Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Redneck vs. Genuis

   I hate math.  I never understood it nor ever fully grasped how in life trigonometry or areas of triangles l would apply to "real" life.  So, I pretty much got through my classes as best I could; leaning on friends whose science capabilities far surpassed my own.  English was were I excelled so I worked words as best I could in order to adapt to the test question at hand (given this, I am stellar at statistics). I still know how to add 2+2 (4... I think) and multiplication is still ingrained in my mind.  But if there was one thing that I learned in math, it was that Einstein, the genius who worked out the Theory of Relativity, failed high school*.  This notion was enough to console my math-inept brain then but also spark an idea years later.

   Those who are believed to be geniuses may not fall in line with the standards in which we determine intelligence. Hence, while Einstein went on to create a theory which overturned previously verified findings, his beginnings were more humble.  This kind of phenomena has occurred a plethora of times since moving to the south and I never even gave them a second thought.

Exhibit A: 

   It is an early morning and I am positively freezing.  The new doors on the duck blind have done absolutely nothing to ward off the January wind and my recent stint back in the gym has shaved off any fat reserves I had stored for duck season.  The Owner, a friend of his, DU and I all were sitting, waiting for ducks that showed up later, flying too high to shot. But for the meantime, the trio were admiring our spread while I festered in my freezing state.

   The aforementioned spread would be unremarkable and could be seen on any pond in any state in the US but there was one key difference.  Two butt feeders were throwing water half a foot in the air as a swimming duck made its way in a wide circle to the pair's left.  The stagnant decoys looked on, green; as they wanted the freedom to mobilize as well.

   DU sat back, watching the decoys produce a beautiful ripple affect upon the surface the water.  Silence reigned supreme in the blind until The Owner's buddy spoke.

   "Where'dja get those decoys?" he asked, mentally starting a note for later review.

   "I made 'em" replied DU.

    Minutes passed and after a flurry of duck calls were made, the question was asked again, "Where'dja get those decoys?"

    Again, DU assured the man that he was the creator.

    "Really? Damn... I bought some from Ganger Mountain a couple of weeks ago and they don't work good nearly as yours. How much they cost you?"

    "Round $30... just a cheap decoy filled with foam and a bildge pump.  It runs to a battery on the side of the bank."

  The man had paid over a hundred dollars for his and he seemed none to pleased with the cheap quality of his purchase.  On the other hand, he seemed impressed that DU had made the decoys and would pay him for one.

    The hunt went as expected with no harvest to show for our efforts.  The butt feeders and swimmer each lasted longer than our group did; still frantically moving about the pond as DU cut their life support.

   It struck me that day how apt we are to run to the store when something is broken.  Replacing is inherently not only more expensive but less time consuming than fixing, hence stores make a killing off of selling things that patrons could have easily built by themselves.   When I need a desk, I go to the store and buy one.  When DU needs a desk, he measures, procures 2X4s and spends less money on a desk that will last a lifetime as opposed to my shabby, plastic pathetic excuse for a desk.  If someone had the gull to ask me to make such an edifice, I would chug along strong until I realized I would have to measure something.  I'd forecast that I would last 4.5 minutes in Home Depot before falling to the ground, sobbing, hoping that the desk would erect itself out of thin air.  Yet I am the one who graduated at the top of her class while DU's grades are less than my standard of satisfactory.  While many would say that I have the brains in this relationship, I am here to argue that redneck inventiveness trumps test-taking genius any day.

Exhibit B:

     It is sweltering hot. I'm sweating like an overweight construction worker standing on the equator. I have just moved to North Carolina and I'm seriously contemplating insisting that DU build a walk-in freezer in the garage in order that I may spend the rest of these sweltering months in relative comfort.

    I have heard that summers here are unbearable but up until today, I did not believe it.  I lay in bed, every fan in the house gathered around me like a somber funeral procession when DU informs me that we're going to the lake house.  My ears immediately perk up, as my lake house in New York occasionally gets hot but the water is always beautifully chilly.

   We made our way to Lake Wylie; sweaty, windows down, humidity abound.  When I finally caught sight of the sediment-filled waters, I sprinted from the car, down the dock and into the water.  I expected the plunge into the depths of the murky water to turn my skin into a valley of goose bumps but nothing happened.  When I emerged, the rest of the group was in the water, completely oblivious to the fact that the water was just as warm as the air; if not more so.

   I came to learn that the water heats up as the air does and since summer in North Carolina lasts from March until September, the water gets pretty steamy (oh if only I paid any attention in science).  I made the best of the situation until I realized that swimming in hot water while the air temperature is on the verge of scorching is pretty difficult.  I looked DU for help when I saw him on the dock, a life vest in hand.

   He began putting his legs through the arm holes and buckling the straps up-side-down.  I started to yell at him that he was doing it wrong when I glanced over at E4.  He was doing the same thing; turning his life jacket into a redneck diaper.

   While I grew up with store-bought recliners and various other comfort-driven flotation device, DU and his buddies were turning regular life jackets into perfect sea chairs.  The boys laughed when I commended them for their ingenuity, as they just see it as something DU thought up one day. But I could not understand how they fail to see the brilliance in the design.  Whether floating, sitting, laying or diving, the diaper works to keep one up with just enough arm length outside of the water to hold a beer or other beverage.  Pure genius at its most simplistic, basic form.

   I've talked with more people society has defined as "rednecks" or "country folk" in the last year than I have in my entire life, DU and E4 included. While CMT, with shows like my Big Redneck Wedding, and society as a whole make rednecks out to look like inbred imbeciles, I have found that the large majority (save for a couple of interesting characters) who I have met have not only ingenious perspectives on things but also have a deeper sense as to what it means to provide for one's self.  They may not take the GRE as well as I can or even graduated college but that does not necessarily make them less smart than anyone else. On the contrary, as we've seen throughout this post, taking tests is no indication of intelligence.  The terms genius and redneck seem to be oxymorons of the highest sort.  However, just as Einstein showed us, a genius can be borne from modest beginnings.

   So I put the question to you, friends.  Are these redneck ideas or genius inventions?

   - Skinning a whole deer with a golf ball and a four wheeler.

            - Combining spray paint and cardboard to create the greatest                                                   bowhunting target known to man.

           - Making a bacon breakfast with pliers and cardboard.
   - Using empty beer cans as a wedding arch.

    - Making a porta-john into a tree stand.

   - Forgoing the usual brush guard in favor of a long horn's head adornment.

*woops. After some research I found that this is actually a misconception. Read the article to find out more.  But apparently Einstein had difficulty with speech early in life and had to grow up in the shadow of his father's failed electrical manufacturing company.  Given that I have been misinformed my entire life, I feel cheated. Stupid elementary school.  


Albert Quackenbush said...

My friends swear by the golf ball trick. Works great with deer, not so great with hogs. Now, the Port-A-John is where I would draw the line, but the rest, well, I wouldn't say redneck or genius... instead I would say products of circumstance and ingenuity. :)

Hunt Like You're Hungry said...

Albert- I like that... I use Redneck and Genius in the sense of how labels are misleading. They tend to limit how individuals feel about their own intelligence. In essence, I just wanted to dispel rumors that rednecks are stupid hicks. :-)


SimplyOutdoors said...

I love this post!

I consider myself to be a pretty intelligent human being, but you put a tool in my hand and I turn it an ignorant bafoon. I work with computers all day, every day and I really have a knack for those sorts of things, but I don't get along well with a hammer.

And I don't consider it a "redneck" vs. "genius" argument so much. I just think some of us were born to be good at certain things, while others were born to be good at others.

I think it works really well when us "geniuses" get together with the "rednecks". You put those two brains together, and good things always happen.

NorCal Cazadora said...

Redneck or not, I've found hunters to be a pretty inventive lot - just look at half the gadgets we buy. You know they were invented by guys who decided to solve a problem on their own.

Some disagree with me on this, but I think hunting seems to have an abundance of those types of people - engineers, trained or untrained. (The reason some people disagree with me on this is that the rest of my observation is that it doesn't attract as many word people, like you and me.)

Oh yeah: After living in the South for a while, I was cured of my own misperception that Southern accent = stupid.

Hunt Like You're Hungry said...

Simply- Thank you! I'm the same way... DU can take a whole kitchen apart with his bare hands and put it back together.
Again, the redneck and genius labels were the easiest way to get my point across.
I love your point- if only those down-home rednecks got together with geniuses- the world would be a better place!

Holly- I wholeheartedly agree. Some of the things that hunters have come up with boggle my mind.
I love southern accents. It makes it so that you have to look beyond how someone talks to see what kind of person they are.


Anonymous said...

I'd rather be considered a redneck than a genious and don't worry I never got math either and english was the only class I got an A in.

Whitetail Woods™
Whitetail Woods Blog / Deer Hunting and Blackpowder Shooting at it’s best.

Murphyfish said...

Excellent post HLYH me dear. Myself being the grease monkey that I am come across both sides of the coin often, I've met engineers with qualifications coming out of their arse but with no idea of how to hold a spanner, on the flip side I've known others for putting a sentence of more than three words together is an uphill task, but put on a machine and they can strip it, rebuild it and fix it without giving it a second thought. we're so easy to label folk and pigeon hole them but, like you say, we need to look behind the façade and 'see' the real person not the label. Again. excellent post me dear.

NorCal Cazadora said...

This has nothing to do with the post, but LOL, Murphyfish, I can't tell you how confused I was the first time I saw the word "spanner." It was a tool I'd need to break down my new Italian shotgun. I was really, really worried about being able to find one until I saw a drawing of it. Oh, a wrench!

Murphyfish said...

Ah a case of lost in translation me dear