Thanks, everyone, for the feedback on my recent radio appearance. It went OK. And by that, I mean nobody cried, nobody shit their pants, and nobody threw a wild haymaker. So… I consider it a success.
But, once again, the reaction to my voice baffles me. In the comments and via email, I was told that I’ve completely lost my West Virginia accent, and that I have a strong West Virginia accent. I sound southern, as well as northern. I’m both nasally and gravelly, which is almost impossible, as far as I know. And one person even said they detected a little California surfer dude in there. WTF?
Apparently all the moving around I’ve done in my life has created some kind of hideous Frankenstein monster of a dialect. I don’t know.
I admit to making a conscious effort to try to mute my West Virginia/southern accent when I lived in California, because it made me stick out like a turd in the potato soup. I have no problem with my heritage; I’m proud of where I’m from. But I don’t want to be known as “that guy who talks funny.”
Regardless of whether it’s fair or unfair, I wanted to avoid such a thing. I’d rather be remembered for something other than a novelty speech pattern. I didn’t want to be in the same category as, “You know, the guy with one eye that just rolls around in its socket?” Or, “You remember… the woman who smells like Fritos?”
So, I tried to tamp down my hillbilly tendencies a bit. And I guess some weird shit has happened as a result? I’m unclear. But it’s pretty confusing to open two emails back to back, with completely contradictory statements about the way I talk. Very strange.
And speaking of the way I talk, I’m thinking about cranking up the podcasts again. However, I’m going to need some help. Would any of you like to volunteer your engineering skillz? If/when I start it up again, I’d like to have intro and outro music, a little light editing of the ums and uhs, and whatever else you might suggest.
If that’s something that interests you, please send me an email. At the most it’ll only be two files per month, so it won’t be a heavy load. If you’re a sound editor and want to help out, please let me know. ‘Cause God knows I need it.
A few days ago I was talking with a guy who thinks he’s a hero because he doesn’t have a cell phone. Do you know these types? They make grand proclamations, as if they’re delivering a campaign speech, and wear it as a badge of honor to not own a portable phone. Bravo, my good man! Bravo!! A stunning accomplishment.
I’ve also met similar assholes along the way who claim to not own a television, and that sort of thing. And I don’t give a crap, people can do whatever they want. What do I care? It’s the bragging in a superior tone that bugs me. They always act like they’re freakin’ Nelson Mandela, and expect people to be wowed by their courage and conviction.
I started thinking about the things I could brag about, the stuff that most of society engages in, and I do not. And all I could come up with, off the top of my head, was reality shows. I’ve never watched any prime time reality programs, including Survivor, The Apprentice, or Dancing with the Stars. And the only time I watched American Idol was in England. I’ve never seen an episode in America.
I do, however, watch 30 minute kinda-sorta reality programs on cable channels. Stuff like Selling New York, House Hunters, and Pawn Stars. Do those qualify? I’m not sure, but the difference is this: I don’t brag about it, and don’t launch into a righteous monologue every time somebody mentions one of those shows.
I am a pretty big beer snob, and have been known to openly sneer at a man for ordering a Coors Light inside a bar that offers fifteen craft beers on tap. And I sometimes pontificate on the subject, as well.
But I’m not sure that qualifies. Snobbery isn’t the same thing as being a contrarian, and expecting everyone to be impressed by your stubborn refusal to play along. Right? It’s closely related, but different.
In any case, it’s always the bragging that bothers me. That “I’m smarter than everybody else — please believe it” attitude… Do you know anyone who falls into this category? If so, we’re going to need to know about it in the comments.
Oh, and I just thought of another one: I knew a guy in Atlanta who claimed to only shower twice a week, because Big Soap, or whatever, has brainwashed everyone into thinking they need daily scrub-downs. And, of course, he told everyone who would listen. He’d go on and on like a TV evangelist, and it only made folks think he was disgusting, not smart.
So… here are your Questions of the Day:
Do you know any contrarians who like to brag about their refusal to conform? Please tell us about them.
Also, have you ever tried to get rid of your natural accent for some reason? How did it go? Can you slip back into it when the timing is appropriate?
And finally, have you ever picked up a NEW accent, after moving to a different part of the country or world? Toney’s cousin grew up in Nevada, but moved to Philadelphia about twenty years ago. And man, she’s got the thickest Philly accent of just about anyone I’ve heard. I think she cultivates it.
And that’s going to do it… I had some trouble with this one, for some reason. The words weren’t exactly flowing, but I hope it’s not too obvious.
I’ll see you guys again tomorrow.
Have a great day!