at a buddy of mine’s house, and I grew up with this guy and he wasn’t even a hillbilly when I was a hillbilly, so his wife was completely unprepared for my hillbilly ass. She says, hey Tom, if you’re going to put your feet on my something or other, how about taking your shoes off?
I said something or other because I thought it was a foot stool. And they weren’t really shoes, they were sandals, so I was kind of thinking out loud when I said, are you sure you want these sandals off?
Cause it seemed to me like I’d been hanging around barefoot all day, right up to the point where I stopped in their driveway. That’s when it occurred to me that I wasn’t wearing shoes and I found the sandals in the back seat, and here we were.
The guy’s wife said, “I’m sure your feet are clean.”
But she was looking. She wasn’t sure at all. Neither was I.
Screw it. I took off my sandal and turned my left foot up and sure enough, it looked like Frodo Baggins’ foot, if he had just walked there from the Shire. My friend’s wife looked at me like I was some kind of hillbilly.
And so, sure. I knew that. I knew it all along. I had, after all, arrived at one o’clock in the afternoon with a highly unorthodox ten-pack, my hair looking sort of electrified, and yes, I was eating beef jerky. There must have been hillbilly alarms going off right and left.
Anyway, I feel better about it, now that I’ve been open about it. Thanks for listening.
PS – If you already knew I was a hillbilly then you might not want to mouth off about it too much, because it probably means that you are also a hillbilly, and you might not even know it. Shoot me an email, we’ll talk.