Cultural Incompetence

 

It’s easy to poke fun at foreigners or immigrants when they fail to fully grasp local customs and idioms. But sometimes we fail even at our own customs. That’s when the real razzing begins.

Crawfish are not exotic here on the edge of bayou country. I was born in Louisiana and have lived nearly my entire life somewhere along the I-10 corridor of Cajun cooking between Houston and Pensacola. So you’d think I could peel a mudbug in nothing flat.

But the honest truth is I’m slower than a Democrat with his own money when separating meat and shell. I’m slow at many things, but this one hurts my pride as a Gulf Coast Southerner.

This is not a mouth made for spicy foods either. Tabasco, cayenne, Slap Ya Mama — it makes no difference. I have an Irish tongue made for eating dirt. Black pepper is sufficient.

Do you similarly shame your family by failing to properly represent your blood, your hometown, or some other heritage while participating in sacred rituals of frivolity? Do you dance like an Englishman? Do you swing a bat like a soccer player? Are you a poor excuse for a Californian, a bad Italian, an embarrassment to Steelers fans, or an impostor of another kind?

Why not tell us so we can make fun of you too?

Published in Humor
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There are 64 comments.

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  1. Full Size Tabby Member

    Not exactly to make fun of, but when we moved from coastal Orange County, California to near Rochester, New York in 2000, our daughter was 15 years old and blew for her new classmates a whole bunch of stereotypes about southern California girls: She is short (5′ 2″, versus the stereotypical tall leggy type); she is brunette (not blond); she neither surfed nor skateboarded; she didn’t like the beach; and she was terrible at “Valley speak” (which is actually a feature of the San Fernando Valley, and not the coast, but is often associated with all of Southern California). 

    • #1
    • May 18, 2019, at 5:24 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Post author

    That reminds me of how disappointed my sister’s friends were to learn that Texans don’t ride horses to school. But when asked by someone in Trinidad if she knew John Wayne, she of course answered yes. “We are like this” (fingers crossed).

    I haven’t ridden a horse since I was a kid on a pony. But I do know horse owners and ranchers.

    • #2
    • May 18, 2019, at 5:33 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. EJHill Podcaster

    I am from Ohio and I prefer baseball over football. I have spent more time in the HOF in Cooperstown than the one in Canton.

    • #3
    • May 18, 2019, at 5:44 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. Cow Girl Thatcher

    I was born and raised in the very heart of the Rocky Mountain Wyoming Elk Kingdom. I am the great-granddaughter of a bona-fide Mountain Man Trapper guy, and my grandparents, my dad and most of my siblings are all hunters. One of my sisters’ sons is also a taxidermist. He gave her an elk antler chandelier for Mother’s Day a couple of years ago–it looks beautiful in her two-story log house. The school district has a two-day school vacation for the opening day of Elk Hunting season every October.

    And yet…I do not like to hunt. I can barely kill bugs.

    Bring me your dead deer, elk, or whatever, and I will make it into a delicious meal for you. BUT…please do not hand me a gun (or even in the case of stupid chickens, an ax) and expect me to kill something for you. Can’t do it. I can remove the innards, pluck off the feathers, skin it, etc. But I cannot shoot the rifle or wield the ax. I don’t know why.

    • #4
    • May 18, 2019, at 5:46 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  5. John H. Member

    Like my forebears, who wanted to forget where they came from and just be Americans, I do not boost old traditions, I create new ones. Which reminds me: it’s been decades since I’ve popped popcorn in bacon fat and Tabasco.

    • #5
    • May 18, 2019, at 6:06 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. The Great Adventure! Member

    4th generation native Oregonian. And I hate Salmon. And if I hear one more person say “You haven’t tried it the way I prepare it”, I will commit a felony. 

    I frequently cook salmon for others and it always receives raves. But I hate it. 

    • #6
    • May 18, 2019, at 6:26 PM PDT
    • 15 likes
  7. Jimmy Carter Member

    100% TEXAN down to the molecular level. My boots are Justin, golf clubs Adams. I have huuuuge wall map in My office of 1844 TEXAS (the way GOD intended): This is a close example, but Mine is better

    I have a replica of the map of The ALAMO in the office as well. There’s always a can of snuff in My pocket. I can grill/smoke a cow like nobody’s business. It’s “Y’all” and “Coke,” not “you guys” and “soda.”

    But I don’t have a truck. I did at one time. A very loud, obnoxious truck, but that was years ago. Now, I think it’s a waste of space. It’s SUV now.

    And if I hear one more person say, “You need a truck,” I will commit a felony.

    • #7
    • May 18, 2019, at 6:41 PM PDT
    • 16 likes
  8. Matt Bartle Member

    At times I feel like I’m the only Buffalonian who doesn’t like chicken wings. Or hockey.

    • #8
    • May 18, 2019, at 7:35 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  9. EB Thatcher
    EB

    Cow Girl (View Comment):
    I can remove the innards, pluck off the feathers, skin it, etc.

    Have to say I like mine all nicely cut up and packaged in the refrigerator or freezer cases at Publix or ordered from a specialty house.

    • #9
    • May 18, 2019, at 7:43 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. Randy Webster Member

    I don’t care how good they say it is, I’m not sucking the brains out of any crawdads.

    • #10
    • May 18, 2019, at 7:51 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  11. EB Thatcher
    EB

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I don’t care how good they say it is, I’m not sucking the brains out of any crawdads.

    I lived in New Orleans for a year. I like crawfish, but sucking the heads is disgusting.

    • #11
    • May 18, 2019, at 7:55 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. Acook Member

    Lived in Colorado since 1968 and do not ski. My daughter was born here, and even though she was exposed to skiing while growing up, it didn’t take, so she doesn’t ski either. Actually there are others like us in this state, too. 

    • #12
    • May 18, 2019, at 8:43 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  13. The Great Adventure! Member

    I suppose I should also mention that I live in the Portland metro area, but I don’t participate in riots nor sleep in a tent pitched on the sidewalk. 

    • #13
    • May 18, 2019, at 8:47 PM PDT
    • 24 likes
  14. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member

    EB (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I don’t care how good they say it is, I’m not sucking the brains out of any crawdads.

    I lived in New Orleans for a year. I like crawfish, but sucking the heads is disgusting.

    When I was at A&M, I had a student from deep in east Texas one semester. It me took about half a semester decipher his accent. I heard him complaining once about his “foreign” speech professor (she was from Michigan). About a week later, he was telling his buddies that he finally got even. He had to give a five-minute speech about a pet peeve. He laughed and said that they shoulda seen her face, when he got up and announced that his pet peeve was how some people had perverted the term “sucking heads.” He didn’t say anything about crawfish until the very end, and she squirmed the entire time.

    • #14
    • May 18, 2019, at 9:42 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  15. Al French, sad sack Member

    The Great Adventure! (View Comment):

    4th generation native Oregonian. And I hate Salmon. And if I hear one more person say “You haven’t tried it the way I prepare it”, I will commit a felony.

    I frequently cook salmon for others and it always receives raves. But I hate it.

    More for me.

    • #15
    • May 18, 2019, at 10:09 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  16. Shauna Hunt Member

    Me and skis are not on speaking terms! I’m a Utah native.

    • #16
    • May 18, 2019, at 11:00 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  17. JosePluma Thatcher

    I am a firearms enthusiast, I love the history, design and mechanics of them. 

    I am an awful shot. When I was on the police department, I usually barely passed the quarterly qualifications and no amount of practice seemed to help.

    • #17
    • May 19, 2019, at 12:10 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  18. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member

    I have a PhD in a STEM field, but I never mastered basic multiplication tables. After years of music lessons, I cannot come close to reading music.

    • #18
    • May 19, 2019, at 5:30 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  19. Jimmy Carter Member

    Aaron Miller: That’s when the real razzing begins

    Boy, You ain’t kiddin’.

    My Brothers have trucks, cousins…. uncles… I’m the only Male in the Family that doesn’t have a pick-up. I’ve been called “Soccer Mom” mores times than I can count. 

    • #19
    • May 19, 2019, at 6:02 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. Western Chauvinist Member

    Acook (View Comment):

    Lived in Colorado since 1968 and do not ski. My daughter was born here, and even though she was exposed to skiing while growing up, it didn’t take, so she doesn’t ski either. Actually there are others like us in this state, too.

    Local skiers don’t ski in Colorado anymore. Too expensive. I’m waiting to become a senior so I can ski for “free.”

    • #20
    • May 19, 2019, at 6:09 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  21. Western Chauvinist Member

    The Great Adventure! (View Comment):

    4th generation native Oregonian. And I hate Salmon. And if I hear one more person say “You haven’t tried it the way I prepare it”, I will commit a felony.

    I frequently cook salmon for others and it always receives raves. But I hate it.

    Cedar plank and a little dry mustard rub?

    You knew that was coming.

    • #21
    • May 19, 2019, at 6:17 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  22. The Great Adventure! Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    The Great Adventure! (View Comment):

    4th generation native Oregonian. And I hate Salmon. And if I hear one more person say “You haven’t tried it the way I prepare it”, I will commit a felony.

    I frequently cook salmon for others and it always receives raves. But I hate it.

    Cedar plank and a little dry mustard rub?

    You knew that was coming.

    Dadgummit! Now I have to pull out the Criminal Code and decide which one I want to commit! I’d say that I would also have to decide who I would want to commit it on, but the Portland area is a target rich environment.

    I’ve tried it that way. I’ve tried roasting it with copious amounts of lemon/butter/rosemary. I make a pesto salmon that everyone raves about. Still hate it. I’ll eat most white fish (halibut, cod, etc.). I’ll eat pretty much all shellfish except oysters. Love me some crab or lobster or scallops. But I’ve been known to walk out of a restaurant because the salmon they’re serving at another table is too stinky.

    • #22
    • May 19, 2019, at 6:39 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  23. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Post author

    The recipe my family uses for salmon is basalmic vinegar, rosemary, and garlic. But it sounds like what you really need is a “salmon” recipe that uses flounder. 

    • #23
    • May 19, 2019, at 7:29 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  24. The Great Adventure! Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    The recipe my family uses for salmon is basalmic vinegar, rosemary, and garlic. But it sounds like what you really need is a “salmon” recipe that uses flounder.

    EXACTLY!

    • #24
    • May 19, 2019, at 7:32 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    The Great Adventure! (View Comment):

    4th generation native Oregonian. And I hate Salmon. And if I hear one more person say “You haven’t tried it the way I prepare it”, I will commit a felony.

    I frequently cook salmon for others and it always receives raves. But I hate it.

    Cedar plank and a little dry mustard rub?

    You knew that was coming.

    Reminds me of a recipe for carp. It ends with scraping the fish from the plank, and serving the plank.

    • #25
    • May 19, 2019, at 7:37 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  26. Arahant Member

    I didn’t get a government job. I wouldn’t say that this disappoints anyone, but it seems unusual in my family.

    • #26
    • May 19, 2019, at 12:59 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  27. Steve C. Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    I am from Ohio and I prefer baseball over football. I have spent more time in the HOF in Cooperstown than the one in Canton.

    You’ve learned well, grasshopper.

    • #27
    • May 19, 2019, at 1:44 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  28. Skyler Coolidge

    I used to catch crawdads in ditches where I grew up in Virginia. I can’t imagine eating something that lives among trash and filth like that. I always politely decline when the neighbors offer some.

    • #28
    • May 19, 2019, at 1:45 PM PDT
    • Like
  29. Skyler Coolidge

    As a navy brat, we lived in a few different places. I mostly grew up in Virginia Beach, but my mom was from Massachusetts and my dad was from Chicago. I never felt a need to be loyal to a geographic area. Seems kind of odd to me. I am me. I’m not on anyone else’s team by virtue of my birth or geography. I choose my teams for other reasons.

    • #29
    • May 19, 2019, at 1:48 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Stad Thatcher

    Aaron Miller: Crawfish are not exotic here on the edge of bayou country. I was born in Louisiana and have lived nearly my entire life somewhere along the I-10 corridor of Cajun cooking between Houston and Pensacola. So you’d think I could peel a mudbug in nothing flat.

    Then you are truly blessed.

    I could never “suck head” like a native, but I have eaten at crawfish boils before, including one in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi . . .

    • #30
    • May 19, 2019, at 1:57 PM PDT
    • 1 like
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