When I first started writing in college, I was writing radio commercials. I was scared to death. It was so important to me that I not write in a southern accent. You see, the dismissal of my own southern accent was thrust upon me by one of my professors. He made a large sign for me to wear on my back for an entire day. On the sign was written, “The word is pronounced GET not GIT”.
Yes, I was born and raised in the south. And, when I first learned to talk, the “g’s” on the end of certain words were simply not there. I was “goin’ outside” and “fixin’ to go to school”. I spoke in the language of my parents and all of my relatives. Yes, I suppose you could call us “rednecks”. But, Dad would add “royalty” after redneck.
Now, before you get all hot under the collar, let me tell you what WE thought of that “R” word back in the day. We were proud resourceful southerners who appreciated the old time values of doing things on our own and not relying on the help of anyone else. And, the sophisticated folks were just snobs. It wasn’t until later on that we realized that the “city folk” thought we were stupid for not doing things more modern like buying a tractor instead of using a mule to plow. I guess back then everyone was either smart or not.
Not that long ago, the “R” word has cost a woman her job in my town. And, the interesting thing is, she wasn’t yelling it out the window or saying it in a court of law. She wasn’t even calling someone she didn’t know a horrible term. She was speaking of her husband. But, I won’t get into why some felt it wrong while others thought it was ridiculous. It is their affair, not mine.
I will speak of why I jumped at the chance to get rid of my accent. I got off the subject there for a minute. I apologize.
I was told I wouldn’t make it as a radio or television announcer unless I sounded like I came from the Midwest. I also probably wouldn’t make it because I was a woman. Yes, this was years ago when women weren’t in broadcasting. Or, they were not in front of a microphone. So, there I was, a teenager who had to overlook my sex and my speech in order to do a job that probably wasn’t there.
My Mama called me “hard headed”. If you Google that term, you’ll see that it means not easily deceived. But, I know that my Mama meant it as being stubborn as the day is long.
So, when all of the business about getting into broadcasting came along, I saw nothing wrong with pressing forward to this unrealistic goal. Bless her, she supported my efforts and along with my Daddy was proud to hear my recorded voice over the years to come.
The point of this step back in time is to tell you something you already know. People are more mean spirited now than we would have thought they would ever be. We keep saying we are learning lessons and, yet, we don’t. We make fun of people. We don’t trust each other and are afraid. Nowadays, if a professor were to write a sign and force a student to wear it, he or she would face some sort of disciplinary action.
As for me, I’m still hard headed. And, I can git rite back to tawkin’ without enny g’s whenevah I feel the urge to speak in my redneck heritage. And, if I were to share a little truth here, it would be about the fear I feel in these more (cough) modern times.
I simply wish that those who are mean spirited and speak in the language of dirty words would keep it to themselves.
“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”
― Scottish Proverb
― Scottish Proverb