This past weekend my husband and I went up to North Carolina to visit my family, and in order to do so we had to drive through South Carolina. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever personally driven along I-85 as it passes through the state of “smiling faces, beautiful places”, but if you ever do I think you will agree with me that the one thing this state apparently wants all of its visitors to know is that, by god, YOU WILL NOT LACK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO SEE HALF-NAKED WOMEN!
There is one particular billboard that advertises a place called “Cafe Risque” which, as far as we can tell from the ad, is a combination truck stop and adult entertainment club, and which makes sure to emphasize, in bold capital letters, “Couples Welcome.” As we passed by this weekend my husband said, “You know, I wonder if this sign is so far away [from the “cafe”] because that’s how long it takes men to convince their girlfriends or wives to actually stop there.”
“That’s a good question,” I replied. “I wonder if they did some kind of market research.”
“Yeah, like they kept moving it back and moving it back because guys were saying things like, ‘Oh man, I just needed those 5 extra miles and then I would’ve had her!’ ”
So that helped the miles pass just a bit more quickly, and I entertained myself for the rest of the trip by thinking of ways that I could work it into a story that I could tell here.
By the time we’d eaten dinner I was so proud of myself, because I’d even thought of a new slogan for the SC tourist bureau’s ad campaigns: “South Carolina: Keeping you here until you’ve had at least a mildly pornographic sexual experience.” I had proudly announced this to my husband, and was eagerly awaiting his accolades on my brilliance and wit when he said, “Um, I’ve got some bad news for you: that “cafe” is actually here in Georgia.”
So yeah, apparently that’s what I get for making inaccurate, sweeping generalizations about a fellow state-sorry, South Carolina. Please feel free to add your own opinions of Georgia here in the comments. I’d stick around to help, but I’ve gotta go and run the General Lee down to Cooter’s garage, then see if Uncle Jesse can hem up my new pair of overalls before the pig pickin’ tonight, and then make sure we’ve all got enough chew to last us through Junior’s bail hearing.
And while we’re on the subject, I really need to tell you about one of the roommates my husband had during graduate school. (I don’t know if I’m allowed to mention the school here by name, so I’ll just tell you that it rhymes with “Schmorgia Schmech,” and its school song features the stunningly crafted line, “I’m a helluva, helluva, helluva, helluva, helluvan engineer.”)
Anyway, this guy had come here to Georgia from California to get a master’s degree in traffic flow and management. Which was fine, except for one small thing: He came here completely convinced that Georgia was EXACTLY AS PORTRAYED IN “THE DUKES OF HAZZARD.”
Which meant that he had come to do graduate work
a) in a state which, based on my recollection of the series, featured not one single institution of any education, much less higher education, and
b) in a state whose traffic flow patterns were based on there apparently being only two roads (a low road for the completely incompetent, “Roscoe P. Coltrane”, and a higher road which allowed Bo and Luke Duke to escape said sherrif by taking advantage of Georgia’s canyon-sized potholes and vaulting their way to safety) and three cars: the General Lee, Roscoe’s police cruiser, and the car driven by the menacing, mirrored-sunglasses wearing sherrif of neighboring Chickasaw county.
Which means that, as far as I can tell, the only traffic management strategies anyone need learn are as follows:
a) raze all hilly areas to the ground, making sure the entire state is completely flat and level, therby ensuring that the good old boys literally can no longer “take the high road”, and,
b) ensure that every state has their own “Uncle Jesse”, who will feed you some fine Southern cuisine, and then speak sternly to you about your errors in judgment and how you can correct them
In which case, due to my religious TV viewing habits of the 1970s and 80s, and the fact that I own the copy of Scholastic’s now-defunct kids magazine, “Hot Dog!”, featuring a cover story which details just exactly how the General Lee was able to fly through the air, as far as I can tell I am actually Dr. Jenny Ryan, Ph.D. in Traffic and Engineering .
YEE HAW, Y’ALL!
Christine Martell says
You are reminding me of the years I lived in North Carolina outside Asheville. When I moved there from Cape Cod I was really surprised to discover the Civil War was still going on and I was a God Damn Yankee.
Aren’t regional differences amazing?
My parents are from the North, so even though I was born in Virginia, I really never thought about the Civil War. Then we moved to North Carolina before I started high school, and somehow I, too, was labeled a Damn Yankee. I was also very scared the day I saw this magazine in the bookstore: “The Blue And The Grey: For Those Who Still Hear The Guns.”
Square-Peg Karen says
“Schmorgia Schmech” made me fall off my chair! …gotta wonder how your hubby’s roommate dealt with his culture shock when he found out that Georgia wasn’t all Dukes Land…my eldest has a funny idea about the south..tho i’ve tried to convince her otherwise (based on having made treks to the south innumerable times when I was younger) – hers seem to be based on the movie Deliverance – she once accompanied me to a conference in Virginia and was in a near panic the entire time…odd reactions the south brings on!
Yay! I’ve had people react with snorting and crying, but this is the first time I’ve accomplished knocking someone off of their chair!
Lynne Morrell says
Flippin hilarious Jenny! I am afraid that I have never been to the south and I never saw Dukes of Hazzard…well, maybe one time and I didn’t get it. But I did see deliverance and that movie F-R-E-A-K-E-D me out! I am in a little agreement with Square Peg Karen’s daughter~
We also live in a set back, heavily wooded neighborhood, so I’ve gotten the “Deliverance” comment before when people have given me rides home.