Godbey: Are There Rednecks in Britain?

Published 3:44 pm Thursday, April 4, 2024

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By Jack Godbey


I like to think I know my normal readers and their likes. In fact, more than once, I’ve been eating dinner at the Cracker Barrel with my mouth full of mashed potatoes and gravy stains on the front of my shirt when I’m approached by an excited reader who wants to talk about that week’s article or to tell me how much they enjoy the articles. However, thanks to the power of the internet, I was more than shocked when a reader reached out to me from Great Britain and said that he has subscribed to my Facebook author page and enjoys my articles every week as it gives him insight into how life is lived in our part of the world. He stated that he especially enjoyed the articles about southern slang and stated that my readers might be interested to know some of the slang in his part of the world. For example, in the South, when something has gone wrong, we may say, “That went to hell in a handbasket.” He stated that if things went wrong in Britain, he would say, “It’s all gone pear-shaped.” In the South, if we give directions, we might say, “Turn left by the dollar store, and then you’ll be right as rain.” In Britain, he would say, “Turn left by the market, and Bob’s your uncle.” What? Who the heck is Bob? 

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Yes, it seems that those folks across the pond talk about things as strangely as we do. He told me that French fries are called chips where he’s from. Uh, no, chips are what I eat by the bag when I’m depressed. I always wondered why when I order fish and chips at the Dairy Queen I always got fries and not chips. I tried to explain to him what gravy and biscuits was, but he was not having it. Come to find out, the British call cookies biscuits. I’m sorry, but even I ain’t putting gravy on my cookie. That’s just weird.

 So, to better explain southern life to my British reader, here’s the lowdown on what it means to live in the southern United States. A possum is an animal that likes to sleep in the middle of the road. He pretends to be dead when he’s just faking it. Thus, the phrase, “Playing possum” was invented. There are a hundred different types of snakes, and ninety-nine of them live in the South. If it’s possible for a plant to stick you or poison you, it grows here. If your mother asks, “Jawl-P, ” she asks if you went to the bathroom.

Another thing you need to know is that there is no such thing as lunch here. There is dinner, and then there’s supper. We drink iced tea at every meal and don’t be surprised to find it in a baby bottle or two as well. Backward and forward means I know everything about you. We don’t have to wear a watch here because it doesn’t matter what time it is, you work until you’re done or it’s too dark to see. Unless, of course, Hee Haw or Walker Texas Ranger is on the television. Then, everything else must wait.

 We don’t push buttons here; we mash them. Keep in mind that we only put six things on our food here: salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, tabasco, and barbecue sauce. Lots and lots of barbecue sauce. The local newspapers put national news on the front page and then six pages of high school football. Fried catfish is a staple, and just because someone calls you honey or sugar doesn’t mean they are flirting with you. Remember that the first day of deer season is a holiday worth taking off work for. You don’t need to know what a hissy fit is. When someone throws one, you’ll know it. Finally, remember that you don’t need a driver’s license here. If your mother says you’re allowed to drive, then you can drive.