28 June 2016

The Last Southern Man

This is the knife I use to dig splinters from the feet of urchins.
I came across this in the most recent issue of Southern Living. I identify with so much of what Rick Bragg writes here:
Think for just a moment, about your grandfather. He would have no more left the house without a pocketknife than without his breeches, for while a man of his era could survive this drafty world without pantaloons, he would sooner or later need to snip some twine, or punch a hole in an oil can, or dig a pine splinter out of some urchin’s foot, or just slice an apple. One of these days, men will no longer love or need their pocketknives this way. That is when we know the last Southern man has shuffled off into the sunset, to make room for a world of helpless no accounts. . . . A Southern man, knifeless, was pitiful. Men without knives were like men who rode around without a jack, or a spare tire, just generally unprepared for life.
Amen brother, amen.

4 comments:

Bob Ruth said...

Your admiration of Rick Bragg is well placed. I've read several of his books. Rick got screwed big time at the New York Times. From what I've read, Rick never fit in with the Times' elitist culture. For me, that's a plus in his favor.
Bob Ruth

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hello Bob. Yes, I read about the NYT episode.

"never fit in with the Times' elitist culture."

Most definitely. I think he's found a good home w/SL. Thanks for commenting.

S. Forester said...

Well, I think some things have changed technologically but that doesn't mean Southern MEN are gone. They just operate differently. I'm more likely to be found carrying a laptop computer than a pocket knife (which I honestly quit carrying about 5 years ago because I literally never used it), but I'm hardly unprepared for life. The situations are just very different now. I do have a first aid kit in my backpack, so I could at any moment pull a splinter out, but now I also have proper antibacterial ointments and band-aids. So it's actually a step up from simply carrying knives.

Also, as a medical student, I would never cut apples with the same dirty knife I dug splinters out of someone's foot with. Especially if they were urchins. ;-)

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"that doesn't mean Southern MEN are gone." I think he was exaggerating a tad, but certainly there are fewer old school types w/each passing generation.

"I'm more likely to be found carrying a laptop computer than a pocket knife (which I honestly quit carrying about 5 years ago because I literally never used it)"

Yes, that's a perfect illustration of the problem.

"but I'm hardly unprepared for life."

Hmmm . . . depends on your definition of "unprepared." Try peeling an apple or opening a box w/that laptop partner. ;-)

"I would never cut apples with the same dirty knife I dug splinters out of someone's foot with."

No, no, of course not. That's why you should also carry a Zippo lighter or some moonshine for sterilizing purposes.

Thanks for commenting!