Last night I was talking to a new friend of mine from Chicago, and the conversation was going fairly well...until she more or less told me I talk like a hillbilly.
There are people in Louisville who have much more pronounced accents than mine, but she wasn't talking to any of them. Everything I said, no matter how witty and urbane, registered in her ears as the cornpone mumblings of Jethro Bodine with a mouthful of grits.
This isn't the first time this has happened to me. A very nice blogger from Los Angeles implied that my voice was straight out of a lost episode of Hee Haw. When I lived in Las Vegas I was often treated like someone who just enjoyed coitus with his sister.
All of this has led me to do a serious amount of soul searching. I've come to the conclusion that there isn't anything I can do, short of adopting a phony non-regional accent, to quell the judgments regarding my sophistication or lack thereof.
And I'm embracing it. There's moonshine fermenting in the breezeway as we speak, y'all; as far as you know. I'll be regaling you folks with tales from the coal mine, the general store, the swimmin' hole down past the main road, the Dairy Queen where the girl with the cleft palate works, the Jiffy Lube that takes chickens as payment, and Cousin Merl's Bait Shop and Christian Bookstore. Yeeehah!!!
Well, maybe not. Perhaps I'll purchase a voice modification device for my phone, one that'll give me the rich flowing baritone of a professional newsreader. I'm not giving up my bourbon or fried fish sandwiches, though. No matter what.