I feel sorrier for the people who feel sorry for me for thinking it's something special to have been born in the South.
Bless their hearts…they just don't understand.
Southerners understand that "bless your heart" is relative to context; we know what it means when your baby (who happens to be nine) skins his knee, and we know what it means when Doreen wears white shoes after Labor Day.
"Bless her heart" can be a compliment, backhanded or otherwise, and a skilled Southerner can roll it off her tongue sweeter than honeysuckle dew and you might think it's one when it's really the other.
A Southerner's drawl emanates from heart and soul, not from brain and tongue. We drop our g's, stretch one-syllable words into three and we make up words that are so…well…useful, y'all ain't got no idea how boring our Mother Tongue would be without 'em!
Southerners revel in our food. Sweet mercy–half of it is cooked in pure lard AND IF IT'S SO BAD FOR YOU HOW COME WE HAVEN'T ALL BEEN KILLED OFF ALREADY?! I admit, Paula Deen and her boys might be attempting a subversive Southern genocide by GLOPPING BUTTER IN EVERYTHING THEY COOK–Exhibit #1, Fried Butter–but isn't that like a double negative, which in fact makes it a positive?
I do possess some crazy math skills, no?
Working on a new project recently, I wanted to identify something iconic that illustrated "Southern" better than anything else. In a very carefully chosen focus group–my 3,600–I posed the question "What speaks Southern to you?" and a few responded with marvelous answers: