Honie Briggs


…please don’t take this the wrong way.

It was a shocker seeing all of those black boxes on WP yesterday. I decided not worry about it, picked up a magazine from the stack that has accumulated on my desk and kicked back for a little R&R. We avoid tabloids and rags used to polish the bully pulpit. I sometimes flip through CNET online. (Just to see what I’m missing.) In December my husband announced we had enough frequent flyer miles to get…wait for it….SIX more magazine subscriptions. “You can get any one you want,” he said. Finally something I could brag about to all of my friends! So now in addition to the regular publications containing all things we must know, we get Vogue, Popular Photography, Outside, Forbes, Fortune, and Time. Articles by Time Magazine’s Joel Stein have started to catch my attention. The main reason for this is because I read magazines from back to front. (You can skip a lot of crap that way.) Today when I read The Awesome Column in the back of Time, I said to myself, “Oh yeah?” Then in a way only the fates could have put it, a purposeful word play whispered in my ear. Inspiration never sounded so sweet.

My voice has the full, round accent of prime optimism with a big ole dollop of kiss my—grits. Life is too short to waste a single day of it being offended by things people we don’t live with have to say about us. (Sometimes even the ones we do live with can take a hike.) I think the only way people can take what we say as a personal affront is if they know us personally or if we’re throwing sticks and stones to slander their good name. (The way people who want to be our leaders do.) Someone needs to publish an essay entitled “MAN UP” with a detailed definition on Wikipedia! I cannot stand to hear grown men say, “My good friend so and so would like you to believe such and such,” and then commence ripping his “good friend” to shreds without ever making an acceptable argument for his own such and such. I don’t know that I have ever heard women say such things, but then again, women don’t usually proclaim friendship before they rip each other apart. (They sometimes do it afterward.)

I have also never heard a woman from the south refer to herself as a Southern Belle with even a smidge of seriousness. (Except maybe Paula Dean, who twangs it up pretty good.) I swayah I have nevah heard anyone roll theyah ahras like Julia Roberts in Steele Magnolias. My husband tells me that I say good-af-tah-noon when I greet people in the afternoon, but I refuse to believe it. (No, I am not secretly a super center greeter.) I thought Carol Burnett was an absolutely hilarious Miss Scarlet when she came down the stairs wearing a Bob Mackie gown with a curtain rod across her shoulders, but I haven’t ever known of an honest-to-goodness case of the vapors.

(See, stereotypes are funny.)

Southern women have lived through some god awful things. As have women up north. (I wonder why no one ever says northern women.) Of course those stylish east coast girls have dealt with their share of losers and users. Even the glamorous, buffed and tanned Cal gals have seen their share of bums. We should be able to say so as freely as we please without caveat, disclaimer, threat of CENSOR, and here’s the kicker, APOLOGY.

While some writers, politicians, and other famous people have to be concerned with focus groups and the wrath of a bunch of lawyered up whiny cry-babies, I choose to channel my inner Mark Twain and give a genuine assessment of anything I damn well please. I do try to limit my use of expletives. (Not necessarily because they are offensive but because using too many can just make you sound stupid.) I will do my best to call it like I see it from my little ole point of view, if it’s all the same to all of you. (I try not to say ya’ll, but have been known to say all ya’ll if I’ve had too many mint juleps.)

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