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Monday, January 01, 2007

growing up in the south  

posted by Michael Piwonka 9:02 AM
When we moved to Charlotte from Texas, it become apparent quickly that I didn't really understand what it meant to be from the "deep South". And I don't think I fit in either.

I still struggle with the two religions we have here: ultra-conservative evangelicalism and NASCAR. But I'm able to generally ignore both of them.

However, this Christmas has exposed me to another Southern tradition. It may even be another religion, given the passion with which it is defended. It's the right to own a gun.

Similar to other Southern traditions, I always felt I would be able to ignore this issue, leaving the debate to the fringe elements of society. But, as they say, you can run but you can't hide.

Penny's boyfriend (or fiancee, depending upon the latest news I get) gave Mason what every young boy needs if he's going to grow up a proper self-respecting, God-fearing, liberal-hating redneck: a 410-gauge shotgun.

My eight-year-old son owns a gun.

Growing up in what must be considered a liberal haven by comparison, I always thought that every little boy should have a baseball glove. It's the gift a dad gives his boy so he can fantasize about making the game-saving catch in the seventh game of the World Series. So his boy can grow up to be the baseball star dad was never quite able to be.

But things are different in the South. You ain't a man unless you own a gun. It's a right of passage (or, as I like to call it, a right of passion).

It's a God-given right. It says so in the Bible. Somewhere. In the case of some Southeners, it's more important than dental hygiene.

If Mason's going to be a true Southener, I probably need to get him some NASCAR tickets now. And, as nephew Robert graciously reminded me, a Jack Daniel's doo-rag also.

I guess it's time for me to assimilate. After all, we all change. Penny must be assimilating also: I remember when she used to get angry at the thought of her kids playing with water guns. It's only a small step from water guns to semi-automatic assault weapons. Until you learn that God wouldn't want it any other way.

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random. arbitrary. completely unnecessary. yet refreshingly therapeutic.




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