Take James Spann’s advice lightly.
This guy is our weather guru, and what he says goes. We take tornado season pretty seriously, and if you’re not listening to James Spann, you’re doomed. If you’re not listening to him after he rolls up his sleeves, you’re double-doomed. “Respect the Polygon,” respect the Spann.
Ask: “So like, what do you do there?”
It’s natural to associate us with Alabama as a whole, but understand this — we’re a whole different animal. Birmingham is home to plenty of outdoor activities, craft breweries, museums, cultural events, and landmarks. We can go see bands play at the dog-friendly Avondale Brewery, or hop across the street to Saturn to get a cocktail that only a mad scientist could dream up. If we want adventure, we go zip-lining at Red Mountain Park, or visit First Avenue Rocks to get our climb on. We’re a city, you know, and we’ve got just enough weirdness to keep us fun. I’ve been here for 17 years, and haven’t gotten bored yet.
Tell us that the crime rate is too high for you to ever visit.
Yes, this has happened to me. A guard at a New Hampshire airport looks at my boarding pass and ID, and says, “Wow, Birmingham. I almost moved there, but it’s just so dangerous. Must be hard to live there as a woman.” I smiled and nodded, and passed through her gate. While it’s true that Safewise.com published an article listing the 30 most dangerous cities in America, and that four of those cities were in Alabama, guess what, Birmingham wasn’t one of them.
Ask: “Who’s Alexander Shunnarah?”
I don’t even have time to properly explain this. He is a prominent attorney in Birmingham. He has more billboards and commercials than any company I know. The entire city jokes that he is the “Saul Goodman” of Birmingham, but he’s actually a pretty nice guy. Expect to see his face on an interstate billboard at least three times.
Make fun of our accent.
Yeah, we may pronounce “on” like “own,” and “get” like “git,” but that doesn’t mean we aren’t as smart as you. Making fun of us is just rude. Ya’ll have no manners.
Hate college football.
Or even worse, love college football, but cheer for a team that isn’t Alabama or Auburn. Yes, this is serious. These two teams are based in Alabama, and college football is a way of life in Birmingham. “Roll Tide” and “War Eagle” are everyday phrases here, and their rivalry is intense. Guys, this stuff has dissolved marriages.
Laugh when we shut down our entire city because of the threat of snow.
We get an extra day off of work, so joke’s on you. Seriously though, our winter climate is conducive to ice, not snow. We don’t have the resources to handle icy roads, and why would we? We only have snow once a year. We also have more hills and curves than other larger cities. So I’d rather not, thanks.
Don’t get excited when “Sweet Home Alabama” comes on.
Expect to hear this at every sporting event, every wedding, and every party. Learn the lyrics. Make it a part of your life.
Assume we eat nothing but barbecue.
We actually have award-winning chefs in Birmingham. One of our favorites, Chris Hastings, beat Bobby Flay in an Iron Chef challenge. Another, Frank Stitt, owns several restaurants and several awards, Including “Best Chef in the Southeast,” and the “Southern Food Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award.” We’ve got countless culinary geniuses who have trained all over the world, and are ranked among the very best. If you haven’t eaten in Birmingham, we are sad for you.
Also, no, I’m not married to my cousin.
And yes, I have all of my teeth. Anything else?