How to Humiliate Yourself in Tennessee

Tennessee Student Work
by Shannon Dell Aug 20, 2015

Throw a non-football related event on Game Day.

Party, wedding, baby shower, funeral, whatever — unless you’ve decked the halls with orange and glued the television screen on the game, you’ll probably end up alone in the company of platters upon platters of untouched pigs-in-blankets while everyone else is getting shit-faced and slurring ‘Rocky Top’ at top volume somewhere down the road.

Neglect to wave back at someone.

Sure, it may take some getting used to when a total stranger drives past and waves while your dog takes a dump in the yard. But fair warning — ignore the gesture just once and get blacklisted by the whole neighborhood, your questionable morals and hospitality becoming a hot topic of conversation at the supper table for at least the next four months.

Be a vegetarian amongst a clan of carnivores.

There are two options for vegetarians here — having a bare Styrofoam plate at family reunions or risk eating something only to find out later it was soaked in chicken broth or fried in pork fat. Either way, you’ll have Aunt Irene henpecking you to eat your daily meat and three or be forced to discreetly spit a bacon bit-littered blob of green bean casserole into your napkin. Inevitably, someone will see this move and you’ll forever be the crowned winner of “mmm…bacon!” jokes for the rest of your life.

Forget your manners at home.

Think reaching your 20s means you’ve found the golden ticket to say whatever the hell you want to whomever you please? Go on and reap the repercussions from the Southern hospitality gods by saying “yeah” to someone with grey in their hair or slipping silently through a door that’s being held open for you.

C’mon. Mind your manners, y’all.

Complain about the tea being too sweet.

“Oh, it’s too sweet? Here, let me fix that for you.” *dumps another mound of sugar in your glass

Complain about the chicken not being hot enough.

Go on and sink your teeth in some mildly seasoned hot chicken and let your ego blow up bigger than your pain receptors. Per request, we’ll gladly upgrade your dry rub since you’re such a badass until you’re coughing violently, soaked in sweat, and turned beet red. Seriously – that hot chicken is no joke.

Skip your thank you notes.

It doesn’t matter if you got $400 for graduation or a horse sweater for your birthday.
Between getting the mail and seeing her in person next, you only have a tiny window of time to write a thank you note before you can kiss Aunt Irene’s Christmas presents (and a chunk of her love) goodbye for the next three years.

Refuse to say y’all.

Seriously — what’s a “youse”?

Not knowing what a Coke means.

Go on and nip this painful conversation in the bud when dining out:

    “Can I get a Coke?”
    “Sure, what kind?”
    “A Coke.”
    “Yeah, what kind?”
    “…a Coke.”
    “So…a Sprite?”
    “…a fucking Coke.”

And so on and so forth.

Get into the age-old debate of White Castle VS Krystal.

Never mind the fact that we’re arguing over the culinary art of tiny, steamed, soggy buns — this one you’re not going to win.

Ride up our ass on the highway.

Rest assured, we will brake to make you even later for whatever it is you’re rushing to.

Talk politics with us.

Don’t talk politics with the rednecks to avoid being embarrassed for those who swear Obama is the prophesied antichrist; don’t talk politics with the progressives to avoid beating a dead horse they’ve been beating since Tennessee became an official red state; and whatever you do, don’t talk politics with Aunt Irene to avoid every conversation ending with “Bye sweetie, you take care. Oh, I’ve been meaning to ask – how do you feel about the Confederate flag?”

Act like a baby when it thunders.

While you’re cowering in a basement like it’s a scene from Twister, we’re by open windows with a glass of Jack and Coke in hand, preparing for the best goddamn nap of our lives.

Give us hell as we act like a baby when it snows.

We’re not equipped with the right tires for this, okay?

Spend all of your time indoors.

There’s kayaking, paddleboarding, blue holes, canyons, rivers, mountains, gorges, rock climbing, whitewater rapids, and Chimney Tops. Not to mention there’s more caves here than in any other state. Really looking to humiliate yourself? Hate on the outdoors while pretending that ‘spelunking’ isn’t the best word ever.

Be on the receiving end of a “Bless your heart.”

Because that’s when you know you really fucked up.

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