Wednesday, February 02, 2005

I Encounter A Strange Culture And Study Its Customs...

As I needed to escape from a distressing amount of email, I decided to develop an overwhelming craving for Good Ol' Fashioned Fried Down-Home Fried Southern Fried Cookin', courtesy of the the local Cracker Barrel and its legion of blue-haired you-alling tribespeople.

I was received with their traditional greeting: "HiCanIHelpYouHoney?", which of course needed no translation due to my expert knowledge of Advanced Southernese. By using various gestures and phrases I indicated that I wished to partake of the local cuisine and perhaps examine the various totem objects displayed within the building's antechamber. As I had made all the necessary signals of respect and was properly clothed according to local custom, the curiously garbed "waitstaff" was friendly and showed no sign of attack.

Emboldened by this knowledge, I freely mingled with the natives, who were garbed in cloths and jewelry of varying designs indicating social rank, marital status, age, religious affiliation and gender. I was able to take copious notes on their behaviour as well as record my thoughts on the variety of items these "Southerners" were carrying; each native presented a variety of these objects at the back of the wood shelved room, then exchanged small pieces of inscribed paper with the "waitstaff". Other groups of natives passed beyond to a large enclosure where additional "waitstaff" served the local food, a creative mixture of meat, animal fat, meat, bread, meat, vegetables and animal fat.

After observing their activities for quite some time, I attempted to document and classify the various objects I found. Examples:

1. "garden gnome" -- apparently a sculptural representation of a guardian spirit, meant to be placed as a warning outside the dwelling

2. "commemorative state thimble" -- a decorative object that serves to represent both clan affiliation and the worship of the "collectible"

3. "stained glass chicken lamp" -- a dual purpose artifact, this is both an illuminating device as well as a revered image representing animal fertility and good harvest

4. "NASCAR coffee table book" -- this appears to have some sort of religious significance, but will require further study.


(Translations of the various pictographs and sculptural iconography are currently underway; they will be published in my upcoming treatise: Created Difference: An Analysis in Relation to the Elaborated Environment of Pictorial Presentations and Their Interrelationships in Mason-Dixon Tribal Culture and its Related Social Groupings: A Study.)

I was then sent on my way, laden with fried food and good wishes-- and armed with a newfound respect for their strange culture. I am certain that they too provide an important contribution to our global community. Perhaps one day we shall know more about this "Cracker Barrel".

10 Comments:

Blogger The Doctor said...

Just remember - they're an odd people, but they generally mean well. ;-)

9:54 PM  
Blogger Kosh Naranek said...

(Best Homer Simpson voice)...mmmmmm Cracker Barrel

I do love their breakfast. Grits, potatoes and biscuits. I'm in carb heaven. Oh, you do know what grits are, right?

10:04 PM  
Blogger L said...

I actually love grits... with lots and lots and lots of butter!

10:11 PM  
Blogger Rhodent said...

Definitely a unique culture....and the greens are great! Really enjoyed this one L!

10:19 PM  
Blogger theomorph said...

Very nice. I'm glad I found your blog so I could read this kind of stuff after blowing out my brain with the Very Serious stuff on my own. :-)

And if I wasn't nursing a growing headache, I think Y'allese food would sound good right now. But I had plain white rice for dinner and even that felt like overkill. I hope I'm not coming down with some kind of illness.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Frally said...

So this is what I miss out on by living in a boring country like New Zealand. I look forward to hearing more about your customs and ways. You are an intriguing folk.

5:00 AM  
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5:07 AM  
Blogger glomgold said...

Do those Cracker Barrel stores have anything to do with the Cracker Barrel cheddar cheeses they sell in the supermarkets? Cuz that's as close as I can get to what you're talking about.

11:48 AM  
Blogger L said...

MY GOD Theomorph! Could it be Ebola??! You better get that checked out right away...

Frally... I am quite sure that New Zealand is WAY cooler than Florida. For one thing, we have no kakapos or kiwis here (and just why are all your birds "solitary and flightless" anyway?). With animals like that, NZ can't be boring.... plus, your holidays have weird names, like Waitangi.

Glomgold: I'm not sure about the cheese/Cracker Barrel relationship, although it's a possibility. I wouldn't worry about it though-- the next time you pass below the Mason Dixon line, I'm sure you will run into one immediately.

***

thanks rysoloag-- I'll check it out. Do I get cookies with that?

6:07 PM  
Blogger L said...

For anyone who does not know what Cracker Barrel is:

Cracker Barrel is a combination country store and restaurant. It's decorated with rocking chairs, farm tools and antique advertising. The store section sells things like garden gnomes, pink rabbit cookie jars, John Deere tractor collectibles, Cocal Cola magnets, Bob Hope recordings and plastic lighthouse lamps. The restaurant section serves traditional Southern food like grits, collard greens, fried chicken and biscuits.

11:27 PM  

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