Eavesdropping Southern | Front Porch | Indy Week
Pin It

Eavesdropping Southern 

Having been born and reared in the Midwest, I was briefly befuddled by an exchange between two older Southern gentlemen in the post office the other day.

I recognized one of them as a distinguished, retired physician. His equally white-haired companion wore seasonal resort clothes: plaid golf pants and a pale, zip-up sport jacket of a cut that hasn't changed since James Dean wore a red one in the 1950s. The golfer was, to all appearances, recounting his recent vacation in Ireland and a particularly rude caddy there. The story escalated in four movements, fitted out with details, gestures and the mildest of expletives. Boiled down to its crude essence, the script went like this:

American tourist: Why do you keep looking at your watch?

Irish caddy: It's not a watch, it's a compass.

Tourist: [deep in the woods] This is the worst course I've ever seen.

Caddy: You left the course two hours ago.

Tourist: You see that pond over there? I'm going to go drown myself in it.

Caddy: You couldn't hold your head down long enough.

Tourist: You must be the worst caddy in the world.

Caddy: No sir, that would be too much of a coincidence.

The whole room was within earshot, but nobody else was chuckling. I tried to suppress mine, assuming this man's vacation snafu might call for genuine discretion. His straight man wasn't helping me decipher truth from tall tale with his body language. The retired doctor didn't smile, just bowed slightly forward at the waist, interjecting "He was rude, was he?" at the appropriate moment. It all went down with such a natural rhythm, my first instinct was to take the narrative at face.

Perhaps it was my eagerness to believe in the existence of such a quick-witted, gob smacking Irishman. I don't speak golf, so I'm not familiar with the set pieces of the humor genre. Once I wrote it down, I saw the beauty of the thing. What I had witnessed was a prime example of Southern leg pulling.

If people who read other people's diaries get what they deserve, the same might be said for scalawags eavesdropping in public. I never did speak golf, and apparently, 15 years living below the Mason-Dixon hasn't taught me to speak Southern, either.

Latest in Front Porch

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Front Porch

  • One vote

    • Nov 12, 2014
  • Box of one

    Was I paying to be helped or to feel important, a bona fide expert on only myself?
    • Sep 24, 2014
  • The Old South (Hills)

    The Old South (Hills)

    • Sep 17, 2014
  • More »


Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

'Anna Lee' is a truly beautiful song, Ms Dossett. And I love Levon Helm's rendition. You are blessed with a …

by Byron Miller on A song for Levon (Front Porch)

Just now seeing this....Liz and I were super close friends in the early 80s. She was so special. I had …

by RoBert 1 on In memoriam: Liz Holm, 1959–2013 (Front Porch)

Nobody will be surprised to learn that Hocutt never went to Nam. He was in the Navy but washed out …

by Jefflenter on Raleigh bad boy no more (Front Porch)

I see his concern. Yes, it was a well written story and showed his caring side for sure. But not …

by Linda Bates Terrell on Motorcycle men (Front Porch)

Follow-up to my "nervous mom" comment. The last coupe of weeks we have been in many situations with individuals that …

by paulapowers on Governor's School blues (Front Porch)

Comments

'Anna Lee' is a truly beautiful song, Ms Dossett. And I love Levon Helm's rendition. You are blessed with a …

by Byron Miller on A song for Levon (Front Porch)

Just now seeing this....Liz and I were super close friends in the early 80s. She was so special. I had …

by RoBert 1 on In memoriam: Liz Holm, 1959–2013 (Front Porch)

Most Read

  1. Safe Spaces (Letters to the Editor)
  2. Recounting Him Out (Peripheral Visions)

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation