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April 15, 2024

White Trash Gene

By Katy Grace

I'm a hick. Oh, don't think that's an easy admission for me to make, having fought it all my life, but there it is. I think it's important to come to terms with this issue as in less than five months I will turn 40 years old. It's not nearly so hard for me to reckon how I became such a hick as it is to fathom how I became so old.

Aches and pains aside, and the distraction of my typing this with what appear to be my mother's hands and not my own young, freshly glowing and smooth-skinned appendages, it is becoming harder and harder to hide my hickish tendencies. It's as if another me, an inner hick, is always just underneath, waiting for the opportunity to scratch my ears with her car keys or to pop off with some narrow-minded, backwoods opinion like, "Get married already! What am I supposed to tell the kids?" which she says with depressing regularity to my mother and her live in. This inner hick is becoming quite mouthy and pushy. I suppose she thinks she's waited long enough.

She and I, we married a hick too. Granted, he hid his hickdom better but that's because he had help. His parents were in on it too. They were married. They had a brick house and two cars. I was drawn in by the elegance and opulence of the solidly middle class. They had a VCR and decanted scotch. Wow. I didn't stand a chance. Eight years later, just a week shy of my 23rd birthday, I finally convinced their youngest son to marry me. Quick! Do the math and realize we really do start young in the Ozarks. An aside: I once had a secretary whose father was 12 years younger than his mother, but they were from Arkansas. We're a little more civilized up here in Missouri.

Unfortunately it wasn't very long into our marriage when we realized that we actually share some genetic material! Believe it or don't, total strangers before high school, born in different states and still related under the skin. We are both, sadly, recipients of the White Trash Gene.

The White Trash Gene (WTG) is a recessive gene but unlike other recessive genetic abnormalities, this one doesn't require procreation to wreak its havoc. It simply requires the close proximity of another like-gened sufferer. Once two carriers get together, they begin to resonate off each other much like two alcoholics, leaving blight and destruction in their wake, displaying full-blow White Trash Syndrome (WTS).

It's a shame, really. You probably know somebody suffering from WTS and there's not a single telethon, bike-a-thon or relay for an uncluttered life out there. There's no congressional budget or university program looking for a cure. Sure, there's comedians like Jeff Foxworthy and Ray Stevens making a lot of money off the backs of us poor struck down suckers and we're so messed up, you find us among the audience, yucking it up, peeling the labels off our beers and leaving blizzards of trash scattered under our tables. Who do you think made Gretchen Wilson's Redneck Woman a hit? Ivy leaguers?

You can tell you have the white trash gene if your room, your desk, your house or your yard become unruly with stuff, quickly unmanageable when you turn your back. If your floor requires vacuuming and sweeping on a regular basis, not because it's the thing to do but because bits of paper, string, crumbs of food, pieces of food, whole sides of beef and pork rinds end up piled around your feet, you're a carrier. Stay far, far away from those with similar tendencies or you'll work yourself to an early grave just keeping the crap at bay.

That's how Dan and I discovered we are both carriers. Our yard? Don't get me started. Every day one of us is out there picking up. Every evening it needs it again. This is without exception. The process is mirrored in the common areas of our house, in our bedrooms, closets, laundry room and even in our shared office. Granted, it doesn't help we have three kids but even before they started coming along nine years ago our tackiness was already a time consuming problem. So, although it is at times tempting, they can't be blamed. If anything, they are victims, likely carriers of the WTG into the next generation.

Any neatniks out there interested in the greater social good and agreeable to arranged marriages? We can pay you: all the aluminum cans you can carry.

Article © Katy Grace. All rights reserved.
Published on 2005-04-17
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